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Old 09-02-2011, 09:47 AM   #199 (permalink)
Trollheart
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Whereas our last (and indeed, first) look at collaborative efforts by two musicans was indeed two musicans as different as could be, this one is more two on a par with each other, and the song was a huge international hit. Not that surprising when you consider the quality of talent involved. Queen of course were already well known and respected as a driving force in the rock world, with albums like “News of the world”, “A night at the opera”, and huge hit singles like “Killer queen”, “Crazy little thing called love” and of course their number one classic, “Bohemian rhapsody” to their credit. David Bowie was also internationally renowned as an innovative and enduring artist, having created albums like “Ziggy Startdust”, “Diamond dogs” and “Heroes”, and with a string of hit singles to his name, including the seminal “Life on Mars”.

So the teaming up of these two forces, while not exactly envisaged, was no huge wrench to anyone. Both were in the rock arena, both quite firmly in the dramatic/theatrical side of rock, with makeup, costumes and lavish stage shows part of each's indentity and persona, and each were accomplished musicians and songwriters. Both also had a strong sense of moral justice and a desire to do what they could to change the world, evidenced by their ongoing charity work.

Queen and David Bowie --- Under pressure


When Bowie arrived at Queen's studio to record a track for their forthcoming album, “Hot space”, both found the session was not working as they had hoped. So they took a break, had a jam session and within that session the embryonic “Under pressure” was born. After much tweaking and re-recording, the song was finally released as a single (Queen's name first, as Bowie was essentially guesting on the record) and became a huge hit. It has an instantly recognisable and catchy bassline, as well as handclap beats that help to form the rhythm. Bowie is on his best form, while Freddie Mercury sings scat in the background, joining in on the verses later and both of them on the chorus, though Bowie sings “Under pressure” on his own.

Although the single, being a number one hit, has been somewhat dulled by repeated plays, and one tends to more reach for the off button when it comes on the radio or TV, it's stood the test of time, sounding as fresh now as it was when it was recorded thirty years ago. It's also been covered and sampled, sometimes well, sometimes not.

“Under pressure” is without doubt a true example of consummate professionals getting together to produce a quality product, and the fact that this was (up to then) the only time Bowie collaborated with anyone, says a lot about the admiration he had for Queen, and they for him.

Without question, a Marriage Made in... Heaven!
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