The Story Of The Night Queen And David Bowie Wrote “Under Pressure”


Way before Vanilla Ice stole the beat from “Under Pressure” for “Ice Ice Baby,” Queen actually had some help with the iconic tune. The band already had an insane following, but the hit song actually came from a jam session with Davie Bowie.

In 1981, Queen purchased a recording studio where they had launched their careers back in the 1970s. At the time, David Bowie was also in Switzerland, so he wanted to meet with Queen over a jam session.

The musicians had all met before, but they hadn’t played like this. The studio session opened up something creative that will last forever.

David Bowie And Queen Jam Together

Bowie, Mercury | Photo Credit YouTube

One day, while Queen was recording a new album, David Bowie apparently stopped by for a meet and greet. Brian May of Queen later said his memory was fuzzy, but they decided the best way to get to know each other was to perform together.

Out of nothing, they developed a short bass line. Brian May later described the song as “Ding-Ding-Ding Diddle Ing-Ding, you might say.” During that short session, the bass line would later launch both “Under Pressure” and “Ice Ice Baby.”

Even more surprising, however, is that the beat was almost forgetten just as quickly as it was created.

A Legendary Song Almost Forgotten Over Drinks

Queen | Photo Credit Amazon

May said, “Suddenly, hunger took over and we paired to a local restaurant for food and a fair amount of drink.” Afterwards, the musicians returned back to the studio, but they couldn’t remember the exact beat.

But, David Bowie eventually took over and steered the band back to something that would become “Under Pressure.” According to the legend, Bowie said something like “We should just press on instinctively. Something will happen.”

Clearly, this is one of the greater collaborations in music history and it almost never came to be. The single reached Number One in the UK in the early 1980s and regained popularity when Vanilla Ice sampled the song.

The song will forever be one of the great collaborations from David Bowie and Freddie Mercury.

What is your favorite song from the band, Queen?