How Freddie Mercury Missed Out On Being In Michael Jackson’s Thriller Album
Freddie Mercury of the band Queen performs onstage at the Rosemont Horizon, Rosemont, Illinois, September 19, 1980. (Photo by Paul Natkin/Getty Images)
No matter how much a fan of classic rock listens to their preferred performers, there is always something new to learn. The extent to which Freddie Mercury collaborated with Michael Jackson in the 1980s, for instance, may be unknown even to the most devoted Queen fans. Mercury was really scheduled to have a significant role in the making of Jackson’s Thriller magnum opus, but for some reason, it didn’t make the final cut.
Mercury discussed his time spent in the studio with Jackson in one of his interviews. Jackson reportedly used to attend Queen concerts and had dinner with Freddie Mercury to discuss a prospective collaboration after becoming a fan of the band. “I think one of the tracks would have been on the Thriller album if I finished it, but I missed out,” Mercury said.
On a separate interview, Mercury went on to discuss the process of how he “blew” the supposed collaboration between the two greatest singers of all time. “I was initially gonna be on Thriller; can you imagine that? I blew it!” However, he did admit to creating the song to be included in the album, which would turn out to be a song with Mick Jagger in replacement to Mercury’s vocals.
“I went over to his house and did three or four demos to see how they’d work out,” Mercury explained. “‘State of Shock’ I couldn’t complete. So Mick Jagger did it. I actually did the vocals. Timing is everything. At the time when he wanted me to finish it, I just said, ‘I can’t, I really haven’t got time.’ I was working with Queen. I was in Munich. He was in Los Angeles. He said, ‘Is it OK if Mick does it?’ I said, ‘Fine.’”
“State of Shock” originally was included in the Thriller album with Mercury on featured vocals; but instead, Jackson decided to record the song with his group, the Jackson 5 along with Jagger. The song was then released on the Jacksons’ fifteenth studio album, Victory.