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Farrokh Bulsara didn't seem destined for greatness. The odds were stacked against him.

Farrokh was born in Zanzibar to Indo-Parsi parents who practiced Zoroastrianism. After his parents immigrated from Africa to England in his late teens, he drifted around the periphery of London's burgeoning rock scene in the late '60s. "Paki," people'd sneer disgustedly, thinking he was Pakistani. Farrokh's protruding buck teeth earned more mockery. His shy, effeminate mannerisms made him an easy target.

But Farrokh had a secret weapon: his voice.

One night in 1970 after a band dubbed Smile watches its lead singer stomp off, the young immigrant offers his services. Guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor scoff.

Then he sings. And gets the job. And adopts a new stage name: Freddie Mercury.

The rest, as they say, is history.

And the history of Queen as it unspools from 1970 to 1985 is as dramatic as it is tragic—especially when it comes to Freddie Mercury's insatiable desire for love, a quest that consumed his life.

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