Music would have been different with Freddie, wouldn’t it?

Look out for usage of would + have + past participle in the text and an explanation of unreal situations afterwards. There is also a glossary below to help you with difficult vocabulary. Sept 5th, or as it shall now be known, Freddie Mercury day was celebrated yesterday with a Google Doodle on what would have been the Queen frontman's 65th birthday. He died 20 years ago, after enduring a lengthy and secret battle with HIV. The doodle features several images of Freddie in instantly recognisable outfits and poses from his illustrious career, with the Google overlaid on to the photos. When viewers clicked on the giant 'Play' button in the middle of the doodle, they were transported (by the wonders of the internet) into an animated concert with Queen performing live and Freddie centre stage, of course, at the piano. Queen guitarist (and legendary clog-wearer), Brian May said: “Freddie would have been 65 this year, and even though physically he is not here, his presence seems more potent than ever. Freddie made the last person at the back of the furthest stand in a stadium feel that he was connected. (Wise words from the mulleted one, there) I have to admit that it doesn’t really seem like 20 years ago since the most famous moustache in the world passed on. But, I wonder what the music scene would have been like, if he hadn’t died. Would there have been rap stars like Eminem, Jay-Z or Kanye West? Perhaps there wouldn't have been room for incessant warblers like Christina Aguilera, Celine Dion and Mariah Carey. Surely Freddie’s innate charisma and showmanship would have meant that these pretenders to his throne would have been simply swept aside. Or was he (and Queen) a spent force? Perhaps everyone would have forgotten about him, so it’s actually better that he died young (well, young-ish) and his memory was preserved for posterity. I think it’s probably a case of the latter, rather than the former. Don't you agree? GLOSSARY

Frontman – the lead singer in a band e.g. Mick Jagger, Bono illustrious – well known, respected, successful to endure – to suffer clogs – shoes with a thick wooden sole, popularly thought to come from Holland mullet – a hairstyle in which the hair is cut short at the front and sides and left long at the back potent – strong, having great power or influence incessant – something that doesn't stop warbler – (slang) someone who sings with a quavering voice innate – natural, something you are born with charisma – natural attractiveness (perhaps not physical) that can inspire devotion in others pretender to a throne – someone trying to be as good as someone (who is widely acknowledged as the best) who is clearly better than them Spent force – someone who had power and then no longer has power or influence preserved for posterity – something kept in a perfect condition so that future generations can enjoy it

  WOULD HAVE BEEN or…. Would + Have + Past participle (If you are a grammar freak, then you might want to call this "Conditional Perfect") We use this when we talk about something that might have happened in the past (but it's too late now – the past has gone and is finished – We can't change anything now from the past). Sometimes we call this an 'unreal situation' Ex: Freddie Mercury would have been 65 today (Unreal situation – He is dead and nobody can change that fact) Perhaps there wouldn't have been room for incessant warblers like Christina Aguilera (Unreal situation – Freddie was not alive at the same time, so it is impossible to say if the situation was possible, or not)

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