Queen – Another One Bites the Dust (Lyrics Review and Song Meaning)


The Undying Queen group produced iconic songs that defied the laws of time. From the 70s to the 80s, Queen dominated the international Rock / Pop / Soul arena and her influence is still felt to this day. Queen’s recent biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” rekindled a passion for classic hits and today we have “Another One Bites the Dust,” which has been dubbed Queen’s most difficult song to understand. But often the simplest meanings could be misinterpreted.

“Another One Bites the Dust” was a game-changer for Queen. Written by bassist John Deacon, the song became the group’s eighth studio album, “The Game,” released in 1980. The funny fact about the song is that it was never intended to be released as a single; but the group was convinced by Michael Jackson to do so. And the song took Queen in a whirlwind, becoming their second No. 1 single on the US charts. The song spent three weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and fifteen weeks at the top 10 on the same chart. It is also considered one of Queen’s best-selling singles with over 7 million copies sold worldwide, behind Queen’s epic ballad “Bohemian Rhapsody”.

The controversy over the “Smoke Marijuana” message

Another fun fact that propelled “Another One Bites the Dust” to fame is the alleged hidden message in the song. The title of the song in chorus, when played backwards, is meant to be understood as “It’s fun to smoke marijuana” or “Start smoking marijuana”. However, this was denied by Queen.

Queen members have spoken about their single several times. In a 1996 interview, John Deacon recalled the song and its origin;

“I used to listen to a lot of soul music when I was in school, and I’ve always been interested in that kind of music. I’ve been wanting to do a track like Another One Bites The Dust for a while, but originally I only had the bass line and riff. Little by little, I filled it in and the group added ideas. I could hear it as a song to dance to, but had no idea it would get as big as it did. The song was taken from our album and some of the black radio stations in the US started playing it, which we had never had before. Michael Jackson suggested releasing it as a single. He was a fan of ours and used to come to our shows.

Freddie Mercury also thanked MJ for leading them in the right direction;

“Credit for the song should go to Michael Jackson in many ways. He was a fan and friend of ours and kept telling me, “Freddie, you need a song cats can dance to.” John introduced us to this riff during rehearsal that we all immediately thought of disco, which was very popular at the time. We worked on it and once it was ready we played it for Michael. I knew we got a hit as he was shaking his head up and down. “That’s it, that’s the sauce. Release it and it will top the charts, ”he said. So we did it and that’s what he did.

Listen to Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust”

Download the single “Another One Bites the Dust” on iTunes and Amazon

What inspired John Deacon to write “Another One Bites the Dust”?

John Deacon reportedly found inspiration for the song ‘St. Valentine’s Dat Massacre ‘of 1929. The story revolves around two rival gangs – George’ Bugs’ Moran and Al Capone. The latter orders the coup on Moran’s alcohol business targeting Moran but the hitmen miss Moran because he was late for work. Moran’s henchmen, a total of 6, were captured by Capone’s killers and shot inside the store and flee.

Therefore, when analyzing the lyrics of the song, it would be ideal to see it from this perspective.

Lyrics review and meaning of the song “Another One Bites the Dust”

The iconic bass riff is a signature of this song and has been sampled by many artists since.

The song is about a person-Steve walking towards a shootout. But there are several reasons that put him in this situation.

Verse 1

In the first verse of “Another One Bites the Dust”, momentum is built towards the carnage about to unfold. Steve, a typical man, walks down the street with his head bowed and his mind heavy. The streets are empty, he only hears her footsteps.

“Are you ready?” the repetitions reinforce the intensity of the song, intriguing the listener. Then comes the bullets that tear off and the sounds of the shot correspond to the bass riff.


In the chorus, “Another Bites the Dust” is repeated 6 times. This surprisingly coincides with the number of people shot at ‘St. St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. ‘

“Biting the dust” is an expression used to refer to “death”. People are buried in the earth when they died, and in the wild west the dead were buried in the wilderness.

Verse 2

Perhaps this second verse is able to shed some light on why Steve is walking towards destruction. In these lyrics we are given Steve’s point of view. As he walks down this solemn street, we hear his thoughts. He lost everything he had. He lost his love, everything he cared about and ultimately his property. Steve is evicted from his own home for some reason. Has he cheated? Did the woman cheat? Was it another dispute?

Steve just has to wonder if she’s happy with the choices she’s made! She’s probably turned him into a killer, and those footsteps are approaching her.

Verse 3

In the third verse we get a more in-depth view of life in general. We hear Queen sing about what breaks a man. Getting beaten, cheated and abused all the time could turn even the best of people into devils. You can’t expect a man to turn around once he’s pushed past his turn.

But Steve is standing on the doorstep – probably in his own house – listening to the bullets being torn apart. “Bullets” could also mean words or name calling in this context. Sometimes words can hurt much more deeply than any gunshot wound. But Steve doesn’t fall today, he stands and faces his fate.

In the outro, the song ends with the phrase “shoot out” which might mean that the war has started!

Something that started with a massacre turned out to be a worldwide success. Most likely, the story behind the song is not obvious when you yourself dance to this song in the club.

What do you think this song means? Leave a comment below.

Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” full lyrics

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