I'm Going Slightly Mad

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"I'm Going Slightly Mad"
Artwork for UK release
Single by Queen
from the album Innuendo
  • "The Hitman"
  • "Lost Opportunity"[2]
Released4 March 1991 (1991-03-04)[1]
Songwriter(s)Queen (Freddie Mercury and Peter Straker)
Queen singles chronology
"I'm Going Slightly Mad"
Music video
"I'm Going Slightly Mad" on YouTube

"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 song was released as a single on 4 March 1991, a month after the release of the album. The lyrics and the accompanying music video project the song as humorous and lighthearted,[4] despite the lyrics dealing with the mental decline Mercury was experiencing as one of the effects of advancing AIDS.

The single cover was inspired by a Grandville illustration (as are the others from the album).


"I'm Going Slightly Mad" had been mentioned by John Deacon in a letter printed in the Queen Fan Club magazine of Spring 1990.[5] Deacon revealed that work was being done on the song, calling it the "whacky single". Mercury composed the song; he had the song's title in mind before anything else. 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.[6]

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.[6]

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.[5][7]


The accompanying video was directed by Rudi Dolezal and Hannes Rossacher of DoRo Productions. Like all other Innuendo videos, it was filmed in February 1991 at Limehouse Studios. Costumes were created by Diana Moseley.[8][9] 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[10]), 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, 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 makeup 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, 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.[11]

Track listings[edit]

7-inch single[12]

A. "I'm Going Slightly Mad" – 4:22
B. "The Hitman" – 4:56

12-inch and CD single[13]

  1. "I'm Going Slightly Mad" – 4:22
  2. "The Hitman" – 4:56
  3. "Lost Opportunity" – 3:51



Chart (1991) Peak
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[14] 39
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)[15] 51
Germany (Official German Charts)[16] 42
Ireland (IRMA)[17] 19
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[18] 13
Netherlands (Single Top 100)[19] 20
UK Singles (OCC)[20] 22


  1. ^ "New Releases: Singles". Music Week. 2 March 1991. p. vi.
  2. ^ "Queen UK Singles Discography 1984-1991". www.ultimatequeen.co.uk.
  3. ^ Popoff, Martin (27 November 2018). Queen: Album by Album. Voyageur Press. p. 190. ISBN 9780760362839. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
  4. ^ ""Innuendo" review". Los Angeles Times. 15 February 1991.
  5. ^ a b Lemieux, Patrick; Unger, Adam (2013). The Queen Chronology: The Recording & Release History of the Band. Across The Board Books. p. 79. ISBN 978-0-9919840-4-6.
  6. ^ a b Hutton, Jim; Wapshott, Tim (1994). Mercury and Me. Bloomsbury Pub Ltd. p. 156. ISBN 978-0747519225.
  7. ^ "Queen Demos of Released Tracks A-I Lyrics". Ultimate Queen. 29 April 2017. Retrieved 3 June 2017.
  8. ^ "Freestone: "Freddie Mercury starb in meinen Armen" | krone.tv Ohne Maulkorb, mit Dolezal". YouTube.
  9. ^ "Freddie Mercury Memorial Day Montreux 2011 with Diana Moseley and Peter Freestone". YouTube.
  10. ^ "Brians Soapbox October 2009". Brianmay.com. Archived from the original on 22 July 2012. Retrieved 11 January 2012.
  11. ^ "The Queen Phenomenon". The Queen Phenomenon. 1995.
  12. ^ "Queen "Innuendo" album and song lyrics". www.ultimatequeen.co.uk. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  13. ^ "Queen "Innuendo" album and song lyrics". www.ultimatequeen.co.uk. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  14. ^ "Queen – I'm Going Slightly Mad" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 3 August 2022.
  15. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles". Music & Media. Vol. 8, no. 14. 6 April 1991. p. 37.
  16. ^ "Queen – I'm Going Slightly Mad" (in German). GfK Entertainment charts. Retrieved 3 August 2022.
  17. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – I'm Going Slightly Mad". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 3 August 2022.
  18. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Queen" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 21 August 2020.
  19. ^ "Queen – I'm Going Slightly Mad" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 3 August 2022.
  20. ^ "Queen: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 3 August 2022.

External links[edit]