We are all balanced and well-rounded individuals here, well, maybe all except for the Doodle, who has raised a cadre of hops-eating terrorist kittens – but that’s another story.
PaisleyBlog loves Queen and by extension Freddie Mercury. This, paired with the fact that I finally received a full explanation regarding Kirocknrolls distaste for The Beach Boys, means that today we are featuring two musicians who can sing at elevated octaves with accuracy, grace, and beauty: Mercury and Barcelona native, ’50s-80s opera star, Montserrat Caballé.
In 1986, the year remembered for the Iran/Contra Affair, the Challenger Shuttle explosion, Chernobyl’s meltdown, and Oracle’s IPO, also involved a little band named Queen touring Spain.
While on tour, Mercury (a great fan of Opera) indicated during a Spanish television interview that Montserrat was his favorite performer, simply stating that “she’s the best. That’s who I listen to”.
In 1987, in the midst of Barcelona envisioning itself as a potential host to the 1992 Olympic Games, the city sought out Caballé to write a municipal theme song and Caballé in turn sought out her biggest fan, Freddie Mercury.
Mercury was so excited to work with Caballé that, rather than write a single theme song, he produced an entire album, and in order to work himself (and the album) into her tight performance schedule, he recorded completed demos including Caballé’s lyrics sung (by Mercury) in falsetto.
The song was performed live in October of 1988, at a show which coincided with the arrival of the Olympic Flag from Seoul, Korea. Sadly, the show would prove to be Mercury’s final live appearance as he would die from AIDS in London on November 24th, 1991, eight months before he was to perform the song to open the 25th Olympiad.
Despite his death, the song & album, Barcelona, would go on to chart throughout Europe and would stage a resurgence during the 1999 UEFA Champions League final where Caballé sang along side a recording of Mercury being shown on the stadium’s jumbo-tron.