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Freddie Mercury and David Bowie’s isolated vocal track for Queen’s “Under Pressure” [Listen]

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Flashback to summer of 1981. David Bowie stops by a Queen studio session at Mountain Studios to record some vocals and rock out with the band. 24 hours later, what started as an impromptu jam session, evolved one of the most significant songs of music history: Under Pressure.

The musical arrangement and the lyrics blend the two visions of Freddie Mercury and David Bowie, building off of the song’s distinct bass line. Queen’s guitarist recounts that in the recording of the song Bowie 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”. Ultimately, the final mix of the song constructs Mercury and Bowie’s improvisational vocals and parallels the spontaneity of the song itself!

You can listen to the 1981 completed mix of Under Pressure and the isolated vocal track below!


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