I'm Going Slightly Mad

Album: Innuendo (1991)
Charted: 22
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Songfacts®:

  • Queen frontman Freddie Mercury wrote this song in which he describes a descent into madness. It has a lighthearted feel, as if turning daffy might not be such a bad thing.

    When he recorded it, Mercury had his wits about him, but he was nearing the end of his life, suffering from AIDS. He was in ill-health when he worked on the Innuendo album, but determined to keep making music. The album was released in February 1991; Mercury died that November and didn't announce his sickness until the day before. News of his death put the song in a different context, as the madness he sang about was likely related to his impending death.
  • Freddie Mercury wrote this in London with some help from his friend, the actor Peter Straker, who suggested some of the lyrics. The pair traded lines back and forth, developing the various idioms for insanity ("You're missing that one final screw," "One wave short of a shipwreck," etc.).
  • The song was released as a single in the UK and a video was made to promote it. Shot in black and white and directed by the Austrian team of Rudi Dolezal and Hannes Rossacher, Mercury appears as kind of a deranged Charlie Chaplin, with his Queen bandmates showing up in other absurd guises. It was one of his last on-camera performances.

Comments: 13

  • I'm from A Place Called EarthThis song is haunting because it's about his descent into insanity before he died. Was It All Worth It, Scandal, The Show Must Go On and Those Were the Days Of Our Lives also have kind of the same meaning. Freddie was infected with AIDS in 1987 and was shocked by the decay of his body. Destroyed and wasted, he still went to the recording studio and that worsened his health. He also had a Kaposi sarcoma and a big hole on the sole of his foot that prevented him from walking for the rest of his life. In Slightly Mad, he wore a extra layer of clothing to hide his enormous weight loss the disease had done to him and wore a huge amount of make up. I don't know if this is true, but Slightly Mad and Days Of Our Lives were recorded in black and white because it was meant to give the people a clue that his time was running out. Sad.
  • Bridget from CoY'know, Freddie is acting kind of like a mime in the video. I love it!
  • Maristella from PhilippinesNot really an important song fact but I just need to share this story. In Jim Hutton's memoir (Mercury and Me), he recounts that Freddie Mercury was in a lot of pain during the shooting of their video for the song. However, Freddie never complained about his misery and even showed compassion for the penguins that were brought to the studio for the shoot. He spent some time with them during quiet moments to give them water as they feeling hot under the studio lights. Whether this story is true or not, for an ailing man to do this little gesture shows volumes of Freddie's innate kindness and love for life.
  • Cathy from Boston, MaThe idea for this song stemmed from Freddie's real fear of developing AIDS-related dementia. As usual, Freddie put a humorous twist on it all and made light of the whole thing. The video for this song was the second to last one Queen ever did (the last one being These Are the Days of Our Lives). It was filmed in the early part of 1991, about 9 months before Freddie's death. Freddie never did lose his mind, and remained lucid right up until just a day before he passed when he went into a coma.
  • Dario from Roma, ItalyI guess this songs talks in a ironic way of Freddie's growing loss of lucidity in his last month, when he was forced to take a lot of medicinals in order to ease his pain.
  • Lisey from Queensland, AustraliaThe guy in the monkey suit in the video was actually Elton John. Cool, huh?
  • Wyatt from Anywhere, United StatesLOL Freddie- that linkis to this page, I wonder if songfacts subsitutes typed web address with thier own
  • Sarah from Leesburg, OhI fell in love with this song from the first time that I heard it. And Freddie's charisma in this video is absolutly amazing--definitly one of my favorite Queen videos.
  • Mecc from Alberta, CanadaGirst time i heard it, i didn't know who sang it.. Great low vocals and bass
  • Jonathon from Clermont, FlGreat song, even greater video. The music is just so awesome, too. I like how he ends some of the lines with "Oh, dear."
  • Katie from Somewhere, NjI love this video. Freddie is so theatrical in it. My favorite part is the "I'm driving with only three wheels these days" line, just the way he looks when he says it. Great video. It's amazing that he had enough energy to do it so close to his death.
  • Alicia from Tamaqua, PaI finally saw the whole video! I purchased Queen Jewels. And I agree with you Steph! He was so beautiful in the video... and so Charming I might add! lol... Poor Freddie was strangled by... Roger? lol...... so cute!!! I love him so much! I try to expose younger generations with Freddie's/Queen's music. I'd love for it go on as the years go by.... Its just too beautiful to waste.
  • Freddie from Orlando, FlHmmm.. well, stranger, I'd have to suggest QUEEN JEWLELS or this link if you want to see it crappy: https://www.songfacts.com/facts/queen/im-going-slightly-mad
    but you dont wnat that. You wnat to wait for the real thing.
    Becausee Freddie is beyond speakable gorgeousness in that video. he is SO BEAUTIFUL. and he is... we creates this character that is so uniquely creative and funny.. and odd... and hes as CUTE as a -- I love queen. When I finish this video or song i just smile at how Freddie Freddie was. They have my heart. This whole idea in particulaur.... captivates me... its been the muse for LOTS of art and writing Ive done. One day maybe the world will see.
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