Freddie Mercury was here – Montreux, Lac Leman
Switzerland, as everyone knows, is noted more for its Swiss accounts and very strict banking secrecy laws rather than its rock culture. Yet, it’s these Swiss accounts and its Fortress Knox privacy protection laws that have attracted celebrities, top sports personalities and the super and mega rich to its shores.
As our tour coach cruises around Lac Leman and our guide tries to point out the residences of the rich and famous, any attempt at celebrity-spotting is totally futile. Apart from the strict banking secrecy laws, Lake Geneva’s trees also conspire to grow so tall and compact that you’ll not even manage to see a gate or driveway. I think these highly rich individuals must have secret passages out of their estates so that they’re sheltered from the inquisitive gaze of ordinary folks.
One very famous past resident of Montreux was Freddie Mercury of the rock band Queen. Montreux was Freddie’s second home and it was here that he sadly died of Aids in 1991. A commerative statue of him can be seen on the lakeside of Montreux, an upmarket resort town on Lac Leman. Well done Tony for having captured this shot as our coach whizzed past the statue.
Another rock trivia involved a concert by Frank Zappa and the Mother of Invention in December 1971. A rocket-flare that was fired into the ceiling went horribly wrong and the building was quickly engulfed in flames. Ian Gillan from the band Deep Purple was in his hotel room across the way and saw clouds of smoke billowing above the waters of the lake. This apparently inspired him to write ‘Smoke on the Water’.
Well Queen and Deep Purple were favourite bands of mine and how interesting it was to come across trivia about them on our travels.