Under Pressure

Let’s talk about Freddie Mercury and the amazing Under Pressure.

It was published in 1981 signed by The Queen and David Bowie. Later was part of 1982 Hot Space album and reached #1 in UK.

The birth of the song

Try to imagine a recording studio where eclectic characters such as David Bowie and Freddie Mercury working side by side end up meeting, and the unavoidable explosive mixture that came from. They started working on a song called Feel Like, but after many hours spent in recordings, no one was satisfied. Even the Thin White Duke asked to delete his part from the tape. They finally decided to start completely over, and during a jam session the core idea of Under Pressure took life. That’s the reason why is signed by the five musicians. Some say the inspiration came from a long night of wine and cocaine. This happened in Mountain Studio in Montreaux, Switzerland.


Music and Lyrics

According to Brian May’s tale it was David Bowie who lead the band through the songs composition, but everything raised from John Deacon’s bass riff, the famous Ding-Ding-Ding Diddle Ing-Ding. Usual approach by The Queen was different, more elaborated and slow, while Bowie proposed to focus more on catching the moment for assembling later the recorded material.
Jam session over, Bowie invited each musician to record individually his own line without knowing what the others played. Lyrics came on the following day by the beautiful mind of David Bowie. Initially track’s title was People on Streets later changed to Under Pressure. The overwhelming beauty of this song come also from the voice’s union of Bowie and Mercury. The first warm and charming, powerful and high the latter: a goose bumps mix!


David Bowie never played this song live with Mercury, his part was always sung by Roger Taylor when performed by The Queen, who was a longtime admirer of the English singer. Unforgettable will remain Bowie’s performance in duo with Annie Lennox during the Freddie Mercury Tribute at Wembley Arena in 1992. A video clip was released in 2000 beside publishing of remix version of the song, where may appear the singers are performing together but that’s obtained through a carefully crafted editing. We can then just imagine what an emotion could have been hearing the two performing together Under Pressure.