This is one of the hardest Queen songs to understand. The opening line reads, "Steve walks warily down the street, his brim pulled way down low. Ain't no sound but the sound of his feet, machine gun ready to go..." Also, the last phrase spoken in the song is not "Shoot Her" or "Shooter," but "Shoot Out."
Though probably not intentional unless someone did an excellent splicing job, the "Another one bites the dust" line quite clearly says "...Decide to smoke marijuana" when played backwards. This is especially clear toward the end of the track when Mercury repeats the line with only the drums playing. (thanks, Brandon - Mauriceville, TX, for above 2)
Queen bass player John Deacon wrote this song. All four members of Queen wrote songs, and each wrote at least one hit. Deacon also wrote "You're My Best Friend."
Deacon was influenced by the Chic song Good Times
. In an interview with the New Musical Express
, Chic bass player Bernard Edwards said: "Well, that Queen record came about because that bass player spent some time hanging out with us at our studio. But that's OK. What isn't OK is that the press started saying that we had ripped them off! Can you believe that? 'Good Times' came out more than a year before, but it was inconceivable to these people that black musicians could possibly be innovative like that. It was just these dumb Disco guys ripping off this Rock 'n' Roll song."
Deacon played most of the instruments on the track: lead and rhythm guitars, bass, reversed piano and additional percussion. Brian May did some guitar effects with harmoniser (in the interlude), and Roger Taylor played the drum loop. Surprisingly, there are no synthesizers.
The drum track and the hand claps were looped. They repeat throughout the song.
While the band and producer Reinhold Mack were mixing the track, Brian May's roadie suggested it to be released as single; the band didn't like the idea but were finally talked into doing it when Michael Jackson, after a concert, suggested the same idea. (thanks, sebas - Tokyo, Japan, for above 2)
John Deacon claimed in a 1980 interview that Roger Taylor opposed the song's drum beat. This is backed up by the comments of several figures in the Days of our Lives documentary, who noted that Taylor hated having tape put on his drums to deaden the sound.
However, the drummer denied this in an interview with Mojo magazine October 2008. He insisted: "I'd already had an ineffectual pop at that kind of music with 'Fun It,' on the Jazz album. I was never against 'Another One Bites The Dust,' but I was against releasing it as a single."
In 1998, this was used in a commercial for AIWA sound systems. In the ad, a guy drives around with this blaring from his car stereo. At the end of the commercial, we realize he is driving a hearse.
Freddie Mercury loved this track. Brian May recalled to Mojo: "Freddie sung until his throat bled on Another One Bites The Dust. He was so into it. He wanted to make that song something special."
During production of the movie Rocky III
, this was used in a key scene where Rocky is training for a fight. Producers could not get permission to use the song, so Sylvester Stallone hired Survivor to write an original song instead, which turned out to be "Eye Of The Tiger
Queen were originally reluctant to release this as a single, but backstage after a Queen gig at the Los Angeles forum, a visiting Michael Jackson convinced them it would be a hit. "Michael and all his brothers were all going, 'That's a fantastic track. You must release it,'" recalled Queen drummer Roger Taylor to Q magazine December 2009.
This meeting lead to several recordings and collaborations between Freddie Mercury and Jackson, all of which remain unreleased.
Weird Al Yankovic got his first chart placing with his parody of this song: "Another One Rides The Bus." It bubbled under on the Hot 100, placing at #104 in 1981. After a few more minor hits, he landed "Eat It
" at #12 in 1984.
This was the single that really broke the band in America, and it garnered a huge following amongst American Disco audiences, with many fans and journalists convinced it was a black man singing lead vocals (these people obviously hadn't heard of Queen before so didn't know what Freddie looked like). The band occasionally were unsure of how to deal with this - Roger Taylor jokes in the Days of our Lives documentary of having fans shouting "you guys are bad!" in the street, and he had to ask "does that mean good or what?"