The time Yes guitarist Steve Howe played on a Queen song: ‘I was so proud’

Queen had its own guitar hero in Brian May. So, of course, did Yes. But then there came a moment when the twain actually met: During sessions for a song that owed no small debt, actually, to Led Zeppelin.

“Innuendo,” the title track Queen’s 1991 album (the last to be released during the late Freddie Mercury’s lifetime) grew out of a jam session between May, Roger Taylor and the now-retired John Deacon. Mercury then added a lyric that paid tribute to Zep’s ever-mysterious “Kashmir.” But “Innuendo” wasn’t complete, it seemed, until Yes’ Steve Howe came in — at about the three minute mark in the embed above — to add a flourish of very distinctive flamenco guitar.

“Brian had his shot with it and had done what he’d wanted to do with it but thought that someone else could race about with it and add some excitement to those structures,” Howe tells Chronicle Live. “They jokingly said I could do a bit of [iconic Spanish flamenco guitarist] Paco De Lucia with it. I could see what they were after so I did some improvising and they loved it. I was so proud to be on that record.”

And for good reason: “Innuendo” debuted atop the UK singles charts in 1991, their first No. 1 single since 1981’s “Under Pressure” and, alas, Queen’s most recent, as well.

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  • Carlos

    Thanks for that post!