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Happy 32nd Birthday To Innuendo

It was 32 years ago today, that Innuendo had come out and this is a post about how it relates to me and how it had kick started my Queen fandom, shortly after it had come out. I will be repeating some things from previous posts, but you will understand why in a bit.

Back in February 1991, I only had the Greatest Hits album on tape and didn’t listen to it all that much, as I was still in my Beatles phase and even after I got into Queen, The Beatles didn’t exactly go away as I had tried to find connections between the two bands. Well, that would come in time and in the beginning of 1991, I would be putting up with my friend Bob playing Queen on his little ghetto blaster and he had bought Innuendo on CD and I had dipped my toes into the Queen waters, by purchasing it on tape on a Monday afternoon in March, during an orientation and mobility lesson. I went to a record store in Brantford at one of its malls and had bought it and soon after, I would give it a listen. Very quickly, Innuendo (the album and song) would grow on me, but I wouldn’t buy the album on CD until late May and then, the ball had started rolling.

As I had said in the other post about me and Bob, Queen grew on me because of my propensity to hard rock and after Bob and myself had listened to Rockline with Brian and Roger as guests, I began to hear more of the album from him.

In January I would hear Headlong on the radio at home and it was a nice song (I guess) at the time. Little did I know that I would grow to love it months later, because of its hard rock vibe and a kinda stripped down feel to it and the production. It was still heavily produced, but it had a drier sound and of course, that would continue on Made In Heaven 4 years later.

I would hear Innuendo next and I didn’t sit through the whole song at first, so I didn’t notice the Spanish guitar Interlude with Steve Howe of Yes and Asia fame. It reminded me (oddly enough) vocally of Twisted Sister and the bonus track King Of The Fools from the album Come Out And Play. Why? I have no idea, but here it is anyway.

I love how slow and menacing Innuendo is and that drum roll at the beginning, lets you know that this is a song which demands attention, even with its 6 minutes and change length. The middle section when played by Brian reminded me (then and now) of something which you would hear on an Iron Maiden track and because I love Maiden, that touched a nerve with me. Vocally, Freddie was singing as well as ever and there seemed to be no indication that he was sick, throughout the entire album. The exception is the sound of his voice, which was thinner, but despite that it was still strong and authoritative.

I’m Going Slightly Mad isn’t one of my favourite Queen tracks, but what impressed me is how low Freddie sings and affectively at that. He doesn’t often do a track in the lower register, unless he is harmonizing with himself or only as a part of a song. The only other time he had done this was with Crazy Little Thing Called Love and it was not really a showcase for how well he could sing down there. If Freddie had lived to today, I’m sure that we would have heard more of him down in the bottom range of his voice more often and always returning to the higher register, to serve the song.

I Can’t Live With You had a pop feel to me, even if it is a composition from Brian and vocally, Freddie seemed to echo this with his delivery. The sound of the programmed drums reminds me of The Devil You Know by Jesus Jones, which would appear on their 1993 album Perverse. There was a song from 1990 which has much the same type of pop swing to it and the same vocal delivery which Freddie has on the song, but I can’t remember what it is and who did it. I thought it was Luther Vandross, but it wasn’t.

When I heard Don’t Try So Hard for the first time, I thought Freddie sounded like a girl when he sang the falsetto part and I loved when he went into full voice on that high D 5 note. I tried to mimic what he did and I succeeded (when I was 17) and now I don’t know if I can still do it anymore, because I haven’t had a chance to sing Queen songs properly.

Ride The Wild Wind was a song I love singing because of its wide range and I especially love the guitar solo and the chugging lead up to the final chorus.

All God’s People was a song which Bob and myself thought was titled after the first words of the song, like Christian hymns we had learned at school, for full assemblies. Also, the fact that Mike Moran had written it didn’t clue into either of us as we didn’t know Queen or Freddie’s history well enough, to know about the Barcelona album. All the same, I liked it and I still do to this day. I also wish that it would become a hymn which kids had to learn in school, instead of those boring Christian tunes we had to learn, when we grew up.

I had thought that These Are the Days of Our Lives was just called Days of Our Lives, after the soap opera of the same name in the US. It could have been a theme to a TV show, but it obviously has another meaning now, especially given the context of the video and events which would occur months later, like the death of Freddie in November 1991.

I’m going to talk about Delilah, despite that it is not one of the greatest songs by Queen, but I am going to address the debate over whether Brian uses a Wawa pedal, or a talk box at the end when he does the meows. I’m going to state it right here, that I believe it is a talk box. If you listen carefully, you can hear “M” when Brian does the “meow’s” and you can’t do that with a Wawa pedal.

Now we get to my personal favourite song on the album, The Hitman which is probably the heaviest Queen song in years, besides Was It All Worth It and unfortunately, it wasn’t released as a single, as an A-side. It reminds me at times of early Black Sabbath and at times, Freddie sounds even more evil than Ozzy when delivering the line “I’m the hitman, I’m your prise”, with his vibrato sounding sinister. It’s a great guitar song and my guitar teacher showed me how to play it.

Bijou actually made me sad, because of how little Freddie was actually on the track. To me, that was a marker I had missed that something was very wrong with Freddie and his health, especially while Brian and Roger were denying that Freddy was ill, until the very end. It’s simply because of how little Freddie sings on this song that should have made me shout louder that something was going on and it wasn’t good.

The Show Must Go On has gained popularity after Freddie had died over here in North America, but I liked it and still do. Freddie did not sound like he was sick at all, except for Freddie singing slightly flatt at times, but that only adds to the song’s beauty. I love how it is a power ballad, but also symphonic at the same time and it is a perfect song to end off the final album, with Freddie while he was still alive. If they had ended it off with Bijou, it wouldn’t have been right and thank God they gave us one more as a finale.

When I had bought Innuendo on CD, I remember the booklet smelling kinda like peanut butter and so does Bob. I wonder why that is, as it seems odd to me. Was there someone eating a peanut butter sandwich and happen to have some peanut butter on his hands, when handling the initial booklet? I don’t know, I’m just asking.

Anyway, happy 32nd anniversary to this fine album from Fredie, Brian, John and Roger and there really is nothing else to be said about it.


Published by blindgordie

I am a blind at birth human and love to write. I have many interests and they are all in all 3 blogs I have here. Hopefully you enjoy reading them as much as I have had both fun and a hard time putting together each post.

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