‘State of Shock’: Michael Jackson, Freddie Mercury, Mick Jagger and more

Most remember the duets “The Girl is Mine” and “Say Say Say” between Michael Jackson and Paul McCartney. Some people now know, but many people also do not know that between 1981 and 1983 the great Freddie Mercury also recorded several tracks with Michael Jackson. None of these collaborations were ever officially released back then, although bootleg recordings luckily do exist and were leaked a while back. One of these duets is called “There Must Be More To Life Than This” and you can listen to the demo recording from 1983 right here…

Mercury would later include a solo version of that song on his Mr. Bad Guy album in 1985. The original with Michael Jackson would eventually be included on the 2014 compilation album Queen Forever (five years after Jackson’s death and 23 years after Mercury’s death). Another song that Mercury and Jackson collaborated on was “State of Shock.”

The song was written by Michael Jackson and guitarist Randy Hansen. It is said that the duet was originally slated to be a track on the Thriller album, but that obviously didn’t happen. Many remember that the song would eventually be recorded by The Jacksons with Rolling Stones frontman Mick Jagger (instead of Mercury) and released on the Victory album in 1984. No explanation was ever given to why Mercury was replaced. There is a demo recording version of the original “State of Shock” with Jackson and Mercury and you can listen to it right here…

As you know, the song was released in the summer of 1984 with Jackson singing with Jagger and the song was a big success reaching #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the U.S. and #14 on the UK Singles Chart. Whether it was with Mercury or with Jagger, it is pretty incredible to see these music icons collaborate on a song. It is said that Jackson was disappointed in Jagger’s vocals which were recorded and mixed in separately, but his name certainly added rock credibility either way. There surprisingly is not an official video for the song, but you can hear the Jackson/Jagger final version of “State of Shock” right here…

That guitar riff is quite catchy and quite recognizable. Weird Al Yankovic must have been a big fan because he first featured it in “Hooked on Polkas” on his Dare to be Stupid album from 1985, but then you can also clearly hear “State of Shock” in the title track for his 1989 film UHF.

One more interesting note on the song “State of Shock” is that Mick Jagger performed a version of it at 1985’s Live Aid in Philadelphia with another music icon, Tina Turner. It was originally supposed to be a live long-distance duet with David Bowie (with Bowie in London and Jagger in Philly) but a four-second satellite delay prevented that from happening. Tina Turner is not too bad of a back-up plan. You can watch the performance of “State of Shock” by Jagger and Turner from legendary Live Aid right here…

With both Freddie Mercury and Michael Jackson gone, I find it more intriguing to hear these demo recordings from the early ’80s. Michael Jackson was just about to become the King of Pop and Mercury was already “one of the most dynamic and charismatic frontmen in rock history.” It is incredible that these legendary icons performed together even if the results were never officially released back then. It is also pretty cool that we were eventually able to hear those collaborations. They certainly don’t make them like that anymore and, yep, you guessed it, it happened back in the ’80s.

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About OldSchool80s 26 Articles
Old School Tim has an adoring devotion to the awesome '80s decade. He loves to relive and share that nostalgia on a regular basis. The Kickin' it Old School blog site has been retired, but you can still get daily doses of '80s goodness on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and anywhere else they let him.