Released in February 1991, Innuendo would be the last album of new original material released by Queen, and the last to be released before Freddie Mercury sadly passed away. Tucked away in the latter half of that album, in a position I can tell you without thinking was Track 10, sits a song so enormous, so scintillating, and so f’n heavy that it would quite literally change everything for me.
That track is called The Hitman, and though it may not be one of Queen’s better known songs, it remains one of my all-time favourite Queen tracks, and the one song by the band -arguably by any band- that would have the biggest impact on me and the music I would seek out, listen to, and love over the course of my life.
Whilst Headlong had already introduced me to the joys of a beastly Brian May riff earlier in the album, it wasn’t until The Hitman, with its frantic intro, colossal riff and Mercury’s valiant vocals, that I understood -more than understood, felt, what a seriously good rock track could do to a person.
To this day, I still claim that The Hitman was the first heavy metal song I ever heard. It introduced me to more than a sound, it introduced me to an experience, a feeling. It was a feeling of adrenaline, of riotous joy, a perfect storm of excitement and power. I would spend the next few years seeking out that same feeling, and wouldn’t truly find it again until I discovered the mighty Metallica.
The Hitman by Queen is the third song in my list of 52 songs that changed my life. Other entries in this list are below: