QUEEN "THE INVISIBLE MAN"
Reviewed By Mark Nobes
Released on 7th August 1989 as the third single from the band's thirteenth studio album "The Miracle" (an album I still have on cassette!), "The Invisible Man" is memorable for being the only Queen song in which Freddie Mercury shouts out the band members names. Ah, but who shouts out Freddie's name I hear you cry? It was drummer Roger Taylor.
Talking of which, he actually penned the song, with the idea coming from the book by H. G. Wells which he was reading at the time, apparently. However, the single is credited to the band on the sleeve. The song was produced by David Richards who also produced "The Miracle" album.
Although "The Invisible Man" is certainly not one of the greatest Queen tracks, it has plenty of memorable moments, with Freddie Mercury rolling his "r" when he introduced "Rrrrrrroger Taylor!" being one of them. The bassline by John Deacon and the break at 2:28 with a quirky Brian May guitar solo are certainly memorable. The song itself is actually pretty simple when you break it down, but the band made it special by adding their trademark over-the-top energy and pomposity.
Did you spot Danniella Westbrook in the video?
Look out for the actress who is playing the boy's sister. This was around a year before she joined british soap Eastenders and she was just 15 years old at the time.
The video is very imaginative and starts with the view of a large house being struck by lightning. This causes a floppy disk (remember them?) containing "The Invisible Man" video game to fly off a book shelf full of other 80s video games (spot the other titles by Ocean and Imagine) and into a computer where the game instantly loads by itself. We then see the band as silhouettes playing the bad guys in the game.
At first, the family is downstairs eating breakfast at the table, unaware of what has happened. However, as the room shakes and the light flickers, a young boy in a baseball cap runs upstairs to his bedroom to investigate. Freddie Mercury is stood in his bedroom wearing cyclops/robot sunglasses, but the boy runs past him and straight to his computer and starts playing the game. The boy attempts to zap the band members. Freddie Mercury makes several appearances in the boy's bedroom as the boy tries to zap him with his joystick, unsuccessfully. Eventually, the rest of the band appear and perform in the bedroom.
The single was very successful in France where it topped the singles chart. It also performed well in Holland (#6) and Ireland (#10). However, elsewhere the song was moderately successful, reaching #15 in New Zealand, #30 in Switzerland and #31 in Germany.
In the UK, the single entered the chart at #26 on 13th August 1989 while Jive Bunny was at No.1 with "Swing The Mood". It climbed to it's peak position of #12 the following week, before falling to #16 for the 27th Aug chart with Jive Bunny still at No.1. The single spent just four weeks inside the Top 40, which was rather disappointing and I think the track deserved at least a top ten placing.