Queen’s Brian May admits he “never liked” final mix of their David Bowie collab “Under Pressure”

Queen’s Brian May has revealed that he actually wasn’t happy with “Under Pressure,” Queen’s hit collaboration with David Bowie.

In an interview with Total Guitar, May says when they first started working on the song it featured a “pretty heavy” guitar, which he thought sounded like The Who.

“And I was beaming because I liked The Who,” he says. “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.”

May says finishing the song was difficult because of all the different opinions being shared, and in the end the heavy guitar was removed.

“I think it’s probably the only time in my career I bowed out, because I knew it was going to be a fight,” he says. “So basically it was Freddie (Mercury) 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.”

As for the final product, May says, “I never liked it, to be honest, the way it was mixed.” He adds, “But I do recognize that it works. It’s a point of view, and it’s done very well. And people love it.”

“Under Pressure” was released in October 1981; it became Queen’s second #1 in the U.K. and Bowie’s third. It also charted in the top 10 in 10 countries.

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