I'm Going Slightly Mad
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|"I'm Going Slightly Mad"|
|Single by Queen|
|from the album Innuendo|
|Released||4 March 1991|
Hollywood (North America)
|Producer(s)||Queen and David Richards|
|Queen singles chronology|
"I'm Going Slightly Mad" is a song by the British rock band Queen. Written by Freddie Mercury but credited to Queen, with uncredited lyrical contributions by Peter Straker, it was released as the second single from the band's 1991 album Innuendo. The lyrics and the accompanying music video project the song as humorous and light-hearted, despite the lyrics dealing with the mental decline Mercury was experiencing as one of the effects of advancing AIDS. The song also features a slide guitar solo performed by Brian May. John Deacon's bass is tuned down to a low B.
"I'm Going Slightly Mad" had been mentioned by John Deacon in a letter printed in the Queen Fan Club magazine of Spring 1990. Describing it as the "whacky single", Deacon revealed the work on the song was in progress. The song was written by Mercury, who initially had the song's title in his mind. During an evening with his friend Peter Straker, Mercury explained his idea for the song, which he wanted to feature lyrics of tongue-in-cheek one liners inspired by Noël Coward. The pair then spent the night coming up with such lines.
In his 1994 book Mercury and Me, Mercury's partner Jim Hutton recalled:
"Freddie set about with Peter trying to come up with a succession of goofy lyrics, each funnier than the last. He screamed when they came up with things like 'I'm knitting with only one needle' and 'I'm driving on only three wheels these days'. But the master-stroke was: 'I think I'm a banana tree'. Once that came out there was no stopping Freddie and Straker – they were then in full flow. I went to bed to fall asleep listening to their laughter wafting upstairs."
During 1991, Mercury recorded a short, "Totally Bonkers" version of the song as a message for Queen's 1991 fan club convention. The version, less than a minute in length, features different instrumentation, lyrics and vocal than that used in the main, full Queen recording of the song.
The accompanying video – like all other Innuendo videos directed by Rudi Dolezal and Hannes Rossacher of DoRo Productions — was filmed in February 1991 at Limehouse Studios and it features the band dressed and acting in an absurd and surreal manner, including guitarist Brian May dressed as a penguin (a reprise of his outfit featured in the booklet of the first Queen album), drummer Roger Taylor wearing a tea kettle on his head and riding a tricycle while Mercury sneaks up on him and is chasing him, a man in a gorilla suit (rumored to be Elton John), bassist John Deacon as a jester, and Mercury wearing a bunch of bananas as a wig, which corresponds with the line "I think I'm a banana tree."
"I'm Going Slightly Mad" is the last Queen video to feature significant creative input from Mercury. He was already considerably ill at the time due to AIDS, which would claim his life less than a year later. Despite this, the viewer sees Mercury as very mobile and expressive in the scenes of the video. He even actively co-directed some of the video's storyboards. Mercury wore thick make-up to cover up the blotches on his face, and an extra layer of clothing underneath to conceal his weight loss. He also wore a wig, which covered his receding hairline, and a suit, both in the goth-inspired style popular at the time.
In contrast, in the video for "These Are the Days of Our Lives", the last music video which Mercury ever filmed (in May 1991), he hardly moved around at all, as his condition had deteriorated further. However, both of these videos were shot in black and white.
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- Freddie Mercury – lead, and backing vocals, keyboards, piano, sampler
- Brian May – electric guitar, slide guitar
- Roger Taylor – drums, maracas, bar chimes
- John Deacon – bass guitar
|Belgian Singles Chart (V)||39|
|Dutch Singles Chart||20|
|German Singles Chart||42|
|Irish Singles Chart||19|
|UK Singles Chart||22|
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- Hutton, Jim; Wapshott, Tim (1994). Mercury and Me. Bloomsbury Pub Ltd. p. 156. ISBN 978-0747519225.
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