Queen and Ian Hunter have been friends for a long time. As English glam rock cousins back in the early 70s, Ian’s old band, Mott the Hoople, brought Queen along as their opening act for an American tour in 1974. I get the impression that Queen — Brian, in particular — felt somewhat indebted to Ian/Mott for taking them under their wing and essentially kickstarting the popularity of their live shows.
A few years later, Brian releases his third solo album, Another World, which has a live cover of All the Way To Memphis, a great Hoople rocker from Mott, their 1973 album.
But the definitive collaboration between Queen and Ian Hunter was fully realized on Hunter’s 1976 album, All-American Alien Boy. The track You Nearly Did Me In features, as far as I know, the only guest appearance of a classic multi-tracked vocal by Freddie, Brian, and Roger. In other words, the chorus of this song is unmistakably Queen-sounding . . . just not on a Queen album.
The song itself is well-written and shows Hunter’s range musically and lyrically and miles away from the glam rock era from which Hoople gained traction in the charts. (I don’t think there’s even a guitar in the song.) But the highlight of the song, in my opinion, is the Queen section — when it kicks in, you literally shudder.
I would be curious to know whether Hunter specified that Freddie, Brian, and Roger give the chorus section the Queen treatment, or whether the three band members merely gave Hunter’s unfinished song a listen and proposed that that’s where the song could benefit the most from their involvement? Whatever the case, it works well.