One of the greatest rock bands of all time, bringing their sound out of London to the rest of the world, Queen has produced a lifetime’s worth of fantastic hits. One of their well-known works is a song called “Love of My Life”, but who is the “Love” that it is talking about?
Queen’s ‘Love of My Life’ is most likely about Mary Austin, although songwriter Freddie Mercury claimed there was no meaning to it. There is a significant amount of skepticism about the answer.
In the eyes of a lot of fans, the soft rock ballad is far too heartfelt to simply be about nobody. Those fans that believe Freddie had a specific someone in mind when writing the lyrics fall into one of two camps, those that believe it was written about Mary Austin, and those that believe it was written about David Minns.
In the interview where Freddie was first quizzed on the nature of the song’s lyrics, he responded in a somewhat defensive fashion, stating that there was no connection between himself, his songs, and his lyrics.
Although the late singer’s answer should be taken at face value, it’s perhaps a little difficult to do so when the piece that he wrote is so clearly pointed at someone. Even John Reid, the man who was once a manager for Queen, stated that Mercury had told him the song was about David Minns.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to verify any of this now, and even if he had been alive today, the singer may still have opted not to speak about the song. The fact that he wasn’t willing to divulge any information in the first place is a clear sign that he simply wanted to keep some privacy over the lyrics.
Whether they were simply therapeutic to him, and that was something he wanted to keep under wraps, or if he simply wasn’t ready to speak about the subject, we will never know for sure.
If we’re willing to open ourselves up to some speculation, then one clear candidate for the position of the muse of the song is Mary Austin. To understand the extent to which Austin was important to Mercury, all we need to do is look at one single quote that Mercury made about her.
“All of my lovers asked me why they couldn’t replace Mary, but it’s simply impossible. The only friend I’ve got is Mary, and I don’t want anybody else.”
Fans of Queen will be well acquainted with the deep friendship and love that the two held for each other, as Mary was there for Mercury through the good and the bad, as well as being by his side when his illness finally took him at 45.
Their marriage suffered from some tension, prior to Mercury becoming more comfortable with his own sexuality. When he finally revealed to Austin that he was bisexual, the two were able to find an ever-lasting friendship in the remnants of the marriage.
She was also the one to take care of his ashes, taking them to a location only known to her.
Considering all of the above and everything that we know about their relationship, Austin stands out as being the prime candidate for the focus of the song’s lyrics. There is one other possibility, however.
Minns was the boyfriend and lover of Mercury, even while he was married to Austin and before he had let his sexuality be known to those around him.
Although they did seem to be in love, it also didn’t appear to be in quite the same way as the relationship he shared with Austin. In this case, that bond of friendship was replaced by a sort of push and pull caused by the secretive nature of their relationship.
The relationship would be constantly fraught with arguments and fighting, the burden of his hidden secret, and the responsibility that he still felt towards Austin weighing on his soul.
Still, Mercury clearly held Minns very closely in his heart. Although he claimed that his songs didn’t mean anything, many are of the opinion that he had already written songs directed at Minns before, such as “You Take My Breath Away” and “Good Old Fashioned Lover Boy”.
So despite his claims, “Love of My Life” really could have been about Austin or Minns, as they were both incredibly important to him.