In the wake of Freddie Mercury’s death on Nov. 24, 1991, Queen’s popularity surged. Featured in Wayne’s World and on a reissued single right after Mercury passed, “Bohemian Rhapsody” became an international phenomenon all over again; 1992′s star-packed and quite remarkable Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert stoked back catalog sales, and several more phenomenally successful hits collections meant that Mercury attained sainthood, not just for his music, but for publically acknowledging his illness the day before he died.
Released in 1994, Made in Heaven is comprised of underexposed and previously unreleased Mercury vocals set to instrumentation recorded by the other Queen members long after their singer’s passing. After finishing 1991′s Innuendo, Mercury recorded as much as he could, but could only finish the vocals on one song, the seasonal fantasia “A Winter’s Tale.” Consequently there’s nothing here that was completed with Mercury’s full participation. What the band assembled in his absence has an unmistakable religious and even moralistic tone — “Made in Heaven,” “Let Me Live, “My Life Has Been Saved,” “Heaven For Everyone” and, most notably, “Too Much Love Will Kill You.” Until his diagnosis, Mercury was one of rock’s most legendary hedonists: For him to be posthumously reconfigured and re-remembered this way is kind of weird.