Queen singer Freddie Mercury couldn’t understand why the late king of pop Michael Jackson would sleep on a mattress in the middle of his mansion.
The music icons spent days together working on new music at Jackson’s home studio in California in 1983 and developed a close friendship.
Fans have heard snippets over the years of what really happened inside those four walls, including from Freddie himself. But one man was there to witness it all was Freddie’s personal assistant Peter ‘Phoebe’ Freestone.
Freestone worked for Queen and Mercury for 12 years, right up until the musician’s death in 1991. According to Freestone, hanging out with two of the biggest superstars in the world didn’t feel “out of the ordinary”.
Freestone told Metro.co.uk: “You accept people how they are. For example, with Michael Jackson, Freddie and I went to his house to record for eight hours one day. This was back in 1983, and Freddie and Michael collaborated on three different tracks at that point. But Michael didn’t treat me any differently than he treated Freddie. It was just the way people are.
“Michael and I played video games for half an hour while Freddie was outside smoking.”
According to Freestone, Jackson later took him and Freddie on a tour of the house, situated on Encino’s Hayvenhurst Avenue. When they got upstairs, Mercury couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw a mattress in the middle of the floor of the “Thriller” hitmaker’s mansion.
According to Freestone: “Freddie said, ‘You’ve got money why don’t you buy a bed?’ And Michael just said, ‘I feel so much better when I’m closer to the Earth’. Freddie said, ‘Well how much closer does not having a bed make you? We’re upstairs’.”
Freestone added: “That was the sort of thing that happened.”
Not many are privy to the inner workings of two music icons in the studio, and it’s an experience Freestone is able to recall in minute detail, even after all these years.
“It’s actually amazing to see two amazing talents working off each other,” he said.
“Basically Michael had a track-ready, which was called the State of Shock, which he wanted Freddie to put his voice on, so he did. Then they worked on a track of Freddie’s, which was ‘There Must Be More To Life Than This’, that he was working on for a Queen album.
“But the thing is, there was hardly any words or anything. So a lot of the time Michael was ad-libbing putting his own words in. In fact, there was a third track. The combination of the two of them, but just being there while they were actually, they were feeding off each other.”
Freestone continued: “Each of them was just giving out everything they could to create something and to be present at that sort of thing is amazing. The same happened with David Bowie with Under Pressure for Queen.
“To be present when you have… it’s almost like electricity. Then you feel the tension in the air and there’s that ozone smell. It’s almost like that.”