Was Freddie Mercury a style leader re the gay male aesthetic or was he a follower?

In this circa 1984 “Radio Gaga” YouTube videoFreddie Mercury is at his flamboyant best, especially at the end. Was he a style leader with this look or was he mimicking existing gay style aesthetics?

I remember my mom’s gay friends having a similar look (moustache, short hair, tight shirts & pants) in the late 70’s early 80’s.


I don’t think his outfit is particularly flamboyant by the standards of an '80s rock video. Tight pants, leather, and bare chests were pretty typical.

I remember reading that his bandmates asked him to lose the mustache in the 70s because his overt gayness (Not yet widely acknowledged at the time) was spilling onto their reputations and the 'stache was just rubbing it in everybody’s faces. The aesthetic was already around, though I can’t think of anyone who better embodied it.

They must have changed their mind by the time of I Want To Break Free.

Shit look at Roxy Music around the time of their debut, Bryan Ferry is a notorious hetero and he is dressed just as flamboyant. It was the style at the time.

Didn’t happen. Mercury didn’t have the moustache in the '70’s. He completely changed his look at the turn of the decade. The first time he was seen with facial hair was in mid-1980.

It’s funny how Mercury is forever remembered as the moustachioused singer of Queen, when in reality he had the 'stache only from 1980 to 1986, less than a third of their career and years after their greatest work.

Mercury, like others, copied the gay look perfected by Tom of Finland in his art already in the early '60s.

Mixing the '70s with the '80s there. Ferry (and the rest of Roxy Music) looked flamboyant in the 1970s, when Glam Rock ruled and guys made their best effort to look outrageously ambigous. By the 80s when Mercury went publically gay, Ferry sported a sterotypically masculine look, simple suit and tie.

I was a little kid then, but it’s my recollection that plenty of 30-something straight men at that time also sported mustaches. 1980-1986 matches up pretty nicely with the time when Magnum, PI, starring the heavily mustached Tom Selleck, was one of the most popular shows on TV in the US.

The stache thing was not orientation specific then - it was a holdover from the 70s, which mainstreamed the long hair look of the late '60s without the beards, which were the tipping point to hippiedom.

Freddie Mercury was in a relatively long-term affair with a guy I knew in Berlin, and would come and stay with him in Berlin for weeks at a time between concert tours/recording sessions.

That guy I knew in Berlin looked pretty much exactly the same as Freddie (except he was blonde) - but for that matter, so did most of the guys who went to leather bars in Berlin at the time. That was “the look” in those days for guys in that scene; mustache, tight leather pants, harness, boots and in cooler weather, leather jacket - otherwise, bare chested.

Just a footnote - Freddie was actually quite the stay-at-home, quiet guy while in Berlin. They hardly ever went out, and it was not so much fear of being recognized as simply just wanting to kick back and hang out at home.

Well, he was the Great Pretender.

Wasn’t any less gay than Robert Plant or Mick Jagger.Actually,those two were perhaps more so.