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The Late Movies: Happy Birthday, Freddie Mercury

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Today would have been Freddie Mercury's 66th birthday. We lost him in 1991, the year before Wayne's World brought his opus "Bohemian Rhapsody" to a new generation. Mercury had a stunning voice, spanning four octaves, and his stage presence was sized to match. To blow your mind, check out this vocals-only track from "Under Pressure" (with David Bowie). I have advanced it to the point where Mercury belts out his insane "whyyyyyyyyyyyy!" This.

Now, let's settle in for some Queen classics, and raise a toast to Freddie.

"Under Pressure" (Live at Wembley Stadium, 1986)

I love his call-and-response with the crowd at the beginning, and especially the way he ends it. He's an unbelievably powerful performer.

"We are the Champions"

"Bad mistakes, I've made a few." Arguably the white jean shorts were a mistake, but this performance rules.

"Bohemian Rhapsody"

"Nothing really matters." The second segment appears to be pre-recorded...and then the pyrotechnics start. Note that the video seems to repeat, the second time (around 5:30) without sound. Just stop watching at that point.

"I Want to Break Free" (Live at Wembley Stadium, 1986)

"God knows I want to break free!"

"Another One Bites the Dust" (Live at the Bowl)

Freddie's trousers mesmerize me.

"Somebody To Love" (Live at the Bowl)

"Free, I tell ya!"

"Crazy Little Thing Called Love" (Live At The Bowl)

"This is for anybody who's crazy out there!"

65th Birthday Video

This tribute video was assembled last year. Lovely stuff, with a variety of perfectly placed f-bombs.

"Heroes" (Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert)

While not a Queen song, this Bowie + Queen performance is a fitting tribute to the man.

"Under Pressure" (Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert)

Okay, one more. Queen + Bowie + Annie Lennox. Divine and heartbreaking. "These are the days it never rains, but it pours."

See also: The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert Was 20 Years Ago Today (from April of this year).

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Australian Charity Releases Album of Cat-Themed Ballads to Promote Feline Welfare
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An Australian animal charity is helping save the nation’s kitties one torch song at a time, releasing a feline-focused musical album that educates pet owners about how to properly care for their cats.

Around 35,000 cats end up in pounds, shelters, and rescue programs every year in the Australian state of New South Wales, according to the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA). Microchipping and fixing cats, along with keeping closer tabs on them, could help reduce this number. To get this message out, the RSPCA’s New South Wales chapter created Cat Ballads: Music To Improve The Lives Of Cats.

The five-track recording is campy and fur-filled, with titles like "Desex Me Before I Do Something Crazy" and "Meow Meow." But songs like “I Need You” might tug the heartstrings of ailurophiles with lyrics like “I guess that’s goodbye then/but you’ve done this before/the window's wide open/and so’s the back door/you might think I’m independent/but you’d be wrong.” There's also a special version of the song that's specifically designed for cats’ ears, featuring purring, bird tweets, and other feline-friendly noises.

Together, the tunes remind us how vulnerable our kitties really are, and provide a timely reminder for cat owners to be responsible parents to their furry friends.

“The Cat Ballads campaign coincides with kitten season, which is when our shelters receive a significantly higher number of unwanted kittens as the seasons change,” Dr. Jade Norris, a veterinary scientist with the RSPCA, tells Mental Floss. “Desexing cats is a critical strategy to reduce unwanted kittens.”

Listen to a song from Cat Ballads below, and visit the project’s website for the full rundown.

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AFP/Stringer/Getty Images
ABBA Is Going on Tour—As Holograms
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AFP/Stringer/Getty Images

Missed your chance to watch ABBA perform live at the peak of their popularity? You’re in luck: Fans will soon be able to see the group in concert in all their chart-topping, 1970s glory—or rather, they’ll be able to see their holograms. As Mashable reports, a virtual version of the Swedish pop band is getting ready to go on tour.

ABBA split up in 1982, and the band hasn't been on tour since. (Though they did get together for a surprise reunion performance in 2016.) All four members of ABBA are still alive, but apparently not up for reentering the concert circuit when they can earn money on a holographic tour from the comfort of their homes.

The musicians of ABBA have already had the necessary measurements taken to bring their digital selves to life. The final holograms will resemble the band in the late 1970s, with their images projected in front of physical performers. Part of the show will be played live, but the main vocals will be lifted from original ABBA records and recordings of their 1977 Australian tour.

ABBA won’t be the first musical act to perform via hologram. Tupac Shakur, Michael Jackson, and Dean Martin have all been revived using the technology, but this may be one of the first times computerized avatars are standing in for big-name performers who are still around. ABBA super-fans will find out if “SOS” still sounds as catchy from the mouths of holograms when the tour launches in 2019.

[h/t Mashable]


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