Rock Flashback: Queen and David Bowie and “Under Pressure”

Thirty years ago this week, “Under Pressure” by [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Queen[/lastfm] and [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]David Bowie[/lastfm] topped the British singles charts. Like many of rock’s most famous songs, its creation owed a great deal to accident and luck.

Queen had been working on a song called “Feel Like” for a while. During a jam session with Bowie, the song evolved into “Under Pressure.” The man frequently credited with devising the song’s famous bass line won’t take the credit. Queen bassist [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]John Deacon[/lastfm] has said it was Bowie’s idea, although Bowie says Queen had it before they started working together. [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Brian May[/lastfm] and [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Roger Taylor[/lastfm] of Queen say Deacon came up with it.

Although “Under Pressure” was a major hit in the UK, it reached only #29 on the Billboard chart in the States in January 1982. Its bass line would become famous when it was sampled a few years later by [lastfm link_type=”artist_info”]Vanilla Ice[/lastfm] for “Ice Ice Baby.”

“Under Pressure” hit as the video age was just beginning. Neither Bowie nor any of the members of Queen were available for a shoot, so longtime Queen and Bowie collaborator David Mallet improvised, creating a collage of stock footage and public-domain movie clips that’s anything but random.

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  • RainbowRay

    Yeah, I reember this video well and I believe I still have the record. Queen has always been one of my favorite groups from the 80’s. How about “You’re My Best Friend”, “Another One BItes the Dust”, “’39”, “Bohemian Rhaposdy”, etc.

    “Sharing is caring and caring is sharing; living is giving and giving is living”

  • RainbowRay

    Check out Queen’s offical YOoutube Channel website:


    “Sharing is caring and caring is sharing; living is giving and giving is living

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