They were the loudest and quietest members of Queen. They were the exhibitionist and the introvert. Yet Freddie and John bonded deeply from the start. Freddie’s death in 1991 hit John very hard. He quit the band and has since completely retired from public life. Peter lived with Freddie for the last 12 years of his life and gives us an incredible exclusive look into the life and loves of the Queen frontman.
Peter says: “Freddie took John under his wing because he was the new boy. He was shy, not like Brian and Roger. He wanted to protect him.
“And then John found a wife and built a life with Veronica and Freddie didn’t need to look after him so much any more.
“Even so, when you look on later albums, there are a few Deacon/Mercury tracks, because John was the only one who acknowledged how much Freddie helped him.”
Although Freddie wasn’t always so helpful. Peter reveals the star had a shocking habit or trick, just before going into a recording studio.
He said: “Freddie would provoke fights with whoever was there because that gave him the impetus to work, it got his juices flowing.”
“Like Brian always said, they were four people in a marriage because you have to be that close to be able to fight and make up. Most of the time it was about the music. Very rarely was the fighting and screaming personal.”
Without Freddie there, John was not able to stay in the band.
Jacky Smith ran the Queen fan club for 37 years and said: “John just gave up after Freddie died. He and Freddie were opposites really because John is so shy and he was the youngest in the band. Freddie took him under his wing and they were very close for all those years.
Most famously, John declared in 1996: “As far as we are concerned, this is it. There is no point carrying on. It is impossible to replace Freddie.”
Although Deacon officially retired in 1997, he had only played once live with the band after Freddie’s death, at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert for AIDS Awareness in April 1992.
He briefly rejoined his bandmates in October 1997 for the recording of the final Queen song “No-One but You (Only the Good Die Young)“, included on the Queen Rocks album released that November.
Deacon continues to live quietly in South Putney, London, with his wife of 44 years Veronica, in the same house where they raised their six children.
Peter is promoting the new box set Never Boring, which collects all of Freddie’s solo works, as well as rare and unseen photos, sketches, notes and thoughts. He told Express Online it gives fans a remarkable chance to discover “the real Freddie.”