The Michael Jackson Freddie Mercury llama in the studio story

Michael Jackson & Freddie Mercury in the Studio: The Llama Incident

In 1983, Michael Jackson and Freddie Mercury got together in Michael’s home studio to work on three songs together. Michael had been coming to Queen shows for some time, and the two had a great mutual respect for each other.

However, they never completed those songs together.

In the 2012 documentary Freddie Mercury: The Great Pretender, Queen manager Jim “Miami” Beach explains what happened.

One day during the recording sessions, Beach says he got a frantic call from Mercury.

“Miami, dear,” Mercury said, “can you get on over here? You’ve got to get me out of this studio.”

Beach was baffled and asked why.

“I’m recording with a llama,” Mercury said.

“Michael’s bringing his pet llama into the studio every day,” her continued, “and I’m really not used to it, and I’ve had enough, and I want to get out.”

However, in the 2001 book Freddie Mercury, his long-time personal assistant Peter Freestone has a different take on the events.

The actual situation, according to Freestone, was much less dramatic and didn’t cause Mercury to flee the studio.

Freestone says that during a tour of the grounds, they were taken through a muddy llama enclosure.

“Freddy knew to be wary of them spitting at him,” Freestone writes, “but while avoiding their heads he couldn’t help but walk through the mud.”

So, Mercury’s white jeans got dirty.

“The clean white jeans soon became very brown indeed as he picked his way as daintily as he could on tiptoe,” Freestone says, “shrieking at the horror of the mudbath.”

Afterwards, according to Freestone, they went to studio and worked on three songs. During that time, Freestone was either slamming the studio’s bathroom door rhythmically in place of a real drummer, since it was only the three of them in the studio, or was watching videos with Janet and Latoya.

Jackson and Mercury never completed the three songs together. Michael rerecorded one of them, called “State of Shock,” with Mick Jagger instead for the album Victory, and Mercury recorded “There Must Be More To Life Than This” for his first solo album, Mr. Bad Guy.

“I also know for a fact that somewhere in the world, there is a tape of Freddie Mercury peeing in Michael Jackson’s toilet. Live!” Freestone says.

“They worked for about five or six hours that day and we left about six in the evening,” he writes. “Freddie was already committed to a heavy schedule and it was left as a ‘Let’s get in touch soon’ job.”

Freestone says that Mercury was impressed with the session, as well as with Michael’s attitude to work, but not so much with his home.

“All that money and no taste,” Mercury said. “Dear, what a waste.”

So did Michael actually bring a llama into the studio?

We’ll never really know for sure, but it remains a hilarious legend in the annals of rock and roll history.