In an interview with Record Collector, Taylor reveals how the wine and cocaine-fuelled sessions at Mountain Studios in Montreux, Switzerland, saw Queen and Bowie jamming on “whatever came into our head.” But were the performances recorded?
“If we look to the archives, yeah, there’s probably stuff,” says Taylor. “We would do the odd thing like covering old Cream songs. I remember we did NSU and I Feel Free, just for a laugh really, and then we decided, ‘Let’s write one for ourselves.’”
That song, of course, was Under Pressure, Queen’s second UK number one single. It was later included on the Hot Space album, and on the US version of Greatest Hits. And 12 years later, Bowie would release his own version of I Feel Free on his Black Tie White Noise album.
In the wake of David Bowie’s death in 2016, Queen guitarist Brian May described how Bowie latched on to the signature bass line in the early part of the jam.
May said: “Each of us went into the vocal booth consecutively, without listening to each other, and, listening to the track, vocalised the first things that came into our heads, including any words which came to mind.
“The next step was to cut up everybody’s bits and make a kind of compilation ‘best of’ vocal track.
“We all backed off and David put down a lyric which now focussed on the ‘under pressure’ part of the existing lyric. It was unusual for us all to relinquish control like that but really David was having a genius moment.”
This Friday, Queen will launch a new, 50-week YouTube series entitled The Greatest, while other recent news from the band includes Brian May revealing his favourite ever guitar solo, and the launch of Queen’s first mobile game.