“I’ll top the bill. I’ll overkill. I have to find the will to carry on. On with the show. Show must go on. Show must go on.”
These are the lyrics at the end of “The Show Must Go On,” the final song on Innuendo, the 14th studio album of the British band Queen. Innuendo, released on February 5, 1991, would be the last full album featuring the talented lead singer, Freddie Mercury. Nine months after the release of Innuendo, Mercury died at the age of 45 from AIDS-related complications. While Mercury was diagnosed as HIV-positive in 1987, it wasn’t until the day before he died that Mercury released a statement about his HIV status.
“Innuendo,” the album’s title track has been considered to be the spiritual sequel to Queen’s 1975 hit, “Bohemian Rhapsody.” When Chris Daughtry performed “Innuendo” during Queen Week on American Idol season 5 in 2006, the singer revealed he had been told Queen never performed the song live. Daughtry received the stamp of approval from Brian May and Roger Taylor.
The music video for “These Are the Days of Our Lives” would end up being the last music video Mercury appeared in. Brian May, the guitarist for Queen, explained about the final scenes Mercury shot for the video:
“At this time, Freddie’s becoming weakened by this horrible disease, but he’d throw a couple of vodkas down and prop himself up on the mixing desk and go for it.”
Brian May revealed in recording Innuendo’s final track, “The Show Must Go On,” that even though Mercury’s health was in sharp decline, the singer belted out the song in a majestic, operatic voice.
Elton John performed “The Show Must Go On” for the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992 and has also been performed by Celine Dion for her Vegas show since 2015.
The song was also used in the 2001 film, Moulin Rouge!, with Jim Broadbent and Nicole Kidman singing.