In Mark Blake’s book Is This Real Life?: The Untold Story of Queen, drummer Roger Taylor explains what how “Under Pressure” came to be. “ David came in one night and we were playing other people’s songs for fun, just jamming. In the end, David said, ‘This is stupid, why don’t we just write one?” So after a near 24-hour marathon session at Mountain Studios in Montreux, Switzerland, Queen’s hit single was born.
Mark Blake described the scene with Queen’s guitarist’s memories of the collaboration. ‘ We felt our way through a backing track all together as an ensemble,’ recalled Brian May. ‘When the backing track was done, David said, “Okay, let’s each of us go in the vocal booth and sing how we think the melody should go–just off the top of our heads–and we’ll compile a vocal out of that.” And that’s what we did.’ Some of these improvisations, including Mercury’s memorable introductory scatting vocal, would endure on the finished track. Bowie also insisted that he and Mercury shouldn’t hear what the other had sungswapping verses blind, which helped give the song its cut-and-paste feel. ‘
Listen to Freddie Mercury and David Bowie on the isolated vocal track.
**And then listen to this.**
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