Released in 1981, Under Pressure was written and recorded in collaboration with David Bowie and Queen. Originally, the song was a work in progress by Queen provisionally called Feel Like. David Bowie was at Mountain Studios in Montreux, Switzerland initially to provide backing vocals to another Queen song, Cool Cat. During a jam session with Bowie and Queen, Feel Like evolved in to the final version of Under Pressure. Without any promotion, the song went to number one on the UK singles chart and peaked at number 29 on the US Billboard Hot 100. It was included on Queen’s 1982 album Hot Space.
Although Under Pressure became a staple in Queen’s live shows, the song was never performed live with David Bowie. Bowie didn’t perform it live until the 1992 Freddy Mercury Tribute concert as a duet with Annie Lennox and backed by the remaining members of Queen. Later, Bowie often included Under Pressure in his shows, frequently dedicating it to Freddy Mercury.
Due to tour commitments, neither David Bowie or Queen were featured in the video for Under Pressure. Director David Mallet edited together stock footage of everything from traffic jams to explosions to convey the theme of pressure. The video also includes footage from 1920s silent films, Battleship Potemkin, Nosferatu and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.