What Happened to Queen’s Lost Collaboration With Rod Stewart?
The remaining members of Queen knew quite well in 1995 that no one could ever fill the shoes of their late singer, Freddie Mercury, who had died four years earlier due to AIDS complications.
So, they instead turned to unused recordings by Mercury to craft the songs on their final studio album, Made in Heaven, including the single "Let Me Live."
The song actually began as a collaboration with Rod Stewart titled "Another Piece of My Heart," but the recording was ultimately shelved. According to Stewart, there were even late-night chats about more than just that collaboration, including a potential supergroup consisting of himself, Mercury and Elton John.
"I don’t know if we were kidding each other about forming a band," Stewart said in a 2020 interview, "but it just shows what a little cocaine and alcohol will do for you!”
After removing Stewart's vocals from the track, the band decided to keep the music and rework the lyrics in addition to Mercury's contribution. Guitarist Brian May and drummer Roger Taylor contributed vocals to the new version of "Let Me Live," making it the only Queen song on which all three sing lead parts.
Listen to Queen's 'Let Me Live'
All the songs on Made in Heaven were constructed similarly. Everyone knew Mercury's time was limited.
"By the time we were recording these other tracks after [1991 album] Innuendo, we had had the discussions and we knew that we were totally on borrowed time because Freddie had been told that he would not make it to that point," May said in a 1995 documentary about band, Champions of the World.
"I think our plan was to go in [the studio] whenever Freddie felt well enough, just to make as much use of him as possible. We basically lived in the studio for a while, and when he would call and say, 'I can come in for a few hours,' our plan was to just make as much use of him as we could. He told us, 'Get me to sing anything. Write me anything, and I will sing it, and I will leave you as much as I possibly can.'"