Did you know that Queen recorded more than just the one track with David Bowie? During a riotous night in Switzerland, the extraordinary meeting of two legendary forces actually created numerous recordings at the band’s Mountain Studios in Montreux. It all came about in a chaotic and spontaneous fashion since Bowie had a home in nearby Vevey. He was famously not happy with the mixing on Under Pressure, which he regarded as unfinished, and even resisted the song’s release. But there are reports of other “fully formed songs” laid down that night in Montreux. Are fans about to hear more?
Peter Hince was queen’s road manager at the time and was there on the night.
Brian May revealed the power plays between Freddie and David Bowie and hinted there were unreleased materials, but Hince confirmed just how much there actually was.
He said: “They … performed some original songs they did together and also covers. They were just jamming in the studio and it all got recorded – All the Young Dudes, All the Way from Memphis and various rock classics.”
And there were definitely new and original songs, according to Hince.
Hince told The Guardian: “I was in the studio with them. It was all quite spontaneous. It was one of those rock’n’roll moments. They were just fooling around and played each other songs. Certainly, there were other tracks recorded with Queen and Bowie, and Freddie singing, which were never released. Pretty raw, but original material definitely. They were just incredibly spontaneous, good musicians.
“I can categorically say I know that there were complete tracks, not mixed tracks, but fully formed songs that were done. Does it belong to the David Bowie estate or to Queen? That’s probably part of the reason these things have never come to light.”
Roger Taylor described the whole affair in typically blunt manner: “Well, I think the process was we were all drunk and in the studio and we were, just for fun, we were playing all sorts of old songs, and then a couple of Cream songs, and whatever came into our heads.”
Bowie later described the experience as “totally spontaneous, it certainly wasn’t planned. It was… peculiar.”
He regarded Under Pressure as unfinished, unhappy with the mixing, so it is likely the other tracks were never intended to see the light of day until they properly mastered. But where are they now?
May teased: “And not all of what we did in those sessions has ever come to light, so there’s a thought…”