Share this 80's hit

“Under Pressure” is a collaborative song by the British rock band Queen and the legendary musician David Bowie. Released as a single in October 1981, the song quickly became a significant hit and is recognized as one of the most iconic rock duets of all time. It later appeared on Queen’s 1982 tenth studio album “Hot Space.”

The collaboration between Queen and David Bowie came about somewhat spontaneously. Both Queen and Bowie were recording at Mountain Studios in Montreux, Switzerland. Initially, Bowie was supposed to provide backing vocals for another Queen song, “Cool Cat,” but the collaboration evolved into a completely new project. The resulting track, “Under Pressure,” was developed from a jam session where all five artists (Freddie Mercury, Brian May, Roger Taylor, John Deacon, and David Bowie) contributed ideas.

“Under Pressure” is known for its distinctive bassline, created by Queen’s bassist John Deacon. The song features a combination of rock and pop elements, characterized by a powerful and emotive vocal performance from both Freddie Mercury and David Bowie. The track includes dynamic shifts in intensity, with verses that build up to a dramatic and anthemic chorus. The lyrics of “Under Pressure” address the stress and pressure of modern life, as well as themes of love and compassion. Lines like “Pressure pushing down on me, pressing down on you” capture the universal experience of feeling overwhelmed by life’s challenges. The song also emphasizes the importance of love and unity in overcoming these pressures, with the repeated refrain “Cause love’s such an old-fashioned word, and love dares you to care for the people on the edge of the night.”

“Under Pressure” was a commercial success, reaching number one on the UK Singles Chart and performing well in various other countries, including the United States, where it reached number 29 on the Billboard Hot 100. The song’s success helped to elevate Queen’s “Hot Space” album and further solidified Bowie’s standing as a versatile and influential artist.

The official music video for “Under Pressure” does not feature performances by Queen or Bowie. Instead, it uses a montage of stock footage and news clips, emphasizing the song’s themes of societal pressure and the human condition. This approach highlights the song’s message and adds a visual layer to its commentary on modern life.

Queen & David Bowie – Under Pressure – Lyrics