Jacob Mendez
Jacob Mendez

The Queen legend hates the famous hit. “I never liked it”

Song “Under Pressure” was created thanks to the cooperation of a band at the peak of its fame Queen with another icon of those times, David Bowie. The song was originally released in October 1981 and was part of the album “Hot Space” (1982). It topped the European charts (including Great Britain and the Netherlands), as well as in Canada. In the US it reached the top 30.

In recent years, he has become widely known due to, among others, controversial song Vanilla Ice “Ice Ice Baby” (1990), or versions My Chemical Romance or Shawn Mendes.

In a recent interview, the guitarist Brian May revealed that he is not her fan and even hates her. Although the 76-year-old musician is aware of the timelessness of the hit, he would prefer the song to sound different than its final version.

As the old Polish proverb says – “where there are six cooks, there is nothing to eat”. In this case, five artists, each with a different vision, created one of the most famous hits in rock history, but four of them had to compromise. May believes that the intellectual and creative capital of Queen and Bowie was too much for one studio and one song. “David was an incredible creative force. But you can’t have too many incredible creative forces in the same room. (…) It became very difficult! Someone has to give in,” he recalls in an interview with “Total Guitar.”

May recalls that “Under Pressure” was created after a really exhausting, heavily intoxicated studio session. Originally, the song contained a lot of guitar parts, which were almost completely cut from the final version. The composition was supposed to resemble the group’s sound The Who and was “massively chord driven”.

“I was happy because I liked The Who. I remember saying to David, ‘Oh, it sounds like The Who, doesn’t it?’ And he said, ‘Yes, but when I finish it, I won’t it’s going to sound like The Who!’ You know, in a joking way. But he didn’t want it to be like that,” says the guitarist.

The collaboration between the band and Bowie was said to be “very difficult”, and each of the parties involved had a different idea of ​​what the song should sound like. Brian May admits that it was the only time in his career that he withdrew from a dispute over additional guitar parts.

“So basically in the studio it was Freddie and David fighting over the mix. And what happened in the mix was they threw out most of that heavy guitar,” he recalled. In the original version of “Under Pressure”, the main, characteristic riff on the bass guitar was to be accompanied by an electric guitar in the arpeggio style (a chord played not as simultaneously struck notes, but with a certain time interval from the lowest to the highest or vice versa – note). A sample of this discarded effect could be heard at Queen concerts when they performed the song with the addition of guitar.

Brian May understands how much the audience loves “Under Pressure”, but knowing the initial idea for the song, he could never come to terms with the final version. “Honestly, I never liked this song in the version in which it was mixed. But I realize that it works. It’s a certain point of view that is very well done. And people love it,” says the musician.