Adam Lambert and Queen are currently on tour. David Bowie asked me at dinner once who my favorite band was and I told him Queen. The history with Queen and Bowie in now legendary, in the making of the song “Under Pressure”.
In the summer of 1981, the British band Queen was recording tracks for their tenth studio album, Hot Space, at Mountain Studios in Montreux, Switzerland. As it happened, David Bowie had scheduled time at the same studio to record the title song for the movie Cat People. Before long, Bowie stopped by the Queen sessions and joined in. The original idea was that he would add backup vocals on the song “Cool Cat.” “David came in one night and we were playing other people’s songs for fun, just jamming,” says Queen drummer Roger Taylor in Mark Blake’s book Is This the Real Life?: The Untold Story of Freddie Mercury and Queen. “In the end, David said, ‘This is stupid, why don’t we just write one?’” And so began a marathon session of nearly 24-hours–fueled, according to Blake, by wine and cocaine. Built around John Deacon’s distinctive bass line, the song was mostly written by Mercury and Bowie. Blake describes the scene, beginning with the recollections of Queen’s guitarist:
‘We felt our way through a backing track all together as an ensemble,’ recalled Brian May. ‘When the backing track was done, David 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.” And that’s what we did.’ Some of these improvisations, including Mercury’s memorable introductory scathing vocal, would endure on the finished track. Bowie also insisted that he and Mercury shouldn’t hear what the other had sung, swapping verses blind, which helped give the song its cut-and-paste feel.
The same concept is applied in the original music of the David Bowie Is Around The World, a recording artist comes into the studio with recording producer 7 Keys and lyric are given to them and off they go, while 7 Keys works the hook, and other who have never heard the tune do their own version and then it’s cut-and-paste this is done with Bowie film discovered recording artists from around the world. This is just a rough 8 mm black and while look thanks to recording producer 7 Keys.