Freddie Mercury celebrating his 39th birthday at the Henderson nightclub in Munich, Germany in 1985.
It all started with a beyond flamboyant throw-down in Munich, Germany where Queen vocalist Freddie Mercury and a few hundred of his famous friends gathered together for Mercury’s “black and white” themed 39th birthday at the Henderson club. The Henderson was also used by Mercury to shoot the video for his 1985 solo single “Living on My Own” which includes footage shot at Freddie’s extravagant birthday shebang. Two months prior, Queen and Mercury set the world on fire with their set at Live Aid forever setting the rock and roll bar for greatness at a level so high it will likely forever stand as the single greatest live performance by a rock band ever. When Mercury sent out the invitations for his birthday, he requested attendees dress in drag and only in black and white. Mercury, of course, came as himself, because of course he did. I’ll leave you to think about that for a hot minute before we get to a few pieces of folklore about Freddie/Queen’s party habits as well as his follow-up birthday celebration in 1987 on the island of Ibiza.
If you know anything about Mercury, you know the man liked to enjoy himself, and took on the task of orchestrating nearly every detail of Queen’s debaucherous shindigs, such as the time in 1978 when Freddie booked-up the Fairmont Hotel in New Orleans’ French Quarter for the band and 500 of their guests to celebrate their upcoming record, Jazz. Dwarves were hired to walk around the party with trays of Bolivian coke and cocktail services were provided by nude waiters and waitresses. In the 2012 biography by Lesley-Ann Jones, Mercury: An Intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury, Elton John was quoted saying that Mercury could “out-party” him any day. In 1981 when Queen and David Bowie got together to record “Under Pressure,” they powered through the day-long session with coke and booze. For his party in Ibiza, Mercury flew 700 of his pals to the island off the coast of Spain. To this day Mercury’s birthday is still celebrated at the Ibiza Rocks House (formerly the infamous Pikes Hotel where Mercury held his 1987 gathering).
As unhinged as Mercury’s behavior could be behind-the-scenes there isn’t much evidence to cite his zealous pursuit of good times altering his ability to slay with his four-octave vocal range and commanding stage presence. To say nothing of the stone cold fact, Mercury knew how to party—something I’m sure you’ll be in agreement with after checking out the photos of Freddie partying like a pro as well as high-quality footage shot at the party to end all parties, below.
The invitation for Freddie Mercury’s birthday drag ball at Hendersons in Munich, Germany 1985.
Freddie’s black and white-themed birthday bash at the Henderson nightclub in Munich, Germany.
Mercury and Mary Austin in Munich.
Mercury and Queen’s manager John Reid in Munich.
With Queen drummer Roger Taylor in Ibiza.
Mercury with famous dancer and choreographer Wayne Sleep in Ibiza.
Mercury’s massive birthday cake, Ibiza 1987.
High quality video footage of Freddie Mercury’s 39th birthday party at Hendersons nightclub in Munich. The footage is preceded by some amusing commentary regarding the singer from the great Divine, Phil Collins, Diana Ross, and Little Richard, among others.
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
John Deacon of Queen gets his palm read by a Japanese fortune-teller in 1977
Vintage photos of Freddie Mercury & Queen playing tennis in bellbottoms
Freddie Mercury and David Bowie: Listen to the isolated vocal track for ‘Under Pressure’
Rob Halford of Judas Priest challenges his hero Freddie Mercury to a motorbike race, 1980
The look of love: Rarely-seen intimate pics of Freddie Mercury and his partner Jim