By: Staff –
Iconic song “Under Pressure” – originally released by Queen and David Bowie – receives a powerful rendition from another pair of acclaimed musicians in Karen O and Willie Nelson, which you can stream below.
Two days after the 39-year anniversary of the song’s original release, the lyrics remain as poignant today as ever, as the nation reels from an unprecedented year:
Just days before the Presidential Election – with millions looking for a renewed sense of unity – the line “Why can’t we give love that one more chance?” perhaps takes on a similarly renewed sense of importance and hope.
Karen O describes the origin of her collaboration with famed country artist Willie Nelson: “A friend on the board of NIVA asked if I knew of any country artists who could sign a letter to Congress asking them to help save independent venues from going extinct due to Covid. I recalled my buddy Johnny Knoxville being friends with Willie so I asked to see if he could check in with Willie about it, and then out of sheer audacity I added “and if he ever wants to do a duet I’m ready and willing!” Johnny came back with the news that the signature was in the works and Willie’s daughter Amy very supportively said ‘have her send him [the] song and he’ll sing on it!” At this point my mind was melting but I had to focus and pull a song out of the ether that was worthy of a living legend and spoke to the people in troubled times, not an easy assignment. Then like a bolt out of the blue Under Pressure came to mind, I’ve heard this song countless times without processing the gravity of what Bowie and Freddie were singing about, maybe because their performances are so exhilarating you get swept away in the high of that duet. Our cover was meant to be more intimate but just as saturated with the power of love. I can’t listen to this song without tearing up every time Willie comes in, one of the purest voices which of course reflects a pure heart, and I get to sing alongside it. I never knew if it was actually going to happen, but you must dare to dream. I hope the song brings as much light to the listener as it has to me in dark times.”