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Since 1998, search engine Google.com, and it's regional variations, have marked special dates with 'Google Doodles'. They are typically used to mark calendar events such as Valentine's day or New Year's day, the births and deaths of authors, scientists, politicians and other historical figures, and other anniversaries, such as the moon landings or Olympics. Each Google Doodle is a version of the normal logo, which is themed around the anniversary. The vast majority of Doodles are static images, and the majority are limited to special countries or regions, rather than globally.
On 5 September 2011, Google marked what would have been Freddie's 65th birthday with a relatively rare video doodle, which was available globally across all of it's regional sites (although it was available on Google.com in the US on the 6th, as Freddie's birthday coincided with Labor Day). The doodle itself contained a montage of illustrated pictures of Freddie, with a play button in the centre. When clicked, it played an edit of 'Don't Stop Me Now', with a cartoon highlighting the lyrics of the song, and moments from Freddie's career. The video is playable at the bottom of this page.
To coincide with the doodle, the following post from Brian appeared on Google Blogs:
I'm happy to add some words to wish Freddie a happy 65th Birthday, and trust that, even though he's not still here with us in the normal way, he will hear them.
We will be celebrating with a monumental dinner, by the way ... at the Savoy, with some great friends who will join us on stage to raise the roof!
Where did it all begin? How did I meet Freddie ... ? I was introduced to a paradoxically shy yet flamboyant young man at the side of the stage at one of our early gigs as the group 'SMILE'. He told me he was excited by how we played, and he had some ideas, and he could sing! I'm not sure we took him very seriously, but he did have the air of someone who knew he was right! He was a frail but energised Dandy, with seemingly impossible dreams, and a wicked twinkle in his eye. A while later we had the opportunity to actually see him sing ... and it was scary! He was wild and untutored, but massively charismatic ... unforgettable even at that time, although people were generally somewhat taken aback by the onslaught!
The whole story, of course has been told elsewhere, and will be again, but the moment when I really began to sit up was when we first had our moment in a proper studio. Freddie put some vocal tracks down, and immediately began to frown ... "I can do better", he said, as he stared into the distance ... and that is what he did ... beginning a rapid process of self-tutoring, each time he listened to a take of himself, and his evolution into a world-class vocal talent took place in front of our eyes.
For me Freddie's over-riding talent was maximising his talents. He was fully focussed ... never allowing anything or anyone to get in the way of his vision for the future. He was truly a Free Spirit. There are not many of these in the world. To achieve this, you have to be, like Freddie, fearless - unafraid of upsetting anyone's apple cart. Freddie was not a people-pleaser; he pleased himself. Not all of us are capable, or willing, to go all the way down this road, but Freddie stands as the perfect example of what this kind of dedication can achieve.
However this does not mean Freddie was insensitive - far from it. Some people imagine him as the fiery, difficult diva who required everyone around him to compromise. No. In our world, as 4 artists attempting to paint on the same canvas, Freddie was always the one who could find the compromise - the way to pull it through, and optimise our output. This he did with a mixture of impatience, insistence, and humour. He simply had no time for the squabbles ... and if he found himself at odds with any one of us, he would quickly dispel the cloud with a generous gesture, a wisecrack, or an impromptu present. I remember one morning after a particularly tense discussion he presented me with a cassette. He had been up most of the night compiling a collage of my guitar solos. He said, with a small smile, "I wanted you to hear them as I hear them, Dear. They're all fab, so I made them into a symphony!".
To create with Freddie was always stimulating to the max. He was lateral thinking ... daring ... always sensing a way to get outside 'the box'. Sometimes he was too far out ... and he'd usually be the first to realise it ... with a conspiratorial smile he would say " Oh ... did I lose it, dears?!" but usually there was sense in his nonsense - art in his madness. It was liberating. I think he encouraged us all in his way, to believe in our own madness, and the collective mad power of the group Queen - a lot of which seems to be better appreciated by the new generation of today's musicians than it ever was when we were in the thick of it. When I talk to the Foo Fighters, My Chemical Romance, or Muse, I hear them speak in a way that shows they lived in the landscapes we painted, and appreciated every brush-stroke - much as we lived in the music of The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix in our formative years. To me, this is the greatest reward of all ... to live on in the next generation, and to be forever sewn into the ever-lengthening Bayeux Tapestry of Rock.
Freddie would have been 65 this year, and somehow, even though physically he is not here, his presence seems more potent than ever. I think he will always epitomise the perfect front-man - the consummate channel of communication between a band and an audience. Freddie made the last person at the back of the furthest stand in a stadium feel that he was connected. Freddie gave people proof that a man could achieve his dreams - made them feel that through him they were overcoming their own shyness, and becoming the powerful God-like figure of their ambitions. And he lived life to the full. He devoured life. He celebrated every minute. And, like a Great Comet, he left a luminous trail which will sparkle for many a generation to come.
Happy Birthday Freddie!!!
Dr. Brian May, CBE. Guitarist.