Queen & David Bowie – “Under Pressure” – (1982)

It’s quite possible that by the time “Under Pressure” was released in 1982 (okay, as a single in 1981), that Queen’s best years were behind them. Of Queen’s singles catalogue, there are but a small handful of “must hears” that came out after this. This was their last truly great, truly huge, single. It was a #1 in the U.K. – probably having to do with it being a collaboration between two of Britain’s biggest rock acts. David Bowie was at the studio recording backing vocals for another track (which was thrown away) but ended up sitting down and writing this song with the band instead. When it first came out, Queen incorporated it into their live act, sans Bowie. It wasn’t until Freddie Mercury passed away that Bowie started doing it live. And, as far as the elephant in the room on a music blog that started as a giant list of songs from the 90s – yes, I will admit, that, as good as this song is, I am severely disappointed every time I hear this on the radio. When those first notes start up, I’m sitting there going “Yes, ‘Ice, Ice Baby’ is about to be on.” Then there are two piano keys struck and I get sad. I know it shouldn’t be this way, but it is. As Vanilla Ice said, “There’s goes… mine goes…” Yeah, yeah.

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