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Annie Lennox and David Bowie: a heavenly duo singing “Under Pressure”.

Freddie Mercury passed away on 24 November 1991, prompting the remaining Queen band members and their manager, Jim Beach, to quickly set in motion plans for a tribute concert. This event was aimed at honoring Mercury’s legacy, raising funds for HIV research, and enhancing AIDS awareness. Tickets for the concert were made available for purchase even before the lineup was fully confirmed, with Queen being the only confirmed act at the time. Remarkably, all 72,000 tickets for the concert at Wembley Arena on 20 April 1992 were sold within just three hours. The concert kicked off with performances by notable bands such as Metallica and Guns N’ Roses.

The latter part of the event saw the surviving Queen members perform alongside an impressive array of guest artists. The stage was graced by music legends like Elton John, Roger Daltrey, Tony Iommi, Ian Hunter, James Hetfield, George Michael, Seal, Paul Young, Robert Plant, Axl Rose, Slash, and Liza Minnelli, to name a few. A standout moment was when David Bowie and Annie Lennox teamed up for an unforgettable rendition of “Under Pressure,” with Lennox taking on Mercury’s vocal parts. Here’s the video:

Annie Lennox’s interpretation of Mercury’s sections was notably authentic, without attempting an imitation. The chemistry between Bowie and Lennox was palpable, adding a unique charm to their performance. This rendition stands out as a significant moment in the post-Jazz era of Queen. Audience member Mark Scott recalls the event, praising Lennox for her ability to shine even alongside Bowie, marking it as one of the memorable rock performances.

“Under Pressure” has its own backstory, originating from a casual jam session in the Swiss Alps with Queen. David Bowie’s impromptu visit led to a collaborative effort where they decided to individually record their vocal melodies without hearing each other’s contributions. This spontaneous process contributed to the final version of the song. Here’s another glimpse into the rehearsals for the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert:

This rehearsal footage is a nostalgic journey, showcasing behind-the-scenes moments with icons like Bowie, George Michael, and Ian Hunter, giving us a peek into the camaraderie and creativity of that time. It’s a poignant reminder of music’s enduring power and the advancements in HIV and AIDS treatment since then. We remember Freddie Mercury and all who have been affected by this disease with respect and admiration.

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