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Freddie Mercury and Monserrat Caballe
Not surprisingly for a pop star with such operatic pretensions Freddie Mercury had been a long time fan of Monserrat Caballe. They struck up an unlikely friendship after Mercury had quipped on Spanish television that he was hoping
Freddie Mercury
Song facts
Composer Mercury/Moran/Caballe
Popular Classical
Album Barcelona
UK Chart 8
to meet the Spanish Diva during a visit to Barcelona in 1986. Word of the interview got back to Caballe and in February the following year Mercury and producer Mike Moran went over to Barcelona to meet her. They became friends and Caballe called on Freddie when the search was on for a song to commemorate the Olympic Games in Barcelona. As she recalls “he was a big opera fan and had come to see me in Barcelona. And when the mayor asked for a song to commemorate the Olympic Games we thought of him. He came to see me in Covent Garden. We worked on some ideas, he sat at the piano and we ended up improvising all through the night, but it was worth it.”  Barcelona is a fitting song to come at the end of a career that had begun with such an operatic production as Bohemian Rhapsody. Sweeping, grand and ostentatious it is the kind of classicised pop music accessible to a mainstream audience. The song was an international hit with the video showing both Mercury and Caballe camping it up and winning an award in the US. Sadly, the plan for them both to perform the song at the 1992 Olympics never happened. Mercury died of Aids in November the year before and Caballe, stricken, refused to sing it with anyone else and the song was not performed at the ceremony.

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Shaun Ryder
 Check out ex- Happy Monday's lead singer Saun Ryder's version!

It has always been a favourite song, ever since the Olympics in 1992, I love the power and the marriage of pop and opera.

Julie Thomas

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