September 7, 2015
Freddie Mercury, the incomparable, legendary lead singer for the band Queen, would have been 69-years-old on September 5. To honor his memory, a few of his friends, including Queen’s drummer Roger Taylor and Led Zeppelin‘s John Paul Jones, joined the Foo Fighters in a surprise performance of Queen’s number one hit ‘Under Pressure’ at aconcert held that evening in Buckinghamshire, England.
It was especially fitting, since the venue, the National Bowl, originally called the Milton Keynes Bowl, was also the site at which Queen recorded their DVD and double CD of their 1982 appearance, entitled ‘Queen on Fire – Live at the Bowl.’ Foo Fighter’s Dave Grohl was euphoric about what he called this ‘superdupergroup’, telling the ecstatic audience that night, “something nice and special just happened an hour and a half ago. A couple of our friends turned up and we thought it’d be nice to do a song together.“
Grohl then introduced Roger Taylor and John Paul Jones, who hit the stage to overwhelming cheers and non-stop applause. Added Grohl, “Let me just tell you that the Foo Fighters, right now, are living out our rock ‘n roll fantasy with you tonight.” And the music began flowing over the packed crowd. The tune, originally recorded by Queen and David Bowie, was never performed in front of a live audience by Bowie until the 1992 Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, where Bowie performed it with Annie Lennox, backed by the surviving Queen members. Before Mercury’s death, while on tour, Queen incorporated the song into all their live shows.
Slant Magazine listed ‘Under Pressure’ as the 21st best single of the 1980’s. Mercury has been voted one of the greatest singers in the history of popular music in multiple publications. A 2005 poll by Blender and MTV2 put him at the top of the class. Rolling Stone’s 2008 survey ranked him at number 18 of the top 100 greatest singers ever. When Freddie passed in 1991, the world lost one of the best male rock singers of all time. If you were fortunate enough to have ever seen the original Queen live, there was no musical experience that could compare. When Freddie Mercury was on stage, he held everyone in the audience in the palm of his hand. Freddie, your voice and your presence will always be missed.