Ross Kemp discusses Searching for Michael Jackson's Zoo
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Michael Jackson was an expert in the music industry – not only as a musician but as a fan, as well. So when he crossed paths with Queen at the height of their fame in 1980, he couldn’t help but offer them some advice on where to go next. Despite the fact the extremely successful band had spent the last few years touring sold-out shows in Europe and Japan, Michael knew they had even more untapped potential and a chance to truly break America.
Michael began working with Queen while they were recording their eighth album, The Game, which was released on June 30, 1980.
The King of Pop listened to their music but felt as if something was missing.
Freddie Mercury later recalled: “Credit for the song should go to Michael Jackson in many ways. He was a fan and friend of ours and kept telling me: ‘Freddie, you need a song the cats can dance to.'”
After a few writing sessions, John Deacon came out with the legendary bass riff that runs through the iconic hit track Another One Bites the Dust.
“Immediately,” Freddie said. “We thought of disco, which was very popular at the time.”
The band finished the song before taking the final product to Jackson to play him the music.
Freddie said: “I knew we had a hit as he bobbed his head up and down and Michael said: ‘That’s it, that’s the gravy. Release it and it will top the charts.'”
He added: “And so we did, and it did.”
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John later revealed the band were not originally planning to release Another One Bites the Dust on its own, but Michael’s enthusiasm changed their mind.
He recalled: “Michael Jackson actually suggested we release it as a single. He was a fan of ours and used to come to our shows.”
Roger Taylor even thought the song would not find any success in the charts. He remembered: “We’d already had one number one from that album, The Game, and then we had another hit. And I remember Michael Jackson saying: ‘You guys are mad if you don’t release Another One Bites the Dust.'”
Roger laughed: “I remember saying: ‘That will never be a hit.’ How wrong can you be?”
Brian May had some fond memories of playing the song live, as well. He said Mercury wanted to make Another One Bites the Dust “something special”.
“Freddie sung until his throat bled on Another One Bites The Dust,” he went on. “He was so into it.”
Michael was not wrong. Queen released Another One Bites the Dust on August 22, 1980, and it became the band’s biggest and best-selling single of all time.
After listening to Michael’s advice, Another One Bites the Dust sold 7 million units worldwide. It also went straight to number one in the USA, becoming the band’s second chart-topper in the country.
After that, the track spent 15 weeks in the Billboard Top Ten. Its tenure made it the longest-running top-ten song of 1980.
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