Quotes related to 'Hot Space' album

About the album

From beginning to end it took about nine months. But we weren't in there solidly - we did a few tours in between. The actual recording-time was between four and five months. Quite a long time really.

Brian May; Queen after 11 years, Steve Gett, 1982

As a group, we do not have a single direction. We’re four very different people. I do feel we’re more democratic than any group I’ve come across. But that means there’s always compromise—no one ever gets his own way totally. We’re always pushing four different directions, not quite sure where the equilibrium position is, for balance. We fought about arriving at a sensible format for Hot Space, then decided to push into a very rhythmic and sparse area, disciplining out all the indulgences we’ve been used to putting in. We felt our fans would take it as another experiment. But we found we’d stepped out—at last!—from the music people felt they could expect from us. Other times, we felt we’d made big departures, but no one raised an eyebrow. Now it was strange to discover that fans really did get upset, and in some cases, gave us a lot of stick.

Brian May; Back To Where He Once Belonged, Faces magazine, 1984

I'm not mad about "Jazz", "Hot Space" and ... another.

Roger Taylor; Radio 5 live, 14 October 1998

About 'Back Chat'

[rhythm guitar sound] That's because John played that. John has played a lot of rhythm stuff.

Brian May; Guitar Player magazine, January, 1983

To be honest, there wasn't going to be a guitar solo on there, ‘cause John Deacon, whose song it is, has gone perhaps more violently black than any of us, really. We had loads of arguments about this and what he was heading for on his tracks, really, was a total non-compromise situation, doing the black stuff as the R'n'B artist would do it, and no concessions to our methods at all, and I was trying to edge him a little bit back into the central path, and trying to get a bit of heaviness into it and a bit of the anger that rock music puts into it. So, it was just one night, I said, “look, let me go in there and see what I can do.” Because I didn't feel the song, as it stood, was aggressive enough, ‘cause it's [titled] Back Chat, it's supposed to be about people arguing.

Brian May; BBC Radio One, June 1982

John's song. Interesting, musically, I think, because John, of course, brought this very separate influence into the band. It turned out to be one of the great strengths, I think. You know, John really wasn't into heavy metal or the kind of stuff that Roger and I were into, Zeppelin or The Who or whatever. He was into funk stuff and he really, at certain times in our history, brought that influence back in very strongly. This track is very sort of sparse and funky, and it's got John playing this motif guitar, that's not me playing - although I'm probably miming it in the video.

Brian May; Greatest Video Hits II, 2003

This doesn't rate as one of my favourites at all. The best thing in this song is the percussion solo - but I would say that, wouldn't I? Nice guitar, there. I think we got sidetracked with the enormous success of Another One Bites the Dust down a route that wasn't really us. The guitars are the best thing in this one, and the percussion solo.

Roger Taylor; Greatest Video Hits II, 2003

About 'Body Language'

There's a lot of things where I felt that we became so obsessed with the rhythm side that we were afraid to turn up the guitars. Afraid to use the guitar as a force.

Brian May; Queen after 11 years, Steve Gett, 1982

In fact, I can remember having a go at Freddie because some of the stuff he was writing was very definitely on the gay side. I remember saying, "it would be nice if this stuff could be universally applicable, because we have friends out there of every persuasion." It's nice to involve people. What it's not nice to do is rope people out. And I felt kind of roped out by something that was very overtly a gay anthem, like "Body Language". I thought it was very hard to take that in the other way.

Brian May; Guitar World, October 1998

I just heard yesterday [the album] has gone into the cashbox top ten, which is great, it's amazing, cause it usually takes months to get there in America, their chart is very slow, and the single is number seventeen, I think, in all the charts, is going up very quickly, it's great. Body Language was a bit of a flop here, in England, it really didn't catch on in England at all. And, you know, perhaps it was a mistake, I thought it was an interesting different record for us to make, and I think, of its type, I think it's a good record. I feel there's a lot of anti-reaction to it, so we're bringing out something which is slightly more in our sort of known style called Las Palabras de Amor.

Roger Taylor; Elland Road Stadium in Leeds, 29th of May 1982

Some records out now are all keyboards. Songs like Don't You Want Me Baby? don't have a guitar on them. That's mainly because keyboards have gotten better over the years. It's now very easy to get a nice full bass sound out of them. My role actually shrank with the use of keyboards. It now gives the group direct expression for a non-bassist to play their own bass line. Some of the track on the album - like Body Language - were Freddie on keyboard bass. Brian played [synth] bass on Dancer. So I'm redundant in a sense.

John Deacon; International Musician & Recording World, 21st of July 1982

I don't think any of us is ever happy with all of an album. There are a few mixes on this one which I would have done differently had it just been me producing. But it's not - it's the four of us. And it's a democratic arrangement. Generally, if we can come to a solution by argument we do, but if not then the author of the song has the final say. There are some things on the album which I felt came out too light, that's all, [such as] Body Language. There's a lot of things where I felt that we became so obsessed with the rhythm side that we were afraid to turn up the guitars. Afraid to use the guitar as a force.

Brian May; Circus, summer 1982

I can remember having a go at Freddie because some of the stuff he was writing was very definitely on the gay side. I remember saying, “It would be nice if this stuff could be universally applicable, because we have friends out there of every persuasion.” It's nice to involve people. What is not nice to do is rope people out. And I felt kind of roped out by something that was very overtly a gay anthem, like Body Language. I thought it was very hard to take that in the other way. It's hard to talk about this. But there you go.

Brian May; Guitar World, October 1998

This is very much a Freddie thing, the Body Language thing, and I think we were all a bit wondering how far he was gonna go in this direction. Freddie was very into it, it was very much a sort of, you know, a sexy thing for him, fulfilment of a fantasy, but this time he was very, you know, in his private life, very much immersed in the gay world, so I think that among the people he moved in this was something that they loved, probably something they were waiting for him to do. This is one of the great things about Freddie, though, he'd get a thing into his head and he would pursue it to the nth degree, you know, a mark of the true extremist, which Freddie totally was and it's an essential ingredient of what we were. I guess we're all extremist in one way or another within the band, but Freddie certainly cornered this part of the market. I think, as a song, it's pretty well-constructed. It's very deliberately pulled away from the normal Queen sound.

Brian May; Greatest Video Hits II, 2003

I think it was a bigger hit in America, I think it made the top ten there [sic] but, not an obvious record.  It's very... quite sort of with heavy gay overtones, I suppose, in a way, very steamy, clubby, not really us, but not a bad record of its type.

Roger Taylor; Greatest Video Hits II, 2003

The single, Body Language, and the video, weren't quite to my tastes. This was Freddie exploring the music of the gay clubs, which was fine. But also one of the rare occasions when I think he was a little selfish with the video. The rest of us were pushed into the background.

Brian May; Mojo, July 2019

About 'Calling All Girls'

[rhythm sound] That's a combination of acoustic and electric guitar. I think Roger did the feed-back tracks near the end of the break. You never know where things come from. Roger played a lot of guitar. He's always bursting to play guitar.

Brian May; Guitar Player magazine, January, 1983

I don't quite know why anyone thought this was gonna be a hit. It wasn't. It didn't really work as sort of a hit single. I'd say it's a very nicely recorded track, it's got a lovely light eerie feel to it, though it's got a heaviness too in the guitars. I think the message of love which Roger was trying to put across - Roger being the principal writer of the song - is kind of a little lost in this video. But there again, I shouldn't be negative.

Brian May; Greatest Video Hits II, 2003

It is my song - I'd forgotten that! It is actually one of mine. It's just meant to be really a pop song, about love, “calling all girls, calling all boys, around the world,” and I don't actually know what's it got to do with these fucking robots, to be honest. Pop stars, rock stars... they shouldn't act - ‘cause they can't! [The video] is absolutely daft, in all these very old cameras - looks like a Doctor Who episode. We look daft - we look ridiculous. It's good when it gets to the end, ‘cause it's over!

Roger Taylor; Greatest Video Hits II, 2003

About 'Cool Cat'

David just did a backing track. I don't think anyone thought any more about it, except that it was a nice ornamentation. We just sent him a courtesy note telling him that we had used it and he said, “I want it taken off, because I'm not satisfied with it.” Unfortunately he didn't tell us until about a day before the album was supposed to be released, so it really set us back. It delayed the album's release.

Brian May; International Musician & Recording World, 21st of July 1982

[David Bowie] did sort of, like, backing vocals on one of my songs, that was on the album, that was not Under Pressure, that's another one, and when it came to be released, I mean, he didn't like what he did, and I was like, “asshole, tells me right at the tail end when the thing's just about to come out.” So anyway, it's just artistic licence, he just didn't like his voice, right when it was about to come out, and I said, “fine.” It's quite easy, all I do is erase his vocal. He didn't do any in-depth vocal at all, it was just a background, just background vocals, he just didn't like it. I think it was unnecessary but, I mean, no, I'm not one of those bitchy queens, no, he's alright, he's OK.

Freddie Mercury; Radio Nineteen-Ninety, 1984

About 'Dancer'

On using slide: No, that's guitar in parallel harmonies. Those aren't my favorite harmonies, really. I much prefer guitar harmonies which aren't parallel. There are very few people who have done them. The real interest in guitar harmonies comes from when they're crossing over, diverging, and converging. Somehow on "Dancer" it seemed right to do those parallels.

Brian May; Guitar Player magazine, January, 1983

We were thinking about rhythm before anything else, so in some cases like Dancer the backing track was there a long time before the actual song was properly pieced together. We would experiment with the rhythm and the bass and drum track and get that sounding right, and then very cautiously piece the rest around it, which was an experimental way for us to do it, this way.

Brian May; BBC Radio One, June 1982

Some records out now are all keyboards. Songs like Don't You Want Me Baby? don't have a guitar on them. That's mainly because keyboards have gotten better over the years. It's now very easy to get a nice full bass sound out of them. My role actually shrank with the use of keyboards. It now gives the group direct expression for a non-bassist to play their own bass line. Some of the track on the album - like Body Language - were Freddie on keyboard bass. Brian played [synth] bass on Dancer. So I'm redundant in a sense.

John Deacon; International Musician & Recording World, 21st of July 1982

That's guitar in parallel harmonies. Those aren't my favourite harmonies, really. I much prefer guitar harmonies which aren't parallel - there are very few people who have done them. The real interest in guitar harmonies comes from when they're crossing over, diverging, and converging. Somehow, on Dancer, it seemed right to do those parallels.

Brian May; On the Record, 1982

About 'Las Palabras De Amor'

I write best when I'm not on guitar; maybe a few riffs or the basis, but strangely enough, you usually get the most perspective on a song when you're on an instrument that you're not accustomed to. I'm not accustomed to playing the piano and I find that quite inspiring, because your fingers fall on different patterns. Whereas on a guitar, I pick it up and know where my fingers are going to fall. Mostly I sit alone someplace and think about it. That's the best way. I don't think my songwriting has changed as much as the others in the group. I tend to write more traditional Queen material like Las Palabras De Amor. I still tend to write melodies and that certain sort of heaviness, which the group does well at its best; the guitar and piano which have that sort of thick sound. I really enjoy that, although these days it's used a little bit more sparingly.

Brian May; International Musician & Recording World, 21st of July 1982

For the record, as far as I remember, I played piano on: Doin' All Right, Father to Son, Now I'm Here, Dear Friends, Teo Toriatte, All Dead All Dead. Notably NOT on Sail Away Sweet Sister - I got Freddie to learn it and play it with Roger and John for the backing track - I wanted his marvellous rhythm and percussive feel on piano - but yes on Save Me, Las Palabras de Amor, Flash and The Hero (plus organ on the Wedding). But from here on in we began using synthesisers and there were many excursions from us all into keyboard territory… The only pure piece of piano from this era from me is Forever - which was a doodle done live in the studio which I rescued for a bonus track later on.

Brian May; Official Website, 23rd of April 2003

The minimalist era of Queen, liked by some and not by others. But this particular track, it was rather un-minimalist, nestled in the bosom of Hot Space is this track which is rather romantic. It's a very subtle song for Queen, this, of course, it's not the usual kind of overkill, and a sort of wistful atmosphere to it. It was born of my sort of feelings about the Spanish-speaking world, I suppose.  I was playing keyboards on this, as you see in the video. I played more and more keyboards as time went on with the Queen tracks, as Freddie seemed to be less inclined to play keyboards, and some of the ideas came off keyboards rather than guitars, sometimes it's a good idea, gets you away from the usual kind of ruts of guitar playing. Rather understated, this, for a Queen track, which I like, it's nice that we were able to go in this direction as well, painted with a very light brush.

Brian May; Greatest Video Hits II, 2003

About 'Life Is Real'

I basically write the tune. I write the song around the melody most of the time. Sometimes a lyric will get me started. Life Is Real was one of those, because the words came first. I just really got into it, pages after pages, all kinds of words. Then I just put it to a song. I just felt that it could be a Lennon-type thing.

Freddie Mercury; International Musician & Recording World, 21st of July 1982

The creative process which marked the emergence of the strangely autobiographical Life Is Real started thirty thousand feet up in the air over the Atlantic. We were flying back from New York to London on our way to Switzerland, paying no particular attention to anything when Freddie turned round and said, “Where's your paper and pen? I've just come up with some words.” I always had to ensure that I carried with me, wherever we were, paper and pen for just such an occasion as this.  “Go ahead,” I said. “Cunt stains on my pillow,” he replied sotto voce with a naughty grin. I think my face must have given away something because he then turned round and said, “D'you think that's too much?” He then changed the words to “Cum stains on my pillow?” To which I replied, “Next!” To which he replied with a giggle, “Oh, really! This is too much!” I can see us now, reclining on the first class chairs at the front of the plane. He thought about it for another couple of minutes and finally came up with what is now the classic line, “Guilt stains on my pillow!” For the next hour or so, Freddie'd come out with phrases, not necessarily sequential but always following the same concept. We therefore disembarked in Montreux with several pages of entirely unconnected lyric lines for a song without a title. Freddie often took the opportunity himself to jot down a couple of lines which had come into his head. On my pad there is a sheet where he has written, “Please, feel free, Strain all my love from me…” To the best of my knowledge, this couplet was wisely filed away for future use... When we finally got into the studio from the airport, he sat down at a piano and just started playing. He would let his fingers play over the keys until a tune with which he was happy was finalised. Tape was always rolling in case a gem should get away. Perhaps he might just play chords and then progression from those chord bases. The rhythm was dictated by the feeling and mood of the lyrics of the song and the time signature and beat dictated by the metre of the dominant lyric lines. Every song had a working title although the final choice would not be made until the end. Everyone would throw ideas for song titles into the arena. Only the fittest survived.

Peter Freestone; An Intimate Memoir, 2001

It's a song which wasn't a hit, but very much from Freddie's heart, and [Kerry Ellis and myself] love it, it has a stark reality to it. It talks about the way Freddie saw life. In Bohemian Rhapsody, you get, “nothing really matters,” but in Life Is Real you get what he feels when he wakes up in the morning, which is a massive stuff which is hard to articulate, and I think it's a very brave song. He expresses his guilt and his fears. It's not a rockstar song - it's not like, “hey, how great it is to get drunk!” It's a song about, really, the vulnerability that he feels inside, so I love this stuff.

Brian May; Press Conference in Milan, 26th of February 2016

About 'Put Out The Fire'

[difficult solo] Actually, it was. I don't really know why. That wasn't a first take. I had done a lot of solos for that - hated every one of them. And then we came back from a club where we used to go to have some drinks. I think I was well on the way - you know, we were all plucked out and slightly inebriated - and we had ridiculous echo effect with Mack was putting back through the cans. I said, "That sounds unbelivable! I want to put it on every track [laughs]". He said "Okay, try "Put Out The Fire". So we put it on the machine, and I just played though it. That was what we used. It was inspiring, like these huge stereo echo sounds coming from all over the place. I could hardly hear what I was doing, but it was sounding so good and I was so drunk. To be honest, I don't think it's that good a solo. It's got a sort of plodding thing going behind it; I never felt totally happy with it.

Brian May; Guitar Player magazine, January, 1983

It was something about guns, really, that's where it came from, I suppose brought to life by the climate around John Lennon's death. I think putting out the fire in many areas is a good idea.

Brian May; BBC Radio One, June 1982

I still stand by this song, although now I feel there were flaws in the way it was recorded… maybe I'll have another go some day. I still think the gun is one of the most hideous inventions this planet has ever seen, giving a weak man the ability to throw lumps of lead into the bodies of his fellow men, and any other creature around him. Maybe that's where the human race really went wrong. And Nature became irrevocably unbalanced. Yes, I did play with toy cap guns as a kid. I had no idea of the reality. But as a grown-up .... I want all weapons thrown on the fire forever.

Brian May; Official Website, 20th of August 2009

In my Universe, without a shred of doubt, guns would be banned. Zero tolerance for possessing a firearm. If you listen to Put Out the Fire, a QUEEN song which I wrote God knows how many years ago, you can tell where my feelings have always been. The older you grow, the more you understand ... and the more awfulness you see. As with fox-hunting, any decent, sensible person can plainly see there is no excuse for having weapons of killing at a distance out there in the hands of the public. The kind of people who want to have guns are exactly the kind of people who should not be allowed to have them. Yet we are bullied into accepting that they have to be out there. Like I said, the deeper you look, the more the patterns become clear. In the USA, the National Riflemen's [sic] Association grinds away, with huge money and power behind it, defending the “Right to Bear Arms” - a justifying phrase glibly quoted from the US constitution which was actually almost certainly put there to make it possible to defend the USA against invaders from outside, not inside. That's what inspired my song - together with the fact that they come up with slogans like “Guns don't kill people - people kill people” - as if the fact that firearms are readily available over the counter had nothing to do with it.  Did you ever see Michael Moore's “Bowling for Columbine”? Well, the USA has the NRA, and now we have the “Countryside Alliance”. They're [sic] both peddle the same horrors. Guns equate with violence - violence against people, mammals, birds ... It's a “freedom” - the kind of freedom which infringes other people's freedom - but they don't care. That is characteristic of the breed. Guns satisfy a perverted need for power in some people. Around this group of gun-toters is another breed - the breed that makes serious MONEY out of the perverted need of the shooters. The money provides power. The power is used to put politicians in place in government who will protect the whole filthy business. And there you have it. Enter Cameron and co. Watch the new Core Conservatives resist any attempt by concerned normal people to prohibit guns. Or any attempt to stop red-coated sadists torturing wild animals. Watch them. And wonder why. Why.

Brian May; Official Website, 6th of June 2010

About 'Staying Power'

There's a bitch of a song to sing.

Freddie Mercury; Kassel Sportshall, 18th of May 1982

This is is a song from our Hot Space album, which really sold fucking dreadfully. I can be honest, but that doesn't mean we don't do the songs. This is one of my songs.

Freddie Mercury; Wembley Arena, 7th of September 1984

One night I was told that the following morning I was booked on the eleven o'clock flight to New York to take a slave/master tape of Staying Power to Arif Mardin in the Atlantic building. I gave Arif the tape about six p.m. He worked overnight so that he could record the brass arrangement he had written in order that I should be able to leave the morning after to return it for further work by the band in Europe.

Peter Freestone; An Intimate Memoir, 2001

Deacy can be seen in Staying Power trading his bass for a rhythm guitar .... something he had a great talent for …

Brian May; Official Website, 1st of November 2004

I was pleasantly surprised by all the energy [at The Bowl in Milton Keynes]. Back Chat and Staying Power had a life of their own. I think we got bogged down in the studio. There was always a new machine back then - and they were all out of date and being used as coffee tables within six months. Blame the ‘80s. There was a lot of awful dreadful shit in the ‘80s.

Roger Taylor; Q, March 2005

In Hot Space's formation, there came a point when one band member would not go into the studio if another member was there.

Peter Freestone; Technologies of Genre, 18th of November 2008

About 'Under Pressure'

[Vanilla Ice] I'll tell you what happened. Our Fan Club lady heard it and she went out and found the record, brought it back and played it and said, 'Have you heard this?' I think it sounds like Under Pressure, and we thought, yes he definitely stole 'Under Pressure'. And I said, I don't think it's going to matter, cause no ones going to buy it, obviously, you know, it doesn't sound that good. And then... a couple of weeks later, it was number one in the US and a couple of weeks after that it was number one every place else in the world. So I'll admit my mistake. A big seller, it did very well, and good luck to the guy.........except that he should have given us some credit, and some royalties. But it's been sorted out folks because uhm, we didn't sue him but Hollywood Records did. Hollywood, who'd just spent millions of dollars on buying our catalogue said, ohy- ohy, this guy is pillaging the Queen catalogue, so we're going to make sure he pays, so they did. So now we get royalties on what he did with that track.

Brian May; Kristy Knight with Brian, Canadian Radio 97.7 HTZ. FM, 1991

We are especially happy as at the time of writing our single with DB and Greatest Hits album are no. 1 in the UK and there ain't no higher than that. Thank you so much - sincerely from the bottom of our hearts and Aston Martins! Oops! Between you and moi it was so satisfying to knock those damned upstarts Police & Ants etc off the top. There's life in these dogs yet you know! P.S. Disregard this if fans of either. PP.S. If you are, you should have your ears syringed and your eyebrows permed.

Roger Taylor; letter to the Fan Club, winter 1981

Well, [David Bowie] lives near our studios in a little town named Montreux, and when we were there he'd often come over and see us, chat, have a drink, and then we just worked on one particular idea - which became Under Pressure - for a whole night, an extremely long night. It was truly collaborative, particularly in the beginning when we were setting down the backing track, everyone was contributing ideas and we were working together quite well. As the evening progressed, it became more and more difficult because we all had different ideas of how it should shape up, and we're used to the four of us arguing together but when there's someone else there who's considerably more pig-headed than any of us, it becomes difficult to even find any kind of compromise, so in the end I sort of let them get on with it, to be honest.

Brian May; BBC Radio One, June 1982

I use Fender bass mainly, which I've used for years. I have one that I use most of the time; a Fender Precision. Just last year I met some of the people from the Fender factory in Los Angeles. They actually gave me one. When you're struggling and can't afford one… but when you're successful, they give you one. It's quite nice; a Fender Precision Special. The old ones just have volume and tone. Now they have three knobs: volume, bass and treble. That's quite nice. I used that guitar on Under Pressure.

John Deacon; International Musician & Recording World, 21st of July 1982

This is a very long story. He was quite difficult to work with, because it was the meeting of two different methods of working. It was stimulating, but at the same time, almost impossible to resolve. We're very pigheaded and set in our ways and Mr Bowie is too. In fact, he's probably as pigheaded as the four of us put together. I think it was a worthwhile thing to do. But after Under Pressure was done, there were continual disagreements about how it should be put out or if it should even be put out at all. David wanted to redo the entire thing. I had given up by that time because it had gone a long way from what I would have liked to see. But there is still a lot of good stuff in the song. There was a compromise; Freddie, David and Mack actually sat down and produced a mix – under a lot of strain. Roger was also along to keep the peace to some extent, because he and David are friends.

Brian May; International Musician & Recording World, 21st of July 1982

In certain cases there is some sort of meaning. Just providing entertainment is some sort of meaning. Freddie always grandly dismisses it as being disposable. There's no grand design behind our music. We're basically here to entertain people; hopefully with intelligently made music and not production line music. We like to change. We like to say things, but the lyrics are not profound. Everybody laughed when they asked what Under Pressure was all about. It's quite simply about love, which is the most uncool, unhip thing.

Roger Taylor; International Musician & Recording World, 21st of July 1982

Roger and Freddie and David had been friends for a long time, and he just came in to the studio we were in and we did a jam session. The song itself is mainly David's and Freddie's idea, but we were all included in the credits. It was an interesting experience, because David wrote the bass-line, he's responsible for it. He's a talented man, and that song is one of those that I really like.

John Deacon; Viva Rock, December 1982

Bowie had used the studio to record the Lodger album. He and Freddie and I have been friends for the past few years. Under Pressure was a spontaneous collaboration. We started out just playing some old songs, then worked on a few ideas and liked Under Pressure very much, so we finished it.

Roger Taylor; Circus, 1982

That was through Dave Richards, the engineer at the studio. I was in town, in Montreux, doing some other work there, and because I believe that Queen have something to do with the studio on a business level, I think it's their studio or something like that and they were recording there, and David knew that I was in town and phoned me up and asked me to come down, if I'd like to come down to see what was happening, so I went down, and these things happen you know. Suddenly you're writing something together, and it was totally spontaneous, it certainly wasn't planned. It was, er, peculiar.

David Bowie; video interview, ~1983

On the album, the track was credited to Bowie and Queen, but in fact it was essentially Freddie, although we all contributed. The bass line came from David, it took me a certain time to learn it. But there was also a strong influence from Brian on the middle part. It was an interesting experience which we might do repeat if we have a chance with David and other people.

John Deacon; interview in France, September 1984

We were friends from a long time back and we were in Montreux, in Switzerland. We own a studio there, so we're working there and he lives there. He just happened to be there, and he kept coming to the studio, listening to our tracks, and we were jamming to some of his old songs, and one day we were having dinner and after that we were going back into the studio to carry on with the session, and it just happened: he just said “oh, why don't we just fool around and get something started and see what happens?” And, you know, started playing the piano, and the rest of the band were there and we started putting something down and Under Pressure started to build.

Freddie Mercury; Radio Nineteen-Ninety, 1984

The first of the two sessions for Under Pressure was twenty-four hours and the second, a couple of weeks later and 4,000 miles away in New York when Freddie and Bowie finished off the track at the Power Station, was a session which lasted another eighteen hours. Under Pressure came about purely spontaneously. Bowie, who was living in Montreux, heard that Queen were in town and just called round to the studio. Roger and Bowie got on very well anyway, although the lyric and title idea came from Freddie's and David's collaboration. The impromptu jam session soon assumed the 24-hour marathon shape I've described. I was overjoyed in New York when Freddie took up my suggestion of the two-octave vocal slide which I had noticed being so successfully used on another current chart disco track.

Peter Freestone; An Intimate Memoir, 2001

David was living in Switzerland, where we were recording in a studio we owned at the time in Montreux. He basically just popped in to see us. Freddie had met him before. We all had a little chart and then went straight in the studio and started playing around. We played a few old songs and then something new started to happen and we said, “Okay, let's try and record this.” It was a truly spontaneous thing. We felt our way through a backing track all together as an ensemble. And then David brought up an unusual idea for creating the vocal. He was kind of famous for writing lyrics by collecting different bits of paper with quotes on them. And we did a corresponding thing as regards writing the top line for the song. 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 tops of our heads - and we'll compile a vocal out of that.” And that's what we did. Some of the original bits even made it onto the record. Freddie going “b-b-b-boom-ba,” that scat singing stuff, was part of the initial track he went in and did off the top of his head. Odd, isn't it? That's why the words are so curious - some of them, anyway. There was a point where somebody had to take control, and I think it's fair to say that David took the reins and decided that he wanted to rationalize the lyrics and them say what he felt they should say.

Brian May; Guitar World, October 2002

The story of this song is complex, really: we just happened to be in the studio, really, with David. He just dropped in and we started off jamming, playing around, and I think we went out for some food and we thought, “oh, wouldn't it be fun to kick around some original ideas?” John came up with the riff which starts it all off. We all got into it - suddenly I remember putting in the heavy chords stuff. And then it came to the point of, “What is this song about and what's the melody line?”, and David came up with the idea of us all going in one after the other and singing what we thought the tune should be - I think he'd already done this with some other people prior to that. We sat down and chose bits of everything, it was really done in an odd way – I know David was very into it at the time, the idea of putting newspaper clippings together as well to make lyrics was one of David's things - so that gave you the tune and, really, at that point, David started to feel very strongly about what he felt the song was about so he wrote a set of lyrics. First of all it was called People on Streets, but then he wanted to revise it and it became slightly more abstract, it became Under Pressure.

Brian May; Greatest Video Hits II, 2003

It wasn't the best recording we ever made but it was one of the best songs we ever did, I think. It was a really ace song and I loved it, thoroughly enjoyed it, and it sort of endured quite well - I hear it quite often on the radio and I love the last section.

Roger Taylor; Greatest Video Hits II, 2003

It was evolved in an unusual way, which David really brought to the table, wherein we worked on the backing track together, and we sort of, felt our way through it. But once we had a backing track which we liked, David's idea was to get everybody to go into the vocal booth and just sing the first thing that came into their heads. And what would then happen would be, we would compile it and see if it suggested the way the song should go, and some of those takes from Freddie survived to the final vocal, strangely enough, including this bit, I think, and the sort of, ad-libbing bits. But then, it was David who really got up a couple of days later and decided what the song should be about. So the song kind of, does sound like a jigsaw puzzle, but I think it works amazingly well. Some great hooks. It's one of the songs which doesn't seem to date as well I must say. It always has something to say.

Brian May; Absolute Greatest, 11th of November 2009

A true collaboration between ourselves and David Bowie in one very long night in Montreux, in Switzerland. It was originally actually called People on Streets, and he suddenly decided that it should be called Under Pressure, which I think is a better title on reflection, really. And I remember that when he and Freddie were trying the lead vocals, just trying whatever, the other one wasn't allowed to hear what the one singing was actually doing, so they were sort of, doing it blind, and then it was a sort of, cut-and-paste thing after that, wasn't it? Sorting through what the ideas that they'd had individually. It has a great heart and soul, this song. It's one of my personal favourites.

Roger Taylor; Absolute Greatest, 11th of November 2009

For me it was a great pleasure. I think [David Bowie] is one of the most talented people I've ever worked with or met and he just sings so well and has got such presence and he's got an incredible catalogue of wonderful songs and a huge range and imagination and it was just a pleasure.

Roger Taylor; VH1 Classic Radio, 19th of April 2011

I think the process was we were all drunk in the studio, and just for fun we were playing all sorts of old songs - I remember a couple of Cream songs - and whatever came into our heads, and I think David said, “look, hang on a minute, why don't we write our own?” I think he started on piano. We got this backing track down, and we got the riff and we got the bass thing together, so we had this pretty good backing track, and Freddie and David would go in and have a go and just sing what came into their heads but one wasn't allowed to listen to the other, and it was quite amusing and this sort of went through the night and then we had this sort of strange track the other day.

Roger Taylor; Absolute Radio, 17th of August 2011

David Bowie and we guys from Queen came from the same country, of course… and quite close by, in London, at that. But we only hooked up properly because of a coincidence. We all happened to be in a sleepy little town called Montreux in Switzerland at the same time. In the 70s we worked at the small studio there, Mountain Studios, with David Richards, and liked it so much we bought it, and continued to work there until Freddie's passing many years later. David Bowie had actually settled in Switzerland to live, very close by, and since we already knew him a little, he popped in to say hello one day while we were recording. Now time dims the memory a little, but the way I remember it we all very quickly decided that the best way to get to know each other was to play together. So we all bowled down into the studio and picked up our instruments. We had fun kicking around a few fragments of songs we all knew. But then we decided it would be great to create something new, on the spur of the moment. We all brought stuff to the table, and my contribution was a heavy riff in D which was lurking in my head. But what we got excited about was a riff which Deacy began playing, 6 notes the same, then one note a fourth down. Ding-Ding-Ding Diddle Ing-Ding, you might say. But suddenly hunger took over and we repaired to a local restaurant for food and a fair amount of drink. A couple or three hours later, we're back in the studio. “What was that riff, you had, Deacy?” says David B. “It was like this,” says John Deacon. “No it wasn't,” says Bowie - “it was like this.” This was a funny moment because I can just see DB going over and putting his hand on John's fretting hand and stopping him. It was also a tense moment because it could have gone either way. Deacy did not take kindly to being told what to do, especially by physical interferences while he was playing! But he was good-natured, and it all went ahead. Then we began playing around – using the riff as a starting point. Now normally, if it had been just us, we probably would have gone away and thought about it, and started mapping out a song structure. David said something like “We should just press on instinctively. Something will happen.” And he was right. It did. I put a little tinkling guitar riff on top of John's bass riff (David later was adamant it ought to be played on a 12-string, so I overdubbed that later at some point). And then we all mucked in with ideas to develop a backing track. The track had something that sounded like a verse, then a quiet contemplative bit, which built up ready for a climax. I managed to get my heavy riff in here. I remember saying ... “cool - it sounds like The Who!” At which point David frowned a little and said “It won't sound like The Who by the time we're finished!” When it came to mixing the track, I, (uncharacteristically, since I was usually the last one left in the studio of a night), opted out altogether, so that there were fewer cooks to spoil the broth. Roger hung right in there – and Roger, who had been a fan of Bowie from way back, was very instrumental in making sure the track got finished. In fact it didn't get mixed until a few weeks later in New York. That's a whole different story, but I wasn't there, so all I know is that Freddie and David had different views of how the mix should be done, and the engineer didn't completely know how the studio worked! So it ended up as a compromise... a quick rough monitor mix. But that was what became the finished album track, and a single too, which made a mark all around the world. Never predictable, never classifiable, immensely lateral thinking and fearless, he stands as one of Britain's greatest musical creators. I'm certainly proud to have worked with him. RIP David.

Brian May; Official Website, 11th of January 2016

We have a lot of songs I like and I wouldn't really put one of them above all the others. I do have a special fondness for Under Pressure because it was great fun and I loved everybody and we had so much fun and personal satisfaction making that record and it has something to say as well. Favourites, I have lots.

Roger Taylor; NHK World Japan, 12th of December 2018

Queen and David Bowie is a story in itself. At the time I wasn't happy about the mix. Looking back, I still think it's a very special song.

Brian May; Mojo, July 2019

Under Pressure I still love. I enjoyed working with Bowie and wish we'd done more together, though I'm not sure everyone enjoyed it as much as I did.

Roger Taylor; Mojo, July 2019