Tue. Sep 26th, 2023

Few musical collaborations were as anticipated as the one between Freddie Mercury, Queen’s explosive lead vocalist, and pop icon Michael Jackson. The duo was supposed to collaborate on a song named ‘State of Shock.’ The partnership, however, did not go as planned, and Mick Jagger of the Rolling Stones eventually took Mercury’s place. The idea for ‘State of Shock’ began with a duet between Mercury and Jackson, which was to be included on Jackson’s immensely successful ‘Thriller’ album. This professional collaboration grew out of Mercury and Jackson’s personal friendship, which had developed over the years, with the latter frequently seen attending Queen’s concerts. Unfortunately, conflicting schedules prevented this partnership from being completed. Mercury was in Munich working on his solo record at the time, while Jackson was working on songs for ‘Victory.’ Given the circumstances, the song was eventually recorded with Mick Jagger rather than Mercury.

Lesley-Ann Jones’ 2011 biography, ‘Mercury: An Intimate Biography Of Freddie Mercury,’ detailed Freddie’s perspective on this development. According to the biography, Mercury felt remorse for passing up the opportunity to appear on the ‘Thriller’ album, which would have resulted in large royalties. He did, however, take a pragmatic approach to the matter. Mercury acknowledged that their rigorous schedules and obligations prevented them from finishing the tracks they had begun working on together. The late rock vocalist was receptive rather than resentful about Jagger’s replacement on the track. He saw the transfer as a necessary result of their respective responsibilities at the time. Freddie Mercury emphasized the significance of his connection with Jackson and the song itself over his own involvement in the tune. Here are Mercury’s thoughts on his collaboration with Mercury and his reaction to Jagger’s replacement:

“He [Michael Jackson] has been a long-time friend of ours.” He used to come to our gigs all the time, which is how our friendship blossomed… Think about it: I could have been on ‘Thriller.’ Consider the royalties I’ve passed up! We had three tracks recorded [‘There Must Be More to Life Than This,’ which later appeared on Mercury’s first solo album; ‘Victory,’ which appeared on the Jackson 5’s 1984 comeback album ‘Victory;’ and ‘State of Shock,’ which became a Jackson duet with Mick Jagger] but they were never completed. They were great songs, but we didn’t have time because we were both very busy at the time [1983]. We never appeared to stay in the same country long enough to finish anything. Michael even called to see if I could finish [‘State of Shock,’ but I couldn’t because I had obligations with Queen. Instead, Mick Jagger took over. It was unfortunate, but a song is a song. What matters is that the friendship be maintained.” While the possibility of a Mercury-Jackson collaboration on ‘State of Shock’ remains an intriguing prospect for music fans, Mercury’s reflections on the situation highlighted the complexities of coordinating such collaborations in the midst of hectic schedules.

Leave a Reply