Remembering David Bowie & Annie Lennox’s Incredible “Under Pressure” Rehearsal with Queen in 1992

Remembering David Bowie & Annie Lennox’s Incredible “Under Pressure” Rehearsal with Queen in 1992

Posted 27 Jul 2021
annie lennox, david bowie
Annie Lennox & David Bowie. Photo by Kevin Mazur Archive/WireImage/Getty Images. 

Looking back at rehearsal footage of David Bowie and Annie Lennox performing “Under Pressure” in 1992 with Queen is a majestic reminder of the icons' glittering legacy!

The footage below takes us behind-the-scenes at rehearsals for the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert at Wembley Stadium held in honour of legendary Queen frontman, Freddie Mercury, who had died from AIDS just months earlier. An audience of around 72,000 attended the mammoth concert, while up to one billion… yes billion… tuned into the live television broadcast that went out to 76 countries around the world. All profits were donated to AIDS charities.

Eurythmics singer, Annie Lennox was recruited to perform Mercury’s vocals on David Bowie and Queen’s classic collaborative single – and it’s no small task! Lennox’s incredible range stands up to the challenge of Mercury’s winding scales, matched by Bowie’s own unstoppable performance is a powerful reminder of the Starman’s sheer vocal talents, too often overshadowed by his radiant aesthetics. 

Enjoy David Bowie and Annie Lennox’s magnificent rehearsal of “Under Pressure” at Wembley Stadium in 1992 below – watch closely to spot a young George Michael and Seal looking on in awe. 

David Bowie & Annie Lennox | “Under Pressure”  [FMT Rehearsal, 1992]

“Under Pressure” was originally written between Bowie and Mercury during a marathon recording session in the Swiss mountains. In Mark Blake’s book Is This the Real Life?: The Untold Story of Freddie Mercury and Queen, drummer Roger Taylor recalled: “David came in one night and we were playing other people’s songs for fun, just jamming… in the end, David said, ‘This is stupid, why don’t we just write one?'”

“We felt our way through a backing track all together as an ensemble,” recalled Brian May. “When the backing track was done, David said, ‘Okay, lets each of us go in the vocal booth and sing how we think the melody should go–just off the top of our heads–and we’ll compile a vocal out of that’. And that’s what we did.’ Some of these improvisations, including Mercury’s memorable introductory scatting vocal, would endure on the finished track. Bowie also insisted that he and Mercury shouldn’t hear what the other had sung, swapping verses blind, which helped give the song its cut-and-paste feel.”

Queen & David Bowie | “Under Pressure”

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