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Queen's “Another One Bites The Dust” Surprising Journey To #1

Music | December 13, 2021

One of the many iconic hits form Queen. discogs

“Another One Bites The Dust” by Queen introduced the iconic band to Americans in a major way. Billboard’s longest-running #1 top 10 hit of 1980 surprised the States so much, they assumed the lead singer was black. Drummer Roger Taylor joked that fans’ shouting, "You guys are bad!" actually confused them enough to ask back, "Does that mean good or what?"

The head bobbing disco hit was conceived by bassist John Deacon. He drew his inspiration after spending time with the band, Chic, and listening to their hit “Good Times.” It also crossed paths with Michael Jackson, Weird Al Yankovic, and a popular commercial. Here’s everything about “Another One Bites The Dust.”

"Another One Bites The Dust" was one of two major hits written by Deacon. rockcelebrities

John Deacon’s Baby

All the members of Queen wrote songs and each counted at least one hit to their names. Deacon who also wrote, "You're My Best Friend" learned a lot from Chic. “I’d always wanted to do something a little bit more…that was more disco, which was very uncool at the time,” said the bassist. While Chic bassist Bernard Edwards didn’t mind Deacon picking up a few things, the media response to “Another One Bites The Dust” did rankle him:

"Well, that Queen record came about because that bass player spent some time hanging out with us at our studio. But that's OK. What isn't OK is that the press started saying that we had ripped them off! Can you believe that? 'Good Times' came out more than a year before, but it was inconceivable to these people that black musicians could possibly be innovative like that. It was just these disco guys ripping off this rock 'n' roll song."

And to think the band wasn't sure if it was worthy of a single. giphy

To Single Or Not To Single

All the members of Queen liked the song but they also felt it didn’t deserve to be a single. The first to suggest it be a single was Brian May’s roadie, which the band immediately shot down. However, they reconsidered once Michael Jackson and his brothers suggested the same thing.

As Freddie Mercury remembers, "He was a fan and friend of ours and kept telling me, 'Freddie, you need a song the cats can dance to. I knew we had a hit as he bobbed his head up and down. 'That's it, that's the gravy. Release it and it will top the charts,' he said. So we did and it did."

According to Brian May, Mercury put his soul into the recording. “Freddie got deeply into it. Freddie sang it until he bled, ‘cos he was so committed to making it sound the way John wanted it, which was like hardcore…I don’t know what you would call it…but more towards black music than white music.”

Mercury sure knew how to have a good time. youtube

Commercial Appeal

Michael Jackson and Brian May’s roadie weren’t the only ones to know a banger when they heard one. Sylvester Stallone wanted to use it for a training montage in Rocky 3. When the real-life Rocky failed to land the song, he contracted Survivor to write “Eye Of The Tiger.”

Weird Al Yankovic also saw an opportunity and made one of his early splashes with a parody of “Another One Bites The Dust” penning “Another One Rides The Bus.” Back when commercials were worth watching, AIWA sound systems displayed a man rocking out to the song. In the end, it was revealed he was driving a hearse.

Thanks in part to Michael Jackson the song became a hit single. theguardian

The Prince Of Pop & Freddie Mercury

“Another One Bites The Dust” wasn’t the only song Mercury and Michael Jackson collaborated on. Apparently, the two were good friends and repeatedly tried to work together. Unfortunately, as Mercury said, “We never seemed to be in the same country long enough to actually finish anything completely.”

Perhaps Jackson’s insistent desire to bring a llama into the studio also complicated things. No word if Jackson attended Mercury's infamous album launch party that included “snake charmers, 50 dead trees, and strippers with an unusual method of smoking.”

Tags: Freddie Mercury | John Deacon | Queen

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Kellar Ellsworth

Writer

Kellar Ellsworth was born and raised in Hawaii. He is an avid traveler, surfer and lover of NBA basketball. He wishes he could have grown up in the free love era!