Three duets starring pop legends Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury will be released later this year, exactly three decades after they were recorded in Jackson’s home studio in Encino, California.
Queen guitarist Brian May is working with longtime band mate Roger Taylor and producer William Orbit to put the finishing touches on the recordings. In 2011, May was given permission to access the 1983 session by the Jackson estate. For the past two years he has been working with Taylor and Orbit to resurrect the recordings, reportedly adding new guitar solos and vocal harmonies reminiscent of those made famous by Mercury, who died in 1991. Jackson passed away in 2009.
Shortly following the Encino recordings, Mercury and Jackson reportedly had a falling out. According to Jim “Miami” Beach, Queen’s manager, the two split ways after Jackson brought a llama into the studio.
“Mercury rang me and said: ‘Miami, dear, can you get over here? You’ve got to get me out of here; I’m recording with a llama.” Beach told NME. A source associated with the Jackson estate told the U.K. Daily Mail that the falling out simply stemmed from the pair’s difficulty in arranging any additional recording sessions.
According to May, the recordings should see the light of day in a few months. “There are a few items in progress. We will have something for folks to hear in a couple of months’ time, hopefully.” May wrote on his blog.
In related news, comedian Sacha Baron Cohen recenty bowed out of the role of Mercury in an upcoming biopic about the iconic Queen frontman, citing disapproval of the kind of movie the biopic was becoming.