Queen - Under Pressure - Meaning of the song
According to Queen bass player John Deacon, Freddie Mercury did most of the songwriting on this, although everyone contributed. The lyrics deal with how pressure can destroy lives, but love can be the answer. The lyrics are characteristic of Mercury's songwriting. Deacon however did come up with the iconic two-note bass riff, although it came very close to vanishing: according to Roger Taylor in the Days of our Lives documentary, Deacon came up with the riff, then the band went for pizza before coming back to continue rehearsals. Upon returning, Deacon had completely forgotten his idea! Luckily, Taylor eventually remembered how the bassline went.
Brian May explained:
"It was hard, because you had four very precocious boys and David, who was precocious enough for all of us. David took over the song lyrically. Looking back, it's a great song but it should have been mixed differently. Freddie and David had a fierce battle over that." May adds to this feeling of the sessions being fairly strained in a further interview for the Days of our Lives documentary, where he notes that "suddenly you've got this other person inputting, inputting, inputting... he (David) had a vision in his head, and it's quite a difficult process and someone has to back off... and eventually I did back off, which is unusual for me."
Under pressure - Lyrics
Pressure: pushing down on me, Pressing down on you, no man ask for. Under pressure that burns a building down, Splits a family in two, Puts people on streets. That's OK. That's the terror of knowing What this world is about. Watching some good friends screaming, "Let me out!" Tomorrow gets me higher. Pressure on people, people on streets. OK. Chippin' around, kick my brains 'round the floor. These are the days: it never rains but it pours. People on streets. People on streets. It's the terror of knowing What this world is about. Watching some good friends screaming, "Let me out!" Tomorrow gets me higher, higher, high! Pressure on people, people on streets. Turned away from it all like a blind man. Sat on a fence, but it don't work. Keep coming up with love, but it's so slashed and torn. Why, why, why!? Love, love, love, love, love. Insanity laughs under pressure. We're breaking. Can't we give ourselves one more chance? Why can't we give love that one more chance? Why can't we give love, give love, give love, give love, give love, give love, give love, give love, give love? 'Cause love's such an old-fashioned word, And love dares you to care for the people on the edge of the night, And love dares you to change our way of caring about ourselves. This is our last dance. This is our last dance. This is ourselves. Under pressure. Under pressure. Pressure.