Baker's Dozen

Artists discuss the 13 records that shaped their lives

2. QueenInnuendo

Queen were my first ever musical obsession. I didn’t really know much about them until Freddie Mercury died and then obviously it was in the news a lot, and that would have been when I was nine-years-old. And Queen would definitely have been played in my house, but I don’t think I knew who it was. When I was growing up, my dad wasn’t around, so I tend to latch onto these male role models as my heroes, and all them kept bloomin’ dying. Roald Dahl was my first big hero, and Ayrton Senna. And I only really realised this recently even though I’ve been thinking about Queen intentionally and against my will for 25 years now, but Freddie’s absence was there from the start of my relationship with Queen, so immediately their entire back catalogue became something that was never going to be added to. I could have picked so many, I’ve said to Elis that I wouldn’t take Queen on Desert Island Discs because I know all their songs and I could just play them in my mind. But the reason I picked Innuendo is that with the tragic story of how of Freddie’s final years, the more I read about it, and I’ve pretty much read everything now, that’s part of them for me and always has been. So you kind of fall in love with something that you’ve already lost.

So, with the last three albums, The Miracle which was written knowing they were on borrowed time, and Made In Heaven, the last album, was written and pieced together after that time had elapsed. But Innuendo, I think, is the one that’s written about borrowed time. It came out in 1991. So in retrospect, it is so incredibly moving. Like a lot of Queen’s later albums, if I may be so bold, filler does play a small element. I will concede that, and that alone. But I sort of forgive that. I could probably do without the song ‘Hit Man’, for example. But it’s so sad and yet also triumphant. All of the songs are so tainted with sadness, and the more you read about how he was in the studio, and what was going on for them all, it’s just it’s it’s heartbreaking. But I think I would take Innuendo because it reminds me of where I started with Queen, which was that final year. And everything else was sort of retrospectively going back and finding out all this stuff and all these great albums. So Innuendo will always mean a great deal to me. I also think objectively, all of the biography taken aside, it’s just whopping hit after hit. Belters.

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