At the peak of his career, flamboyant Freddie Mercury threw himself into the party scene with gusto. Queen became known in the industry for throwing the most outrageous events, including a notorious bash at New Orleans’ Fairmont Hotel in 1978. The party, to celebrate the release of the album Jazz, reportedly featured naked waiters and waitresses, an entertainer biting heads off live chickens, nude models wrestling in a bath and an army of dwarfs walking around the venue with trays of cocaine strapped to their heads. His wild partying ways were a far cry from his childhood where he spent time at a strict Indian school before fleeing to London with his family, aged eight.
Allegations of excessive drug use followed Freddie throughout his life, but he never put the breaks on his social life - even after he contracted HIV. He celebrated his 41st birthday at the Pikes Hotel in Ibiza, just months after his diagnosis, with one of the wildest parties the island had ever seen. Freddie invited 700 guests, including Kylie Minogue, Bon Jovi and Boy George, to witness a firework display so spectacular that it could be seen over 100 miles away in Majorca. A staggering 350 bottles of Moet & Chandon champagne were poured over the course of the evening, and the final bar bill - presented to Queen's manager, Jim Beach, included the cost of 232 glasses which had been smashed.
By the mid Eighties, Queen were so famous they began hanging out with the royals. Freddie was mates with Princess Diana, and it has been claimed that he once sneaked the late princess into a gay club. The singer disguised Diana with a thick jacket, hat and sunglasses, and took her to the Royal Vauxhall Tavern where she spent a rare night away from the limelight as Freddie kept the crowds distracted.
But Freddie's royal friends weren't limited to Diana - he also had a close bond with Michael Jackson, the King of pop. The two musical titans spent time recording together in 1983, but it was reported that some of Jackson's quirky behaviour pushed Freddie over the edge before they could finish anything. Queen's manager, Jim Beach, has spoken about a memorable phone call where Freddie begged to put and end to recording. "Michael’s bringing his pet llama into the studio every day and I’m really not used to recording with a llama," Freddie said. "I’ve had enough and I’d like to get out." However, it has also been claimed that Jackson pulled the plug on a session when he caught Freddie snorting coke through a hundred-dollar bill.
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