It’s among the most-desired unheard recordings in pop music history, right up there with Chinese Democracy before there were 17 layers of guitars added to the mix: it’s the duets of Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury. The two singers hooked up at Jackson’s mansion in California in 1983, and over a six-hour session, they laid down three songs together: “There Must Be More to Life Than This,” “State of Shock,” and “Victory.”
If those titles sound familiar, that’s because you’ve heard versions of them before (“There Must Be More To Life Than This” appeared on Mercury’s Mr. Bad Guy solo album, while “State of Shock” is a single from The Jacksons’ Victory, with special guest Mick Jagger), though never the original demos. GOOD NEWS EVERYBODY.
A number of duets recorded by Queen frontman Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson are to be released for the first time later this year.
The Times reports that around three tracks the pair recorded in 1983 will be made available to fans with Queen guitarist Brian May quoted as saying there will be, “something for folks to hear” in two months time. Mercury and Jackson worked together 30 years ago in California but failed to release anything substantial as they could not secure time to record further tracks.
Revealing some tension between Jackson and Mercury, Jim “Miami” Beach, a lawyer who became Queen’s manager, said that the pair fell out when Jackson brought a llama into the studio: “Mercury rang me and said: ‘Miami, dear, can you get over here? You’ve got to get me out of here, I’m recording with a llama.’”
Rumor has it, if you play the songs backward, you can hear Prince’s Camille.