What It Was Really Like To Attend One Of Freddie Mercury's Outrageous Parties

Queen frontman Freddie Mercury is known for his penchant for unforgettably grandiose music, from the epic "Somebody to Love" to the beyond iconic "Bohemian Rhapsody." His flamboyant performance style and magnetic star quality elevated him to the status of one of the greatest rock icons of all time. In many ways, Mercury's life matched his art in its opulence and grandeur, and his parties in particular were famously wild and extravagant.

Born Farrokh Bulsara in the British protectorate of Zanzibar, Mercury and his family moved to England in 1964 when he was 17, per Express. In 1971, he formed the band Queen in London, according to Britannica, and the group's epic jams quickly began to take over the charts. As the group's fame grew, so did Mercury's penchant for a rip-roaring good time.

"[Freddie] could out-party me," Elton John told Uncut in 2001, per Cheatsheet, "which is saying something. We'd be up for nights, sitting there at 11 in the morning, still flying high."

Epic parties in New Orleans and Ibiza epitomize Freddie Mercury's wild lifestyle

One of the most notable parties Queen ever threw was a launch party for their album "Jazz," which took place at the Fairmont Hotel in New Orleans in 1978. Showbiz Cheatsheet reported the party had a "witchcraft" theme, according to record label executive Bob Hart, and the hotel ballroom was decorated with 50 "skeletal dead trees," adding to the event's aura of unhinged debauchery.

Per NME, the party featured nude waitstaff, nude models wrestling in a pit of liver, dwarves walking around with trays of cocaine on their heads, and a man biting heads off live chickens. Other attendees included snake charmers, back rooms where music industry elite could go to get "intimate," and an endless amount of champagne that added up to a total bill of $200,000, according to Showbiz Cheatsheet.

But that wasn't the only wild party Mercury would throw that year. Dangerous Minds reported for a 1978 birthday party in Ibiza, Mercury "flew 700 of his pals to the island off the coast of Spain," all of whom were treated to a fireworks display so enormous it could be seen from nearby Majorca. This kickstarted a birthday weekend tradition that is still thriving today, despite the fact that Mercury tragically died of AIDS in 1991.

Freddie Mercury 'encouraged people to be as outrageous as they wanted to be'

In addition to throwing wild parties in exotic locations, Mercury brought his brand of partying to his various residences, including a home in South Kensington, England, where he hosted events in the mid-1980s, according to My London.

"He encouraged people to be as outrageous as they wanted to be. It was like a festival," said Leigh Mason, who attended some of these parties while in his early-20s. "It was a real mix of people and full of laughter. There were drag queens, guys head to toe in leather, people doing coke. Looking back on it I think it was his loneliness and wanting people to spend the evening."

Another one of his infamous parties occurred in Munich, Germany in 1985. Guests were told to "please come in Black/White Drag Costume." 

"It was one of the more outrageous parties that I have ever attended. I don't think there was one like it afterwards," said Mercury's personal assistant Peter "Phoebe" Freestone, according to u discover music, who described the party's champagne fountains, outrageous costumes, and horse-drawn carriages. 

Mercury could out-perform and out-party almost anyone. His lust for life, though not for everyone, is part of what made his star burn so bright, and likely what keeps it burning in our minds even today.