Queen and David Bowie may have recorded two Cream covers, Roger Taylor reveals

18 March 2021, 10:08 | Updated: 16 January 2024, 11:46

David Bowie and Freddie Mercury
David Bowie and Freddie Mercury. Picture: Getty

By Cloe Lee

Queen drummer Roger Taylor has revealed that the band recorded covers of two Cream songs with David Bowie.

In a new interview with Queen drummer Roger Taylor and guitarist Brian May, an insight is gained into the Switzerland recording sessions that birthed the anthem 'Under Pressure'.

According to Taylor, hidden amongst the archives are two Cream covers from Queen and David Bowie.

Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce of 60's rock group, Cream
Ginger Baker, Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce of 60's rock group, Cream. Picture: Getty

In an interview with Record Collector, Roger Taylor reminisces on the sessions: “If we look to the archives, there’s probably stuff,” he said, mentioning that they’d played “all sorts of old songs ... whatever came into our head ... We would do the odd thing like covering old Cream songs.”

Roger Taylor and Brian May
Roger Taylor and Brian May. Picture: Getty

Taylor then went on to share exactly what songs they covered, “I remember we did N.S.U. and I Feel Free, just for a laugh really, then we decided, ‘Let’s write one for ourselves.’”

This is, of course, in reference to the David Bowie and Queen collaborative track, 'Under Pressure', which went on to become a phenomenal success.

Read More: Freddie Mercury and David Bowie's 'Under Pressure' a cappella will give you goosebumps

Written and recorded in the space of 24-hours, 'Under Pressure' was Queen's second UK number-one single and since then has become an instantly recognisable, timeless classic.

Queen - Under Pressure (Official Video)

The track wouldn’t have been recorded if it wasn’t for the band and Bowie crossing paths in Switzerland.

Queen had chosen to buy their own studios in the area and at the time, Bowie was also residing in a town close by - henceforth the jamming session began.

Brian May hinted that any other creations from the session were swept aside as Under Pressure began to take shape, “That became very much the priority”.

Read More: Queen would still be making music today if Freddie Mercury was alive, says Roger Taylor

Although, the recording sessions also saw the initial formation of Queen’s 1984 B-side I Go Crazy, May said it turned out, “very different to the version that we started off when David was around.” So much so that, In the end, Bowie wasn’t even credited!

David Bowie performing at the Freddie Mercury Tribute
David Bowie performing at the Freddie Mercury Tribute. Picture: Getty

Speaking about the recording session in a 2017 interview with MOJO, May spoke of the tensions between the two powerhouses in the room: “Freddie and David locked horns, without a doubt,

“But that’s when the sparks fly and that’s why it turned out so great.”

Read More: Rare video of Freddie Mercury playing the drums at a band rehearsal in 1977 is phenomenal

May reiterates that, “Not all of what we did in those sessions has ever come to light, so there's a thought…”

Queen pictured in 1981, the year of their recording sessions with Bowie
Queen pictured in 1981, the year of their recording sessions with Bowie. Picture: Getty

Perhaps one day the additional recordings will see the light of day, however, for now, a cover of I Feel Free recorded by Bowie, 12 years down the line, can be found on his Black Tie White Noise album.

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