He was not that popular in the US even. A subculture knew of their earlier stuff. Aside from "We Will Rock You* they didn't have mainstream appeal in America until The Game was released in 1980. There were two huge mainstream hits from it which made Queen more or less a household name. Then they faded back into relative obscurity (in America) until Mercury's death. I remember seeing them on television in Spain in 1987... where Queen had much appeal and thinking I haven't seen those guys since Live Aid. At Live Aid no one took much notice; not a very memorable performance. Upon his death a lot of people suddenly became Queen fans. When Wayne's World became a cultural phenomena it drew in a new generation. I hate when people try to rewrite history.