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Brian May: More Queen/David Bowie Collaborations Are In The Can

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Queen guitarist Brian May revealed that there are more David Bowie collaborations with the group in the can apart from the 1981 classic, “Under Pressure.” “Under Pressure” was Queen and Bowie’s only released collaboration, and released in October 1981 as a stand-alone single. It went on to top the British singles charts, but stalled at Number 29 in the U.S. — despite being a mainstay on the then-new MTV channel. Six months after its initial release, Queen included it on its 1982 Hot Space album.

Brian May told Radiox.co.uk that the sessions with Bowie were anything but smooth sailing, recalling, “It wasn’t easy because we were all precocious boys and David was very. . . forceful, yes. Freddie (Mercury) and David locked horns, without a doubt. But those are the things that happen in a studio, that’s when the sparks fly and that’s why it turned out so great. (They locked horns) in subtle ways, like who would arrive last at the studio. So it was sort of wonderful and terrible. But in my mind, I remember the wonderful now, more than the terrible. And not all of what we did in those sessions has ever come to light, so there’s a thought. . .”

So far, all that’s known to exist is an early version of the Hot Space track, “Cool Cat,” which originally featured backing vocals by Bowie and a spoken section during the song’s middle-eight. At the 11th hour, Bowie requested his contributions to be wiped.
Shortly before his death in 1991, Freddie Mercury explained why he felt that Queen was able to stay successful throughout it’s long and storied career: “The funny thing is, this sort of happened when we met. The four of us — you won’t believe it. I mean, people think, ‘Oh, now they’re fighting’ — we fought on virtually the first day, ’cause we used to know each other from university and all that. And we used to fight about musical ideas, this and that, because we’re all very strong characters, y’know? We all have egos and all that, so we always kept fighting. But I think the fighting seems to keep us together, because I think bands break up when there’s one very strong person and the others get left out and they think, ‘Oh God. . .’ But the four of us, we’re very strong individually, so we keep going at each other. And I think the reason we’ve stayed together for so long is that none of us want to leave. Because if you leave, it’s like being a coward. As long as the music is still there, as long as the people are still buying the music, then it’s OK.”

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