Although Freddie Mercury had a legitimate solo career in Europe, the Queen singer's solo output was largely ignored stateside (since Queen's albums weren't selling that well in the U.S. during the mid- to late '80s, you wouldn't expect Mercury's solo material to exactly light up the charts). But Mercury managed to score quite a few solo hits back home in the U.K., especially his 1985 outing Mr. Bad Guy, as well as an assortment of singles and a vocal tour de force with opera singer Montserrat Caballe, Barcelona, all of which serve as the basis for the ten-track collection The Freddie Mercury Album. As with the other Queen members who have issued solo recordings, Mercury's solo material does not match the high quality work of his full-time band. That said, there are a few tracks that could have easily been reworked as Queen songs (in fact, one of Mercury's solo tracks, "Made in Heaven" -- which isn't included here -- was reworked and served as the title track for a 1995 posthumous Queen collection), including "Love Kills," "Mr. Bad Guy," and "Let's Turn It On" (the latter of which includes some very Brian May-like guitar work). To sample the finest tracks of Mercury's solo career, The Freddie Mercury Album is a worthy collection. [The Great Pretender is the U.S. version of The Freddie Mercury Album, which was issued around the same time and featured a slightly different track listing.] ~ Greg Prato
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