Sunday, September 25, 2016

Song #272: "Under Pressure"--Queen with David Bowie (1981)

After the massive success of songs like "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" and "Another One Bites The Dust" from their "The Game" LP, Queen returned to radio in late 1981 with this song, which would later be included in their next release, "Hot Space".

No one could imagine the influence this song would have over the next 35 years. It topped the British singles chart, but only managed to hit #29 on the Billboard Hot 100. Incredibly, the first song recorded specifically for "Hot Space", "Body Language", actually did better on the U.S. charts, barely missing the top ten.

But few remember Body Language while many remember Under Pressure, partially because of the song, in part thanks to the unique collaboration between two powerhouse rock figures in Freddie Mercury and David Bowie, and, also due in part to Vanilla Ice doing a big no-no some nine years later, effectively ripping off (it was called "sampling") the iconic bass line for his deplorable tune, "Ice Ice Baby". Have I given away my disdain for Vanilla Ice by now?  :)

Hearing this the first few times on radio, it just screamed brilliance. And now, with both of these great voices gone, it's nice to know we can enjoy "Under Pressure" for many, many years to come.

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