No isolated vocal track will ever come within slidewhistle distance of “Running with the Devil,” but this one’s still pretty great: it’s “Under Pressure,” without any of Brian May, John Deacon, and Roger Taylor’s pesky music, so all that we’re left with is David Bowie and especially Freddie Mercury’s stunning voices. Open Culture has the story.
The song was originally titled “People on Streets,” but Bowie wanted it changed to “Under Pressure.” When the time came to mix the song at Power Station studios in New York, Bowie insisted on being there. “It didn’t go to well,” said Queen’s engineer Reinhold Mack. “We spent all day and Bowie was like, ‘Do this, do that.’ In the end, I called Freddie and said, ‘I need help here,’ so Fred came in as a mediator.” Mercury and Bowie argued fiercely over the final mix. At one point Bowie threatened to block the release of the song, but it was issued to the public on October 26, 1981 and eventually rose to number one on the British charts. (Via)
If you don’t get shivers when Mercury soars as he cries, “Why, WHY, WHYYYYYYYY,” you’re a monster.