Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson's unearthed duet

Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson's unearthed duet
American singer Michael Jackson

Music fans got a wonderful surprise this week.

No, don't worry, there isn't another U2 album lurking in your iPhone - neither Apple nor U2 are that stupid.

This surprise is something far more delightful and unexpected, like finding a pixie in your underwear drawer.

It's a previously unreleased duet from Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson called There Must Be More To Life Than This.

It goes without saying that they are two of the greatest vocal talents in pop history, and that any sort of collaboration between the pair should be greeted with a joyful heart.

The song was recorded in 1981, but for some reason Mercury eventually decided to release it without the Jackson bits included.

We're only getting to hear the original version now - more than three decades later and after both singers have died - because it's going to be included on the upcoming Queen Forever album, which drops in November.

Queen Forever will also feature other previously-unheard tracks, as well a bunch of the band's old love songs.

I'm 110 per cent buying it.

Even with all the great tunes included - Play The Game, You're My Best Friend, Somebody To Love - one of the highlights is surely going to be There Must Be More To Life Than This.

With its bouncy buoyancy, it puts me in mind of a Christmas song.

That said, the lyrics are slightly more wistful than Frosty The Snowman.

"There must be more to life than living / There must be more than meets the eye / What good is life, if in the end we all must die / There must be more to life than this."

It chugs along at mid-tempo, with Mercury's bandmate Brian May adorning the piece with his trademark baroque flourishes.

Of course, no one who hears the song will be able to resist comparing Mercury and Jackson. Here they are side-by-side - who was the better singer?

Mercury starts off the song and Jackson doesn't come in until the second verse, so it's not really a fair comparison, but who ever said life is fair?

The one thing you really end up noticing is the raw manly power of Mercury and the daintiness of Jackson.

It's like a lion versus a butterfly.

Who's better?

That depends on whether you feel like thundering across a savannah or flittering through a garden.

Both are mesmerising, inspiring and transcendent in their own way.

Who wins? We do.


This article was first published on Sep 24, 2014.
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