How Freddie Mercury Really Felt About Prince

One was an idiosyncratic songwriting genius, a multi-instrumentalist whose studio recordings are classics and whose live shows were those of a master performer. And the other ... wait, actually, this applies to both of them. We're talking about Freddie Mercury and Prince here, two of the greatest musical talents in living memory. That description applies to both of them.

Though both towering figures in the history of pop music, on the face of it, Mercury and Prince have little in terms of crossover. Mercury was a rock legend, whose band Queen remains one of the biggest-selling rock acts even today, according to Billboard. His music is eccentric and inspired by opera — particularly the monster hit "Bohemian Rhapsody" — but nevertheless remains definitive in the hard rock genre. Prince, on the other hand, made his name with erotically-charged genre-bending pop which in many ways has exerted a huge influence on today's chart megastars. Rock, however, is one of the genres that Prince experimented with, and it may be reasonable to assume that the elder Mercury may have inspired him in the early part of his career. But surprisingly, it appears that it was Mercury who was filled with admiration for Prince.

Freddie was obsessed with a certain Prince concert

Perhaps you have a friend who is obsessed with a certain YouTube clip that they find particularly mesmerizing, and that they make you watch over and over again. Well according to Freddie Mercury's longtime assistant, Peter Freestone, this person in his life was Mercury himself, and one can probably assume that when it's Freddie Mercury in control of what you're watching ... well, it's difficult to say no.

As Peter Freestone recalls in his book, "Freddie Mercury: An Intimate Memoir by the Man Who Knew Him Best," the Queen frontman loved to spend his downtime at home, where he could "veg out," or relax, in front of the television, particularly if he had something musical to watch. One of Mercury's favorite videos, according to Freestone, was a three-hour recording of a live Prince concert, which his assistant claims he would watch incessantly. Mercury would reportedly return home with a large entourage, whom he would compel to watch Prince's show. Either Mercury would insist that his guests watch the show in its entirety — or multiple times — or he would take control of the clicker and pick out his favorite parts.

But what was it about Prince that Mercury found so compulsive? According to Freestone, Mercury — who was 12 years Prince's senior — saw a lot of himself in the effervescent young performer. "I think Freddie admired Prince because he was so similar to when Freddie was young," Freestone writes, describing them both as: "Hugely energetic and with that charisma which turns a diminutive form into a giant" (via "Freddie Mercury").