John Deacon’s bass line was inspired by “Good Times” by the disco group Chic. In an interview with NME, Chic co-founder Bernard Edwards stated, “That Queen record came about because that Queen bass player … spent some time hanging out with us at our studio.”
Recording sessions – produced by Reinhold Mack at Musicland Studios in Munich (West Germany) – consisted of Deacon playing almost all instruments: bass guitar, piano, electric guitar, and handclaps. Roger Taylor added a drum loop and Brian May contributed noises with his guitar and an Eventide Harmonizer. There are no synthesisers in the song: all effects are created by piano, electric guitars and drums, with subsequent tape playback performed in reverse at various speeds. Finally, sound effects were run through the harmonizer for further processing. The effect of the harmonizer can be heard clearly in the “swirling” nature of the sound immediately before the first lyric. In early live performances, Taylor sang lead on the chorus, as opposed to the studio version sung entirely by Mercury. As the song became more well-known, the band could rely on audiences to sing the chorus by themselves. After attending a Queen concert in Los Angeles, Michael Jackson suggested to Freddie Mercury backstage that “Another One Bites the Dust” be released as a single.
At the 1981 American Music Awards on 30 January, “Another One Bites the Dust” won the award for Favorite Pop/Rock Single. The song also garnered Queen a Grammy nomination for Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal. It lost to Bob Seger’s Against the Wind. The music video for “Another One Bites the Dust” was filmed at Reunion Arena in Dallas, Texas. The song also appears in Queen’s Greatest Hits album in 1981.
The song was used in a preliminary cut of Rocky III, before being replaced by Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger”. “When one of my idols, Brian May, attended one of our shows in Los Angeles in 1984, he brought up that subject,” recalled Survivor guitarist Frankie Sullivan, to whom Sylvester Stallone had supplied a copy of the movie. “I offered to send him a copy of the tape, which I still own.”