Innuendo (6:31)

Cover of Greatest Hits II

From Greatest Hits II and 35 other releases

“Innuendo” was pieced together “like a jigsaw puzzle.” The recurring theme (with the Boléro-esque beat) started off as a jam session between May, Deacon and Taylor. Mercury then added the melody and some of the lyrics, which were then completed by Taylor.

The middle section was primarily Mercury’s work, according to an interview with May in October 1994’s Guitar Magazine. It features a flamenco guitar solo, followed by a classically influenced bridge, and then the solo again but performed with electric guitars. This section is especially complex, featuring a pattern of three bars in 5/4 time (reasonably uncommon in popular music) followed by four bars in the more often used 3/4 time.

The “You can be anything you want to be” section features a very sophisticated orchestration, created by Mercury and producer David Richards using the popular Korg M1 keyboard/synth/workstation. Mercury had arranged and co-arranged orchestras in his solo career, and closed the previous Queen album with “Was It All Worth It”, which included a Gershwin-esque interlude also coming from an M1 synth. The bridge section in “Innuendo” is in 3/4, showing once again Mercury’s affection for trinary metres: “Bicycle Race” is another one with main sections in 4/4 and middle-eight in 3/4, and some of his best-known pieces (namely “We Are the Champions” and “Somebody to Love”) were in 6/8, as would be his last ever composition, “A Winter’s Tale”.

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