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Queen Revisit Davie Bowie Collaboration On 1981 Classic 'Under Pressure'


Bruce Henne | 08-29-2021

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(hennemusic) Queen are revisiting their 1981 collaboration with David Bowie on the hit single, "Under Pressure", in latest episode of the band's 50th anniversary video series The Greatest.

The origins of the tune date back to a July 1981 jam session at Mountain Studios in Montreux, Switzerland, where both acts were recording new music at the time.

An impromptu phone call by Studio Engineer Dave Richards got the ball rolling. "They were recording there and, David (Richards) knew that I was in town," explains Bowie, "and phoned me up and asked me if I'd come down if I'd like to go down and see what was happening. So I went down and these things happen, you know, suddenly you're writing something together and it was totally spontaneous, it certainly wasn't planned. It was peculiar!"

"Well, I think the process was we were all drunk, and in the studio, and we were just for fun playing all sorts of old songs," recalls Roger Taylor. "I remember a couple of old Cream songs, and whatever came into our heads and I think David said, 'look, hang on a minute, why don't we write one of our own?'"

"Deacy (bassist John Deacon) came up with this riff... ding, ding, ding, de de, ding, ding," says Brian May,

"And then we went for a pizza and he forgot it. Completely escaped his mind!," adds Taylor, "We got back, and I remembered it. David's idea to put all these clicks and claps, and then it just, the sort of track grew."

"And by that time, David was very impassioned with it and he had a vision in his head I think," says May. "It's quite a difficult process and somebody has to back off, and actually, I did back off, which is unusual for me."

The result of that long night was "Under Pressure", and when released in October 1981, it gave Queen their second UK number 1, and became a massive hit across the globe.

The song became a permanent feature in subsequent Queen shows and was one of the stand-out moments at the Freddie Mercury Tribute concert on April 20, 1992 where David Bowie and Annie Lennox joined Roger, Brian and John for a performance of the tune, which was added to Queen's 1982 album, "Hot Space." Watch the episode here.

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