How Michael Jackson's Advice Put Queen On Top Of The World In 1980
By Andrew Magnotta @AndrewMagnotta
July 27, 2021
At the close of the 1970s, it was hard to believe that Queen was about to get even more successful.
Queen had turned itself into one of the biggest names in rock. But it was a "disco" song, that pushed the band to new heights, as recalled in the latest episode of the Queen The Greatest YouTube series.
By 1980, disco was dead and rock was back. But that didn't stop bassist John Deacon's song, "Another One Bites the Dust," from becoming a massive hit and Queen's biggest-selling single of all-time.
"I'd always wanted to do something a little bit more, that was more disco, which was very uncool at the time," Deacon said in one interview.
But Deacon's idea was met with resistance from his collaborators, who worried it was a step in the wrong direction. Producer Reinhold Mack warned that "funk wasn't really in the vocabulary" for anyone involved with the song. And drummer Roger Taylor was a reluctant participant.
But Deacon felt strongly about the idea, and Freddie Mercury was eager to take on a new challenge (i.e. "Somebody to Love," "Bohemian Rhapsody" or "Crazy Little Thing Called Love"). Freddie threw himself into production of the song, determined to bring Deacon's vision to life with an authentic performance.
"Freddie got deeply into it," recalled guitarist Brian May. "Freddie sang it until he bled, ‘cos he was so committed to making it sound the way John wanted it..."
Still, Queen had misgivings about releasing "Another One Bites the Dust" as a single. That began to change after Michael Jackson came to see the band play at the Forum in July of that year. Jackson was an enormous fan of the band and was certain "Another One Bites the Dust" would be a hit.
In August of 1980, Queen released "Another One Bites the Dust" as a single, and it turns out that the King of Pop knew what he was talking about. The song hit No. 1 and remained on the Hot 100 for 31 weeks, earning the band a Grammy nomination.
“We kind of became the biggest group in the world, at that moment," May added. "You know it’s a fleeting moment because someone else will come and take over, but for that moment, we kind of owned the world.”
Watch the full episode via the player above!