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 #1 on the UK album charts (two weeks) as well as in the Netherlands (four weeks), Germany (six weeks), Switzerland (eight weeks), and Italy (three weeks). It was released in the US 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 having 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 eleven million copies
Queen released their thirteenth studio album, The Miracle, in May 1989, but unlike their previous albums, they did not conduct a live tour. Freddie Mercury conducted an interview with BBC Radio 1, where he said that he wanted to break from the "album – tour – album – tour" routine. During this time, he was diagnosed with AIDS (having been diagnosed as HIV positive in 1987), which was not yet publicised and was only known to the rest of the band; however, rumours were spreading about Mercury's health and of the possibility that he had the disease. While he kept quiet due to his personal rule not to talk to the media, the other band members denied the rumours; at one point, band member Roger Taylor told reporters that "he is healthy and working". In 1990, Queen won the Brit Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Music. While Mercury accepted the award for the band at the Dominion Theatre, Brian May spoke for the band. Mercury's increasingly gaunt appearance at the ceremony sparked further speculation from the public about his health. The 1990 BRIT Awards would be Mercury's final public appearance.
Mercury did not speak publicly about his health, saying that he did not want to sell his music out of the people's sympathy. He was determined to continue working on music with Queen for as long as he could, saying that he would "keep working until I fucking drop". Mercury was persistently bothered by reporters at his London home, making it difficult for the band to record music. As a result, the band relocated to Mountain Studios in Montreux, where the safer and more peaceful atmosphere allowed the band to concentrate. Early in Innuendo's recording, the band decided again that all work would be credited to Queen as a whole instead of to individual contributing members; May said that the decision made a significant impact in the recording process, while Taylor said that it helped eliminate much of the egotistical struggles that would normally cause bands to break up.
The album was released in the US under a new label, Hollywood Records, in an effort to garner greater exposure there..