Three duets that Michael Jackson recorded with Queen singer Freddie Mercury 30 years ago (and previously unheard) will finally see an official release later this year. According to The Times of London, the demos were recorded in 1983 at Jackson's home studio, but a larger project never came to fruition due to the singers' conflicting schedules.
"They were great songs, but the problem was time – as we were both very busy at that period," Mercury said in an excerpt from Mercury: An Intimate Biography of Freddie Mercury.
Michael Jackson had made it clear that he was a fan of Mercury's, and that Mercury had reached out to him about the possibility of working together on Jacksons' next album in 1983.
A studio session was set up and the two recorded three songs, but Queen's manager, Jim "Miami" Beach, recalls that the duo's meeting was a bit tumultuous. "Mercury rang me and said: 'Miami, dear, can you get over here? You've got to get me out of here, I'm recording with a llama,'" said Beach.
The songs,"There Must Be More to Life Than This," "State of Shock" and "Victory" (which provided the title of the Jacksons' 1984 album), were recorded but weren't cleared for release until 2011.
Queen guitarist Brian May confirmed that the tracks will be released this fall, and added that the songs are "exciting, challenging, emotionally taxing. But cool."
May revealed the existence of the three unreleased tracks, which feature vocals from Mercury, in a blog post.
May said in 2011 that he had been given permission by Jackson’s estate to release the late singer’s recordings with Mercury.