Such a fascinating record.
It’s a dance/funk song by a band that hadn’t shown much interest in those genres previously–but they pulled it off. Granted, they borrowed liberally from the rhythm guitar and bass parts of Chic’s “Good Times” in order to do so (not a dis song, just a real song).
“Bohemian Rhapsody” and “Another One Bites The Dust” live on completely different stylistic planets.
Lyrically, John Deacon (who wrote “Another One Bites The Dust” is on some serious gangsta shit. First verse describes what could be a scene in a Charles Bronson movie. Second verse describes a relationship that didn’t end very well. Both verses end with bullets ripping out of the doorway. Song ends with a percussive noise that could easily be mistaken for a gunshot. Very dramatic!
As the story goes, Michael Jackson suggested that Queen release “Another One Bites The Dust” as a single. I hope Freddie gave MJ some cash or took him out to dinner or something for making the suggestion. “Dust” was Queen’s biggest pop hit in the U.S. (until Freddie passed and “Bohemian Rhapsody” was re-released), spent almost a month at #2 on the R&B chart, and won the American Music Award for Favorite Pop/Rock single in 1981.
I’d have loved to have been a fly on the wall in the early ‘80s, when Mike and Freddie Mercury were boys. What was going on there? They don’t seem to have much in common with one another on the surface. Knowing Freddie’s taste for excess, it certainly leads me to believe that MJ wasn’t the goody-goody everyone thought he was till the early ‘90s. Food for thought…
On another note: my grandparents, aunts and uncles used to have big house parties 2 or 3 times a year. The basement of our house would get outfitted with these huge speakers, the DJ equipment and record crates would come out, someone would set strobe lights up. My grandma would cook enough for 40-50 people and family & friends would dance and socialize until the wee hours. I would hang for the first couple of hours and then be ushered to bed, where I would lie awake from a combination of excitement and the loud-ass music.
Andrew Coleman lived about 10 houses down from us and across the street. He’ll figure into a few more stories later on, but he brought the “Another One Bites The Dust” 45 (B-side: “Don’t Try Suicide”) to one of these parties (must have been spring or summer ‘81). I remember discovering it next to the record player in the front room next to where my grandparents slept. He never got that shit back; when I got my first record player the following Christmas, I played the Bejesus out of that record.
Guilty pleasure story: Wyclef (of course) re-did “Another One Bites The Dust” around ‘99 or so, using the original song plus some Freddie outtake vocals. He added in Pras (of course), Free (future co-host of BET’s “106 + Park”) and The Product G&B to add vocals. Should be a mess; it’s actually a really good remake.