The Inspiration Behind Queen's Another One Bites The Dust

By the late 1970s, disco had exploded as a musical phenomenon. Originally emerging from funk and soul, the new genre was filling the charts, dominating nightclubs, and changing the landscape of pop forever. But it was also divisive — many rock fans famously wore badges and t-shirts that bore "Disco Sucks!" slogans, while the notorious "Disco Demolition Night" in Chicago in the summer of 1979 saw disco-skeptics attempting to detonate a stack of disco records, an event which ultimately turned into a riot.

Many rock fans had reportedly grown even more incensed by the number of rockers — such as Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones — releasing their own disco-infused records in an attempt to keep with the times. And in 1979, more was to follow, with Queen deciding to get in on the act by recording "Another One Bites The Dust," a soul and disco-inspired stomper masterminded by the band's bassist, John Deacon.

John Deacon's Chic fandom

While rock fans may have been skeptical about their favorite bands turning toward disco to ensure their singles hit the charts in the late 1970s and early 1980s, there is no denying that Queen's John Deacon was as seriously fanatical about the biggest music genre of the day as anyone who filled nightclubs across America to dance to it. As Deacon told Bass & Bass Techniques magazine in 1996: "I listened to a lot of soul music when I was in school ... and I've always been interested in that sort of music. I'd been wanting to do a track like 'Another One Bites The Dust' for a while, but originally all I had was the line and the bass riff. Gradually I filled it in and the band added ideas."

While Deacon's love of the early influences of disco apparently went back to his childhood, there was also one contemporary act that had a massive influence on the Queen bassist: Nile Rodgers' Chic. Guitarist Brian May has confirmed that Deacon was a huge fan of Rodgers, while Rodgers himself claims that Deacon was in fact with the band when they recorded 1979's "Good Times," the song that "Another One Bites The Dust" most closely resembles.

However, there is nothing new under the sun, especially in the world of pop music, and as critics have pointed out, Chic's "Good Times" isn't exactly year zero when it comes to disco stompers. In fact, in 2015 Rodgers admitted the Chic hit was itself inspired by Kool & The Gang's "Hollywood Swinging," released in 1974 (via YouTube).

Another legend pushed it as a single

But while the genius of Nile Rodgers was unquestionably the central inspiration for Queen's "Another One Bites The Dust," it was another music legend who pushed the track into the spotlight and ensured that the British band reached new commercial heights in the 1980s: Michael Jackson.

As Deacon told Bass & Bass Techniques, the King of Pop was a Queen obsessive, and would frequently turn up at their shows to watch from the wings as Freddie Mercury et al performed to their adoring crowds. According to Deacon, it was Jackson who managed to convince Mercury that "Another One Bites The Dust" would be the perfect choice of single to promote their 1980 album "The Game."

"Another One Bites The Dust" topped the charts in the U.S. and was a top 10 hit in the U.K., eventually selling more than 7 million copies worldwide. It was the biggest song of their career.