This morning, a long-awaited duet featuring Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury of Queen has finally been unveiled to the public. The posthumously-released track, entitled “There Must Be More To Life Than This,” is a collaboration that has been kept under wraps for 33 years. It aired in its entirety for the first time ever on Chris Evans’ BBC Radio 2 Breakfast Show this morning. You can listen to it here.
In 1983, the duo met up at Jackson’s California mansion to record the track. Unfortunately, they ended up setting it aside, along with two other unfinished collaborations, including “Victory” and “State of Shock.” The three songs eventually surfaced in other forms, but never as the duets they were intended to be. “There Must Be More To Life Than This” appeared as a solo version on Mercury’s 1985 album Mr. Bad Guy. A rough demo of the duet version was floating around the web for a while, and an excerpt of it was played briefly in The Great Pretender, a 2012 BBC documentary about Freddie Mercury. But this is the first time it has ever been produced and released in the way they would have wanted it to be heard.
In gearing up for the upcoming Queen album, Queen Forever, which will drop on November 10th, “There Must Be More To Life Than This” was remastered by producer and electronic artist William Orbit for its new release. “When I first played it in my studio, I opened a trove of delights provided by the greatest of musicians,” said Orbit. “Hearing Michael Jackson’s vocals was stirring. So vivid, so cool, and poignant, it was like he was in the studio singing live. With Freddie’s vocal solo on the mixing desk, my appreciation for his gift was taken to an even higher level.” Distinct from Mercury’s solo version, Orbit intensified the powerful duet with strings and guitars.
“There Must Be More To Life Than This” is the first song to be previewed from Queen Forever, which will be available as a 20-track single CD and an 36-track two-CD set. The collection skips standards like “We Will Rock You” and “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and focuses more on the lesser-known songs, such as “Drowse,” “Mother Love,” and “The Miracle.”