Jim Hutton was the man Freddie Mercury called ‘my husband’ back in the Eighties, long before such things were actually conceivable. Now Jim’s memoir of his rollercoaster relationship with the singer, ‘Mercury and Me’, is being published on Kindle on Sunday November 24 – exactly 22 years to the day that the world lost the enigmatic music talent that was Freddie Mercury.
Had he lived, Freddie Mercury would have been 67 this year. And his long-standing lover Jim would have been 64. The lives of both men were tragically cut short through ill health. Freddie, as the world knows all too well, battled and died from the insufferable AIDS at just 45 in 1991. Jim, who believed it was Freddie who had infected him with HIV, actually went on to outlive Freddie by 18 years. But Jim was a heavy smoker, which cannot have helped matters, and he finally succumbed to debilitating lung cancer three years ago.
Jim Hutton seemed to be the unlikeliest of partners for the world’s most extrovert rock superstar. In many ways he was the complete opposite of his showman lover. How could a modest gentleman’s barber satisfy the planet’s most eccentric rock performer? And yet, Jim not only could but he did.
Jim was never fully assimilated into Mercury’s jet-setting lifestyle, nor did he want to be, but from 1985 until the singer died in 1991, Jim was closer to Mercury than anyone and he knew all of his closest friends: the other members of Queen, Elton John, David Bowie and Phil Collins, to name but a few.
The Kindle edition of ‘Mercury and Me’ has a new introduction by Hutton’s co-writer Tim Wapshott. “I am delighted that ‘Mercury and Me’ is now being released on Kindle where it might perhaps reach a new audience,” says Tim Wapshott. “This was an honest and open book and it remains a touching tale of gay love in the Eighties when the AIDS epidemic and backlash in Britain both seemed to be at their height.
“Being Freddie Mercury’s partner was not an easy job – as Jim’s story explains, there were many lows to go with all those highs. All the same, the two of them battled on and made a world of their own filled with love and warmth. It was a world that was shattered by Freddie’s untimely death at just 45 – an event that marked the beginning of something of a living hell for Jim Hutton.”
Jacky Smith, who runs the official Queen fan club (www.queenworld.com), adds: “It’s great that Jim Hutton’s poignant book about his life with Freddie is being released as an e-book. Freddie and Jim were great together, and this book shows a side of Freddie that very few people saw. I still miss both of those lovely people, as do all Queen fans everywhere.”
Since the Kindle publication coincides with the anniversary of Freddie Mercury’s death. To mark the occasion, a small private launch party is being held at London’s exclusive Club at The Ivy, hopefully helping to raise a little money for Stonewall into the bargain.
Fernando Peire, Director of the Club at The Ivy, says: “Freddie Mercury was one of the greats. Testament to his talent is the fact that we are still listening to his music, which is as fresh today as when it was first recorded. If Freddie’s canon of work was merely his Queen output then it was exceptional – but he also had a successful solo career that included his opera-inspired Barcelona album, performed with the legendary diva Montserrat Caballé . I am glad that we could help celebrate such an outstanding man.”
Tim Wapshott adds: “Several of those who knew and loved Freddie and Jim will be joining us and all the guests will be raising a glass to rock’s oddest couple. They both remain very sorely missed.”
‘Mercury and Me’, by Jim Hutton with Tim Wapshott, is published on Kindle on Sunday November 24, 2013.