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Innuendo is the fourteenth studio album by British rock band Queen. Released in February 1991, it was the final studio album to be released in Freddie Mercury’s lifetime and is the last to be composed entirely of new material. It reached No. 1 on the United Kingdom album charts (two weeks) as well as in the Netherlands (four weeks), Germany (six weeks), Switzerland (eight weeks) and Italy (three weeks). The album was released in the United States one day after its UK release. It would be the first Queen album to go gold in the US upon its release since The Works in 1984.
The album was recorded from early 1989 to late 1990. In the spring of 1987, Mercury was diagnosed as being HIV positive and by 1990 this had developed into AIDS, although he was keeping his illness a secret and denied countless media reports that he was seriously ill. The band and producers were aiming for a November or December release date in order to catch the crucial Christmas market, but Mercury’s declining health meant that the release of the album did not take place until February 1991. Stylistically, Innuendo is in some sense a return to Queen’s roots, with its harder rock sound, complex musical composition (title track), psychedelic effects (“I’m Going Slightly Mad”), and strong vocals from Mercury ranging over four octaves. Mercury died ten months after its release. Current estimates at the worldwide sales of the album stand at around 11 million copies.
The album cover was designed by Queen and Malcolm Gray. The booklets and single covers from the album are by Grandville (a French caricaturist born in 1803), or are inspired by his illustrations. Innuendo was voted the 94th greatest album of all time in a national 2006 BBC poll.