Brian May Reveals He Didn’t Really Like “Under Pressure”

Brian May Reveals He Didn’t Really Like “Under Pressure” | Society Of Rock Videos

via Michael Usov / Youtube

After over 40 years since it was released, Brian May has revealed that he never liked Queen’s classic collaboration with David Bowie “Under Pressure.”

The iconic song came out in 1981 and at that time the guitarist didn’t comment about it as he knew it would lead to an argument. In a more recent interview, May admitted that there was tension between Bowie and Queen bassist John Deacon when they were recording the song. He recalled:

“I remember David reaching over to John and saying, ‘No, don’t do it like that,’” May said, and John going, ‘Excuse me? I’m the bass player, right? This is how I do it!’”

He continued:

“But somebody has to take the helm. Somebody has to decide what you actually use…that person was David because he just went, ‘I’m doing it, I’m doing it,’ being David Bowie. And we went, ‘Ooh, okay…’”

In a separate interview with Guitar World, May shared what was his initial thoughts about “Under Pressure,” saying:

“[I]t was a pretty heavy backing track… it sounded like the Who. It sounded massively chord-driven.
“And I was beaming… I remember saying to David, ‘Oh, it sounds like the Who, doesn’t it?’ He says, ‘Yeah, well it’s not going to sound like the Who by the time I’ve finished with it!’ You know, in a joking kind of way. But he didn’t want it to be that way.”

In the end, May decided to just go through with it as he knew “it was going to be a fight.” He added:

“So basically it was Freddie and David fighting it out in the studio with the mix. And what happened in the mix was that most of that heavy guitar was lost.”

Brian May’s Thoughts About The Modern Live Version of “Under Pressure”

The guitarist noted that he would deliver the song in a heavier style when he plays it live these days. He admitted to disliking “the way it was mixed” but understands why people like it. He mentioned:

“David was an awesome creative force. But you can’t have too many awesome creative forces in the same room. It starts to get very difficult! Something has to give.”

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