Queen's Innuendo 30 Years On
Queen is considered to be one of the greatest rock bands of all-time. However, at this time 30 years ago when their Innuendo album was released, their loyal fans had no idea it would be the last to be completed with singer Freddie Mercury.
Rumours had been circulating that Freddie was seriously ill and possibly had AIDS. Those rumours were in fact true. Mercury swore his bandmates (Brian May, John Deacon and Roger Taylor) and his inner circle to secrecy. Freddie wanted to make music for as long as he was able, proclaiming to the rest of the band that he wanted to “keep working until I ----ing drop”.
The finished album is a return to form of sorts for Queen. It features more heavier songs, like the title track and “The Hitman”, following the Europop sound the band adopted in the 80s. Freddie’s voice is thin and lacks the range and power it once had, but he still hits the notes.
Two poignant songs on the album are “These Are the Days of Our Lives”, written by Roger Taylor about his middle-aged bliss, and the closer “The Show Must Go On”, written by Brian May about both his and Mercury’s inner demons at the time. According to May, Freddie was in poor shape at the time of recording, but drank a couple of vodkas and nailed the vocal in one take.
The album received mixed reviews upon release, and while it was a big success in the band’s native England, it was only a moderate success in the US. Following Freddie Mercury’s passing in November 1991, the album was re-evaluated as a fitting valedictory to the original line-up of Queen and is today regarded as one of the band’s best.
Toronto Public Library has a wealth of Queen material in our catalogue: