“It’s probably the only time in my career I bowed out, because I knew it was going to be a fight… most of that heavy guitar was lost”: Brian May says David Bowie removed his electric guitar riffs on Under Pressure – and he never liked the results

Brian May and David Bowie, in 1980 and 1982 respectively
(Image credit: Rob Verhorst / Armando Gallo / Getty Images)

Queen and Davie Bowie’s 1981 collaboration, Under Pressure, is regarded as one of the most successful cameo pairings of the decade. It propelled both acts further into the commercial stratosphere at a time when Bowie was about to dominate stadiums with his latest reinvention, Let’s Dance, and Queen were at the full height of their majestic rock pomp. 

As a result, Under Pressure topped the charts in several countries, became an essential inclusion in the greatest hits compilations of both acts, arrived right in time for MTV’s launch and then, less than 10 years later, provided a bed for Vanilla Ice to, er, rock the mic like a vandal. 

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month**

Join now for unlimited access

US pricing $3.99 per month or $39.00 per year

UK pricing £2.99 per month or £29.00 per year 

Europe pricing €3.49 per month or €34.00 per year

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Prices from £2.99/$3.99/€3.49

Matt Parker
Features Editor, GuitarWorld.com

Matt is Features Editor for GuitarWorld.com. Before that he spent 10 years as a freelance music journalist, interviewing artists for the likes of Total Guitar, Guitarist, Guitar World, MusicRadar, NME.com, DJ Mag and Electronic Sound. In 2020, he launched CreativeMoney.co.uk, which aims to share the ideas that make creative lifestyles more sustainable. He plays guitar, but should not be allowed near your delay pedals.

With contributions from