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Back in 1983, the King of Pop and one of the most legendary rock and roll frontmen, Freddie Mercury, recorded three songs together in Michael Jackson’s home studio. Unfortunately, the two had a falling out and the tracks have been unreleased since then.
In Mercury: An Intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury, Mercury is quoted saying, “They were great songs, but the problem was time – as we were both very busy at that period.”
What actually happened was Jackson brought a llama to the recording sessions which pushed Mercury over the edge. Jim ‘Miami’ Beach, Queen’s manager, recalls a conversation with the singer over the phone where he stated, “You’ve got to get me out of here; I’m recording with a llama. I’ve had enough and I want to get out.”
Only recently has the Jackson estate granted Queen guitarist Brian May access to the tapes. May has been working with bandmate Roger Taylor and producer William Orbit to make the tracks ready for release by layering additional vocal harmonies and guitar lines. He also mentioned on his blog that fans should expect to hear something “in a couple of months’ time, hopefully.”
The songs, “There Must Be More to Life Than This,” “State of Shock,” and “Victory” (the title track for Jackson’s album in 1984) were recorded, but weren’t cleared for release until two years ago.
May says working on the songs is “exciting, challenging, emotionally taxing. But cool.”