Music News

Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson Duets Are Pretty Much What You'd Expect

Considering he's been dead for over two decades, it has been a busy year for Freddie Mercury, the late lead singer of Queen.

Earlier this year, a stunning isolated vocal track of Mercury and David Bowie singing "Under Pressure" leaked onto the internet. Then last week Sacha Baron Cohen abandoned the title role of a long gestating Freddie Mercury bio-pic over the producers attempting to make it a family friendly PG film. And now came news that later this year, three duets sung by Mercury and Michael Jackson will finally be released.

See also

- Queen and Bowie's "Under Pressure" and Five More Isolated Vocal Tracks We'd Love to Hear

Jackson and Mercury recorded the songs in 1983 at Jackson's Encino based home studio during the gap between Thriller and Bad. The duo planned to record an entire album together when irrevocable differences arose. According to the most interesting rumor, recording stopped due to Jackson insisting his pet llama be present in the studio during recording sessions. And according to the least interesting rumor, they split because Mercury was doing too much cocaine.

Whatever the source of the rift the half-finished songs sat in Jackson's vault until he died. Then in 2011 Jackson's estate allowed Queen guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor to work with Madonna's, Blur's, and Pink's producer William Orbit to finish the three tracks titled, "State Of Shock," "Victory," and "There Must Be More to Life Than This."

Demo versions of two of the songs are already available online. "There Must Be More to Life Than This" is as preachy and overemotive as you would imagine from its wordy title. But "State of Shock" which Jackson also released with Mick Jagger in the Mercury role is exactly what you would hope from a Jackson/Mercury combo, a barn-burner of a party song where no falsetto note is too high.

In a few months, we'll see if further fiddling with these thirty-year-old works will give us something worthy to add to the legacies of these fallen musical icons.

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David Rolland is a freelance writer for New Times Broward-Palm Beach and Miami New Times. His novel, The End of the Century, published by Jitney Books, is available at many fine booksellers.
Contact: David Rolland