Who is the father of "Under Pressure": Mercury or Bowie?

What happens when talented people unexpectedly meet each other? That's right, there is an increase in their talent! And so it happened with Queen and the legendary David Bowie, because together they were able to record an all-time masterpiece - Under Pressure. About how it was and not only, we recall in this article.

Thanks to whom "Under Pressure" was created. Which of the great musicians has contributed more: Mercury or Bowie?

The summer of 1981 was an outstanding year for world music. The Rich for musical masterpieces. It was at this time "Queen." recorded their famous "Hot Space" at Mountain Studios. In the same Swiss town of Montreux, in parallel with the legendary group, he also worked David Bowie, who was just recording one of his most interesting compositions for the film of the same name "Cat People".

Getting started on "Under Pressure»

British band invited talented countryman to his light, as a result of which Bowie made his contribution into the songcool cat"in which he sang Freddie Mercury. However, the result did not impress the musician, because of which his vocal part was irretrievably erased.

Two icons of the era: on the left - David Bowie, on the right - Freddie Mercury
Two icons of the era: David Bowie and Freddie Mercury

But Queen's collaboration with Bowie resulted in something impressive - dynamic and very bright "Under Pressure"! Roger Taylor later said:

“In the evening, Bowie came to our studio, and we were just playing hits from other artists - you know, for fun. Kind of like jam. And then David says: “Doesn't this seem stupid to you? After all, it will be much cooler to write your own song!” We liked his idea and the case began to boil, as they say.

Brian May: “As a united friendly team, we slowly began to record a minus. When he was completely ready, David invited everyone to go into the music booth and, without hesitation, sing exactly how we thought the melody should sound. So we put together a vocal part.”

In the creation of "Under Pressure" were involved absolutely all musicians, however the greatest contribution made It's Mercury and Bowie.

Roger Taylor in an interview in 1984 toldthat the song was written by Freddie Mercury, and Bowie offered his own improvements in music, inventing the bass line that later became legendary and helping to “twist” the song to the ideal in terms of sound.

Queen Group

“The whole thing was hard as hell,” May continues, “especially for me. Then there were four precocious guys working at that studio and Bowie - even more precocious than all of us put together. In general, passions were heated to the limit. And it was many times more difficult for me than the others, because they practically didn’t let me do anything as I wanted. In fact, David was the leader of the process. He was in charge of everything related to vocals. Looking back, this song is wonderful, but the remix could have been different. I remember, because of her, a real scandal broke out between Freddie and David!

To be honest, Bowie really was in charge all stages of creating a song, displacing Freddie. Moreover, the situation escalated to such an extent that Mercury and David constantly swore and had endless discussions. As two extraordinary personalities, it was very difficult for them in the same studio.

Legendary rock chameleon David Bowie
Legendary rock chameleon David Bowie

After leaving

And then it happened: "Under Pressure" saw light already at the end of October 1981. The track quickly topped the British charts and was later included in the list of the best songs of the 80s according to VH1. Interestingly, from the time of its release until the death of Freddie Mercury, Queen and David Bowie never played Under Pressure on the same stage.

Legendary Four: Roger Taylor, Brian May, Freddie Mercury and John Deacon
Legendary Four: Roger Taylor, Brian May, Freddie Mercury and John Deacon

Remembering that distant time of the joint collaboration between Queen and Bowie, we note one more curious fact: several years ago, the head of the tour team of the legendary British band, Peter Hince, told reporters that several more joint sessions were recorded by the musicians at those sessions!

However, for unknown reasons, the material was never published. The information was indirectly confirmed Brian May, who shared his memories of that period:

“Unfortunately, not everything that was created by us during those sessions saw the light of day.”

Clip for the song was not filmedt, since Bowie had a too busy schedule, the musician was constantly busy. David Mallet, the director who produced the music videos for both Bowie and Queen, made a cut of black-and-white video cuts from the films for this song. All frames were united common theme - "the theme of pressure."

Mercury Memorial Exception

Song not performed together at concerts, even at Live Aid, where both Bowie and Queen were present at the same time. However, even without joint performances, the song became very popular and entered in many charts. Queen included "Under Pressure" in their concert tours almost immediately after the release of the song, in 1981, Bowie did the same only 15 years later, in 1996.

The only exception was the 1992 concert dedicated to the memory of the deceased Freddie Mercury. There Bowie, along with Annie Lennox and members of the "Queen" in memory of Freddie is very sensual performed Under pressure.

The performance is very Touching fans of both the band and David Bowie. In the comments under the YouTube video, someone wrote:

“Watching this video, I understand that my generation was the luckiest of all. We caught the amazing giants of music and art in general. I'm not sure that people as talented as these will ever appear in the world. I hope that David and Fred can meet in heaven and sing this masterpiece together there.”



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