Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” Lyrics Meaning
“Another One Bites the Dust” is perhaps the most-iconic of all Queen songs. This track is often used in conjunction with battle scenarios, as the colloquial term ‘biting the dust’ refers to a person dying, on top of the overall hard sound of the song. However, it seems that this tune is actually just as much, if not more about a tumultuous romance than it is physical violence or death.
The track begins with the scenario of a guy walking down the street, on his way to a gunfight. This section was actually inspired by real-life, historical gangsters. In fact the term ‘bite to dust’ is said to have been specifically linked to the infamous Chicago mobsters during the Prohibition period of American history.
However, in the second verse, the subject of the song switches to that of a romantic relationship. Here we find Queen frontman Freddie Mercury stating that his partner has deserted him and in the process left him with nothing. And he sarcastically asks this person if they have actually found contentment in doing so. So in this section of the song, the singer seems to use ‘biting the dust’ as a reference to yet another lover.
The content of the final verse can be applied to the situation presented in the first verse or that of the second.
In this section, the band is basically exclaiming that no matter what opposition comes their way, they are prepared for it. They are going to stand strong throughout the whole confrontation!
Despite having a catchy tune and being ultra-popular, at the end of the day, when you really get into the lyrics, this track it is not the easiest song to understand. But the main message Queen seems intent on relaying is a strong refusal towards bowing down to their enemies.
Facts about “Another One Bites the Dust”
This song was written by John Deacon, the iconic bass guitarist for Queen. The bass line that Deacon added to the track was inspired by the classic 1979 “Good Times” by the R&B band Chic.
In fact Bernard Edwards, co-founder of Chic, stated that Deacon actually spent some time with the band in their studio, which is where he derived inspiration for this song.
“Another One Bites the Dust” was recorded at Musicland Studios in Munich, Germany.
It is the third track on the first side of Queen’s 1980 album The Game. This was their eighth studio album overall.
This track won an American Music Award for Favorite Rock Single.
According to Mercury, this song was created and released based on inspiration and input by none other than pop icon Michael Jackson himself.
The music video for “Another One Bites the Dust” was filmed at Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas on 9 August 1980.
This song was going to be in Sylvester Stallone’s 1982 movie Rocky III. However, it was eventually replaced with “Eye of the Tiger” (1982) by Survivor.
Some people claim that if the chorus of the song is played backwards, especially near the end of the song, it secretly contains an advocacy for smoking grass.
“Another One Bites the Dust” was used in a commercial for AIWA sound systems released in 1998 and also one for Hyundai starring comedian Kevin Hart which premiered during the 2016 Super Bowl.
This song has over the years been sampled by a wide number of artists. These include the likes of Gwen Stefani, Flying Lotus and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.
“Another One Bites the Dust” went on to become Queen’s best-selling song in the United States.
How did “Another One Bites the Dust” perform on the global charts?
It spent 15 weeks in the Billboard top 10 and 31 weeks on the chart altogether, both records for songs released in 1980. The song also reached number two on both the Billboard Dance Club Songs’ chart and its Hot Soul Singles (now called the “Hot R&B / Hip-Hop Songs”) chart. Additionally, it peaked at number seven on the UK Singles Chart.
Did Queen win a Grammy for this classic?
No. They however, received a Grammy nomination for it at the 1981 edition of the Annual Grammy Awards. The song was nominated in a single category – the Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. Queen lost the award to Bob Segere’s “Against the Wind”. Actually, throughout the band’s career, they received only 4 Grammy nominations, winning none.
“The Game” by Queen
Being the first album to be recorded using a synthesizer, “The Game” was Queen’s eighth studio album. It was released on 30th June, 1980 by EMI Records in the UK and Elektra Records in the US.
This album brought so much success to Queen. It was actually the first of the band’s albums to reach number 1 in the US. There, it sold over four million copies.
Five singles were released prior to the album.
The album has a collective duration of Thirty- four minutes, forty-two seconds (on the LP and Remastered CD). And on the 1991 Hollywood Records Reissue version, that figure is: Forty minutes, one second.
It was recorded in Musicland studio in Munich, Germany. The production credits of the album are attributed to the band itself and Reinold Mack, German record producer and sound engineer.
Aside “Another One Bites the Dust” other notable singles from the project include: