On this day
  • 1967: Reaction live at Perranporth Beach, UK.
  • 1971: Queen live at The Garden, Penzance, UK, as a support band to Warm...

Read all 4 events for 29 July at diary.QueenSongs.info



Back in the studio shortly after The Miracle and preserving a lot of the same team (with the notable addition of Noel Harris as engineer for the London sessions), Queen laid down material for Innuendo throughout four blocks of sessions (one in late 1989, three in 1990), which included some breaks to attend their other activities.

Innuendo features more guest musicians than The Miracle with the inclusion of Stephen Howe on guitar, Michael Moran on piano and producer David Richards having a lot of uncredited input on synthesisers (he did get a credit for programming, though, so perhaps that covered it).

Available Sources

No photographs from these sessions have been released to the public (if they exist at all), let alone footage. The EPK included some scenes filmed inside Metropolis Studios in Chiswick (London) and they showed a bit of the lay-out, which is also visible in the video for 'Headlong' as that was mimed there.

As Brian's home studio had already been completed before sessions for this album, it's possible (though not by any means confirmed) he'd done some demos there. The Fan Club claimed, back when the album was being made, that both Olympic and The Town House were scheduled as venues for it. Months later, when it was released, they were both omitted from the credits. It could be that the decision was reversed or that they simply didn't include them. 'All God's People', at least, is confirmed to have been at least partially done at The Town House.

The Mercury Phoenix Trust hosted an event on Saturday 30th September 2017 at Metropolis Studios in London. It was named Back to the Tapes and focused on this album, having engineers Noel Harris and Justin Shirley-Smith playing some separate tracks and answering some questions. Dates were revealed, myths were busted (e.g. Frederick having owned the 10 ft Fazioli piano that the studios had).

No multi-tracks have leaked so far, but there are stems from 'The Show Must Go On' as it was included in the videogame Rock Band 3 as part of the second Queen Extravaganza Pack released on Tuesday 6th December 2011.

Documented Timeline

  • 1989:
    • Late November:
      • Frederick writes to the Fan Club, commenting on the video for 'The Miracle' and announcing plans to start recording a new album in November/December at Mountain Studios.
      • The Fan Club announces plans for an album titled Alternative Miracle, scheduled for a February 1990 release. It's also confirmed that The Cross finished recording their sophomore album in Switzerland.
      • Preliminary ideas for 'Bolero' at Mountain in Montreux.
    • December:
      • Work on at least three songs at this point: 'Try So Hard', 'Innuendo' and 'You & Me'.
      • Monday 4th: Work begins on 'I'm Going Slightly Mad'.
      • Sunday 31st: Queen attend an ITV Special and are voted Band of the Eighties. Frederick Mercury's penultimate public television appearance.
  • 1990:
    • February:
      • Sunday 18th: 
        • Queen attend the BPI Awards at the Dominion Theatre. That marks Frederick Mercury's last public appearance on telly.
        • Later that same evening, Queen celebrate their 20th anniversary with a party at the Groucho Club in London. Amongst the attendees are Roderick Stewart, Liza Minelli, Melvin Smith, David Gilmore, George Michael, Simon LeBon, Stephen Fry and Robert Geldof - many of the most widely spread photographs of Queen members with them come from these celebrations.
    • March:
      • Monday 12th: Recording sessions for the album resume at Metropolis in Chiswick, London, England.
      • Friday 16th: John writes a letter to the Fan Club, revealing the four of them are in London with David Richards discussing vocals and guitars on a new song called 'Don't Try So Hard'.
      • Thursday 22nd: Work commences on 'The Show Must Go On'.
    • May - June: Queen take a break from recording. Fan Club magazine:
      • Brian's letter mentions four tracks have been mixed by then and are apparently finished. He also reveals Frederick to have a new kitty.
      • The Information Section comments on Brian working on a soundtrack for Macbeth and having spent three weeks with David Richards and Michael Moran tracking some material for his solo album.
    • September:
      • Tuesday 18th: Roger writes a letter to the Fan Club, announcing the album's to be titled Innuendo and confirming some song titles: 'Innuendo', 'I'm Going Slightly Mad', 'Headlong' and 'Ride the Wild Wind'. He also confirms having a brand new maple Ludwig drum kit, which he's using on the album, and comments on John missing some of the sessions at the moment as he's in Biarritz on holiday.
      • Tuesday 25th: Title track mastered at Metropolis in Chiswick (London).
    • November:
      • Frederick writes to the Fan Club for the last time, and confirms the album's just been finished.
      • Thursday 29th: Album mastered at Metropolis in Chiswick (London).
  • 1991:
    • January:
      • Monday 14th: The lead single is released internationally. In Parlophone territories, it's 'Innuendo' / 'Bijou', while in Hollywood Records, it's 'Headlong' / 'All God's People'.
      • Saturday 26th: The Chart Information Network reveals 'Innuendo' to have been the best-selling single of the week in Britain, replacing 'Sadeness (Part I)' by Enigma. It'd be knocked out a week later by '3 a.m. Eternal' by The KLF ft. Children of the Revolution.
    • February:
      • Friday 1st: Three days before having been officially released, the album's got enough pre-orders to be certified Silver and Gold in Britain, having already sold 60,000 and 100,000 copies, respectively.
      • Monday 4th: Album released in the UK.
      • Saturday 16th: The Official Charts Company reveals Innuendo to have been the best-selling album of the week in the UK, replacing Doubt by Wiltshire band Jesus Jones. It'd remain there a second week before being knocked out by American musician Oleta Adams and her album Circle of One.
    • March:
      • Friday 1st: The album is certified Platinum in the UK for having sold 300,000 copies. 'Innuendo', the lead single, is certified Silver in the same territory for having sold 200,000 copies.
    • April:
      • Wednesday 3rd: The album is certified Gold in America for having earned a million dollars worth of sales in that country.

Documented Recording Venues

  • Metropolis Studios on 70 Chiswick High Road, Chiswick, Hounslow, Greater London W4 1SY, England.
  • Mountain Studios in the Casino Barrière on 9 Theatre Road, Montreux, Vaud 1820, Swiss Confederation.
  • Olympic Sound Studios on 117 Church Road, Barnes, Richmond-upon-Thames, Greater London SW13, England.
  • The Town House on 150 Goldhawk Road, Shepherd's Bush, Royal Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham, Greater London W12 8EN, England.

Documented Personnel

  • Performers:
    • The band:
      • John Deacon: Electric bass, digital synthesisers, MIDI programming.
      • Brian May: Backing vocals, electric guitars, digital synthesisers, acoustic piano, MIDI programming.
      • Frederick Mercury: Lead and backing vocals, acoustic piano, digital synthesisers, MIDI programming.
      • Roger Taylor: Lead and backing vocals, acoustic drums, digital synthesisers, MIDI programming.
    • Guest musicians:
      • Stephen Howe: Electric guitar.
      • Michael Moran: Acoustic piano, digital synthesisers, drum computer, MIDI programming.
      • David Richards: Digital synthesisers, MIDI programming.
  • Studio & Technical Crew:
    • Deputy Producer & Chief Engineer:
      • David Richards.
    • Assistant Engineers:
      • John Brough: Town House.
      • Mark Christopher: Metropolis (ambience coordinator).
      • Andre Gauchat: Mountain.
      • Noel Harris: Metropolis.
      • Justin Smith: Mountain.
      • Ian Sylvester: Metropolis.
    • Equipment Supervisors:
      • Martin Groves.
      • Brian Zellis.
  • Sundry:
    • Peter Chant: Accountant.
    • Terrence Giddings: Personal assistant (Frederick).
    • Karen Goodman: Studio manager (Metropolis).
    • Melanie Martin: Personal assistant (Brian - in America).
    • Sally Temple: Personal assistant (Roger).

Documented Instruments

  • Acoustic Pianos:
    • Bösendorfer (Unknown Model): Town House.
    • Steinway B 6' 10": Mountain.
    • Steinway (Unknown Model): Olympic and Town House.
  • Electric Basses:
    • Fender Precisions:
      • 1955 Masterbuilt: Possibly a spare, but perhaps used somewhere.
      • 196?: John had two (black and natural), which may have been his main ones.
      • 1981 Special: Possibly a spare, but perhaps used somewhere.
      • 1983 Elite: Possibly used alongside the main ones.
    • Non-Fenders:
      • Giffin Bespoke: Possibly a spare, but perhaps used somewhere.
      • Kramer DMZ: Most likely merely a spare, but could've also been used somewhere.
      • Music Man Stingray: Possibly a spare, but perhaps used somewhere.
      • Warwick Buzzard: Possibly a spare, but perhaps used somewhere.
  • Electric Guitars:
    • BHM Bespoke: Brian's main.
    • Gibson Chet Atkins CE: 'Innuendo' (alongside the BHM, of course).
    • Guild Bespoke: Brian's spare.
  • Percussion:
    • Ludwig Bespoke Acoustic Drums: Roger's main kits (he had several of them).
    • Ludwig Ringer Acoustic Timpani: Possibly used on 'All God's People' and the title track.
  • Synthesisers:
    • E-mu Emulator II+: Possibly used on 'All God's People'.
    • Korg M1: Main synth on the album, used virtually everywhere except for 'All God's People'.
    • Oberheim OB-X: Reportedly used on 'The Show Must Go On' alongside the Korg M1.
    • Roland D-50: Possibly used on 'All God's People'.
    • Sequential Circuits Prophet 5: Possibly used on 'All God's People'.

Documented Studio Equipment

  • Tape Recorders:
    • Sony 3324 24-Track Digital: Mountain.
    • Studer A-80 24-Track Analogue: Town House, Mountain.
  • Mixing Consoles:
    • Neve 8048: Mountain. There was also a Neve at Metropolis (alongside the SSL), which may or may not have been the same model.
    • SSL 4000-G: Town House, Olympic and Metropolis.
  • Microphones:
    • Electrovoice RE-20: Bass-drum at Mountain.
    • Schoeps CK-1: Possibly used for at least some backing vocals.
    • Shure SM-58: Guitars, and also vocals, especially when Frederick was too ill to go into the record booth.
  • Computers:
    • Apple Mac II.
    • Atari 1040-ST.
    • Linn 9000: Drum programming.
  • Software:
    • C-Lab Notator.
    • Passport Master-Track Pro.
  • Compressors/Limiters:
    • dbx 266-XL.
    • Fairchild Valve.
    • Neve.
    • UREI LA-2A.
  • Delay Machines:
    • AMS Digital: Used on drums and guitars.
    • Eventide DDL-1745: Town House.
    • Lexicon 224-XL: Town House.
    • Publison: Favoured by David Richards.
    • MXR M-175: Town House.
  • Sundry Equipment:
    • EMT 140 Plate Reverb.
    • Friendchip SRC-AT Synchroniser.
    • MDB Window Recorder Digital Sampler.

Myths, Legends & Ongoing Debates

  • Authorship: Same as with The Miracle, songs on this album were credited to all four band members (except for 'All God's People' which was credited to Queen/Moran), eliciting heated debates over the years. In a nutshell:
    • It's more or less a universal consensus that Brian wrote 'Headlong' and 'I Can't Live with You' for his solo album and then he gave them to the band. Very few would argue those two. Likewise, it's been more or less accepted that Roger wrote 'Ride the Wild Wind' (confirmed by Brian in a 1991 interview as well), Frederick wrote 'Delilah' for his cat and 'All God's People' was a Mercury/Moran collaboration.
    • Back in 1991, loads of people mistakenly believed Frederick to have been the main author of 'The Show Must Go On' and 'These Are the Days of Our Lives' because of the lyrics and his terminal disease, but over the years different live witnesses have repeatedly cleared up that Brian and Roger, respectively, were the main authors.
    • 'I'm Going Slightly Mad' has been widely accepted as musically Frederick's, though the lyrics are more disputed. Apparently, loads of people took turns at coming up with memorable one-liners, including the rest of the band, Frederick's entourage and Peter Straker. How much any of that would/could/should count as co-authorship is open to debate.
    • 'The Hitman' is largely disputed to this day. Brian explained (Rip, 1991) that most of the riff had come from Frederick, and than then he (Brian) took it over and changed the arrangement to make it playable on guitar, and then John Deacon re-arranged the track and made changes.
    • 'Innuendo' started off as a jam session, and it's been more or less accepted that Frederick started off the lyrics but then Roger completed them. It's the music that is most argued about: some people mistakenly credit it to Roger (he wrote most of the lyrics, but not the music) and some people mistakenly credit it all to Frederick (he was heavily involved, but it was collaborative). What Frederick certainly wrote on his own was the waltz bit in the middle ('you can be anything you want to be...'). The flamenco interlude seems to have been started off by Brian (the entire 'through the sorrow...' part) and then further developed by Brian and Frederick.
    • 'Bijou' is another long-winded debate: most people assume it's Brian's because it's got a lot of guitar (newsflash: non-guitarists can also arrange guitar parts, just like Brian didn't play clarinet but could and did arrange clarinet melodies more than once). Brian's confirmed it was a collaboration between him and Frederick, further admitting the latter had had a lot to do with the guitar parts (even having sung the initial line which started them off) and he (Brian) having had a lot to do with the vocal lines. The string part was Frederick's, according to David Richards (Queen File, 2001).
    • 'Don't Try So Hard' is the saddest case of all in terms of the misuse of a proper research in the beginning: since the remaining 11 tracks seemed to have had little to no Deacon involvement at all, people in the nineties decided to 'give' this one to John because, apparently, he had to have penned at least one track per album. Granted, he'd written songs on every record from Sheer Heart Attack to The Miracle (and it was, in fact, averagely one per album), but that doesn't mean at all that it was impossible for him not to have been the (main) author of anything on Innuendo. As a matter of fact, both Brian and David Richards cleared up (2006 and 2001, respectively) that Frederick was the main (though not sole) author here.
  • 'All God's People' for BarcelonaBecause of the joint Queen/Moran credit, many people mistakenly believe 'All God's People' to have been a Barcelona reject turned into a Queen song. Not so: as confirmed by Michael Moran himself, it was written for a solo album (i.e. not a duet) Frederick was working on in 1987 and which got aborted because Montserrat Caballé got in touch with them and proposed the collaboration. In other words, 'All God's People' was made before the Barcelona project, but not for it.
  • Stephen Howe on 'Innuendo': It's widely known that Yes/Asia guitarist Stephen 'Steve' Howe guested on the title track, but what most people tend to mistake is the extent of his input. Stephen played the chromatic runs and the (exceptional) flourishes on the flamenco section, but most of the solo was still Brian (both the 'acoustic' and the 'electric' bits).
  • 'The Hitman' for Back to the Light: Because Brian wrote 'Headlong' and 'I Can't Live with You' for his solo album and because he's one of the main authors of 'The Hitman' (see above), some people - including some otherwise excellent websites - mistakenly claim 'The Hitman' was initially penned for Brian's album as well. The fact there's a demo of Brian singing the first verse is further used as 'evidence'. As far as it's been documented, 'The Hitman' was, from beginning to end, written for the Queen record, and the reason Brian sang it on the demo was that Frederick was ill and the record label wanted to hear some rough versions, so the other chief co-author took over, that was all.