Another One Bites The Dust

Composer: John Deacon
Meter: 4/4
Key e-minor

   | Intro (A'A'AAA)| Verse (AABB')| Chorus (AAA'D)|
                AA  | Verse'       | Chorus        | Interlude |"Title"|
                AA  | Verse"       | Chorus        | Outro (AABB')

This song is one of the most important turning point in the band's carrier both chart-wise and style-wise and also image-wise (the debute of the mustache mon the video-clip). The success of this mere single inspired the band to experiment more with black/funk music the new trend for the "Hot Space" album. The very first experiment was "Fun It" off the Jazz album.
This song makes heavy use of repeating bass-riffs. The main riff is tad reminiscent of that of the Chiq's "Good Times" (1979), which is famous for being the first major proto-rap hit. Deacon's riff also starts with three low E notes followed by a characteristic pause, the rest is different.
The song is also famous for the band using looped drumlines, in order to achive an extra-tight rhythm department.
The songform shows three cycles of Verse - Chorus the second one followed by an interlude.
This transcription of the song uses slow beats determined by the three low E bass notes. The syncopations on the other hand suggest double frequency quarter beats.
The harmonic backing is very economic, except two phrases in two verses and the outro we have no chords. The homekey is minor which is rare among Queen singles but usual in funk music.

The song starts with the famous two measure riff played five times (five phrases), the first two times a variant with upbeat. Only riff uses only three different notes (E, G, A). For the third phrase where the main version of the ostinato riff debutes enters the guitar doubling it. The last two phrases add flanged synth chord (Em7) fading in and abruptly stopped (see also "Play The Game" "Death On Two Legs" (no synth)).
The second and third cycle starts with a shortened (two phrases) version of the intro including the fade in chord.

We have three 8 measure verses (2+2+2+2, AA'BB'). The second and third one is sung an octave higher with incredible energy and funky strummed guitar chords are added in contrast with the more economic first verse. The lead tune (in the second verse only) features a b5th in m6, and the bass line also features some chromatic passing notes the last one (A...) is copied by the lead vocal. The last measure adds a dissonant guitar chord (G-A#-C-F).

/----- 2x -----\\
| Em   | - Am  |
| i    | - iv  |

| C1 G1| C1 G1 |
| 6  3 | 6  3  |

| C1 G1| A1 B1 |
| 6  3 | 4  5  |

The first verse ends with reversed cymbals. The second Verse adds more weird noises. Except the octave up transposition, the lead tune is also changed. The third verse offers furhter variants of the lead melody in m5-7 adding also single part harmonies.

The chorus consists of eight neasures, four phrases the first three of which is backed by the riff (AAA'...).

/----- 2x-----\\
| E1   | - A1 |

| E1   | - A1 |

| F#5 A5 | F#1 B1 G1 |
| 2   4  | 5/5 5  3  |

The second and third chorus adds guitar power chords in mthe last phrase.

At the end of the second cycle we have a long economic interlude. Economic in terms of harmony and arrangement. See a similar interlude fro example in "Gimme, Gimme, Gimme" (Abba).
The interlude measure by measure.
m1-2: only the rhythm loop. Plus a "hey".
m3- : handclap-like drums are added
m5- : guitar noise fading in.
m7- : Brian with his Red Special here creates a doubletracked lion-shout, ad-lib vocals by Freddie.
m9- : guitar with harmoniser (see also "Get Down Make Love")
m12-: reversed piano fades in (G-A#-F).
m16-: the reversed chord abruptly stops and slowing down percussion figure is added.
m19-22: title phrase repeated four times with different endings each time. Only handclaps. It sounds distinctly enough to be threated as an individual section.

It is mainly the same as the backing track of the verse. The live version features Brian playing more funky figures.