Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > Why do you think David Bowie chose to remove his lyrics on Cool Cat?

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Posted: 05 Sep 11, 23:16 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Not sure if he's given a reason - or if Queen has said anything other than "He didn't like it". I didn't really think he made too big of an impact on the song, just a nice subtle touch. He was basically rapping - a genre not explored by Queen. But I'm rambling, why do you think he wanted them scrapped? And let's not turn this into a 'this song is shite' topic!

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Posted: 06 Sep 11, 00:04 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Here's a quote from Brian [courtesy of Bechstein Debauchery]:

***
"David just did a backing track. I don't think anyone thought any more about it, except that it was a nice ornamentation. We just sent him a courtesy note telling him that we had used it and he said, 'I want it taken off, because I'm not satisfied with it.' Unfortunately he didn't tell us until about a day before the album was supposed to be released, so it really set us back. It delayed the album's release."
BRIAN MAY, International Musician & Recording World, November 1982
***

It's a shame really, as I think it's the superior version. I tend to hum Bowie's parts when I hear the album version.

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Posted: 06 Sep 11, 04:41 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I can see Bowie's point - it really is just grafted on an already existing song and I should imagine he'd rather not spread himself so thinly on the LP. He was also not happy about Under Pressure - I think he was probably annoyed they included that too.

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Posted: 06 Sep 11, 07:11 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Because "Cool Cat" is better without his contribution.
I love that song!


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Posted: 06 Sep 11, 08:42 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I love the song, and I do like the Bowie parts. I think he thought about it too hard, or looked a little too hard into it.. but I see his point.

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Posted: 06 Sep 11, 10:33 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Because they couldn't reach a financial agreement.

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Posted: 06 Sep 11, 12:28 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

dysan wrote: I can see Bowie's point - it really is just grafted on an already existing song and I should imagine he'd rather not spread himself so thinly on the LP. He was also not happy about Under Pressure - I think he was probably annoyed they included that too. ..
..
.........
'Not happy  about ''under pressure'' !' ?  - Well it's included on his 'best of bowie' released about 9 or 10 years ago .....AND it's listed as 'David Bowie and Queen' !!!!!!- The cheeky bastard.

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Posted: 06 Sep 11, 17:52 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Did you make that up Microwave, or is it stated some where?

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Posted: 06 Sep 11, 18:04 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Really?

You think successful artists who make gazillions can just show up to a studio and record a song, and then decide they don't want the results released because they didn't think it's that great?

Maybe if my band wanted you to come in and sing harmonies...  but we've got producers, engineers, and those hungry label execs to feed.

This is David Bowie.   This is Queen.  The first collaboration blew up...  one of their best selling singles ever.

Someone wanted more than the other was willing to give, simple as that.  Happens all the time.  Why do you think the MJ / Freddie recording have never been released?  Because Mercury wanted something.

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Posted: 06 Sep 11, 19:40 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

In Brian's words, Bowie's vocal on "Cool Cat" sound like they were intended to be there, that he sung them with the song and at least part of it sounds like it was done with Freddie. I agree that his contribution is small overall, "ornamentation" as Brian put it, but I still think it adds a nice extra layer, not just to the song, but to the album. 

I've never once heard Bowie state he was in any way unhappy with "Under Pressure" or its appearance on Hot Space. I'd love to read the source for that opinion. He didn't include it on his next album, Let's Dance, because that wasn't recorded until December of 1982, or released until April of 1983, by which time the song was already a relic (which isn't a bad thing). When he worked with Queen on UP, he wasn't recording an album at the time. Queen, obviously, *was* working on an album, so it wasn't greed that put UP on Hot Space, the song was a product of those sessions. It's no different than including "Crazy Little Thing Called Love" on The Game, where it was recorded the year before it's album was released as well. 

Though Brian doesn't state it, I'm sure the letter they wrote to Bowie said they were planning to use "Under Pressure" as well on Hot Space, so if Bowie had had a problem with the song, or his contribution, he would've told Queen "no go" on using it. That might have prompted Queen to re-record Bowie's vocals. The Queen & David Bowie version might have become the non-album version.

Also of note, Bowie performs UP on his tours ever since the tribute concert, so if by some crazy chance he didn't like the song in the '80s, he got over it by the '90s.

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Posted: 06 Sep 11, 23:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

rhyeking wrote: In Brian's words, Bowie's vocal on "Cool Cat" sound like they were intended to be there, that he sung them with the song and at least part of it sounds like it was done with Freddie. I agree that his contribution is small overall, "ornamentation" as Brian put it, but I still think it adds a nice extra layer, not just to the song, but to the album. 

how does "bom bom" every once in a while on the album's least relevent song add "a nice extra layer" to the album? staying power adds a significant layer - that being horns and dance rhythms - along with body language & back chat in the same vein - while put out the fire and action this day keep the rock layer intact - finally Under Pressure, Life Is Real & Las Parablas give the album an acoustic laid back layer.

what good would "bom bom" do to enhance the layering of hot space?

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Posted: 07 Sep 11, 01:31 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

How do they add a nice extra layer to the song?

By being cool as @#$%! 

It ain't much, but what's there is a shot of suave in an already smooth little album track.

How does it add a layer to the album?

Because Bowie on two tracks is better than Bowie on just one!

It ties the songs together, tightens the album up just a little more thematically and is like a character going from a cameo intro on one song to a star performance in the next. It's one of those details that, for me, elevates the work a bit, taking it from a collection of individual songs to a demonstration that the artists intended something a little more between these two tracks.

Maybe I'm overstating it. However, as they say, "God is in the details."

If it's a song and performance you don't think much of, fine. I take I little extra enjoyment out of it.

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Posted: 07 Sep 11, 02:37 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Hot space was going to be a duets album so maybe thats why he sand on Cool Cat also. Another piece of my heart with Rod Stewart was supposed to be on this album i think?


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Posted: 07 Sep 11, 03:23 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Another little piece of my heart was recorded in '83, was it not? Therefore, that's The Works.


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Posted: 07 Sep 11, 03:39 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

=======================================
dysan wrote: I can see Bowie's point - it really is just grafted on an already existing song and I should imagine he'd rather not spread himself so thinly on the LP. He was also not happy about Under Pressure - I think he was probably annoyed they included that too. ..
..
.........
'Not happy  about ''under pressure'' !' ?  - Well it's included on his 'best of bowie' released about 9 or 10 years ago .....AND it's listed as 'David Bowie and Queen' !!!!!!- The cheeky bastard.
========================================

Yes, he wasn't happy with it and said it is a good 'demo', but not a release. He only started playing it live well into the mid 90's when he was getting really deperate to dig into his untouched catalogue (he similarly debuted Lust For Life after it's success in Trainspotting. Likewise, it never appeared on a Bowie collection until '93, and you'll remember Queen themselves gave it a thorough remix around the same time. Coincidence?

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Posted: 07 Sep 11, 13:06 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

he removed his vocals cos he realised he was singing like a c*nt


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Posted: 07 Sep 11, 13:41 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

>>> Here's a quote from Brian [courtesy of Bechstein Debauchery]:

Argh ... I hate that title. Hopefully, before the end of the month, I'll upload a new version with a better one.

>>> 'Not happy  about ''under pressure'' !' ?  - Well it's included on his 'best of bowie' released about 9 or 10 years ago

Sometimes the artists themselves hate some of their biggest hits. If it were up to Roger, AOBTD probably wouldn't be on any Greatest Hits, Absolute Greatest or any of those compilations. Hell, if it were up to Brian and Roger, probably there wouldn't be songs by Freddie and John on those compilations (remember Queen Rocks?). But there are hits which are too big to overlook.

>>> Really? You think successful artists who  make gazillions can just show up to a studio and record a song, and then decide they don't want the results released because they didn't think it's that great?

Actually, it DOES happen, precisely because there's a lot of hype and speculation and because the public may be overcritical of what they do, so a lot of them wait until they've got a *plu-perfect* product. Otherwise, they'd rather pass. And some of those musicians are really perfectionists so they don't want things out unless they're entirely satisfied with them. And good luck trying to get two superstars to agree on an arrangement, a mix, a title, a lyric, etc.

It's even worse when the song's indeed a collaboration rather than 'x featuring y'.

>>> The first collaboration blew up...  one of their best selling singles ever.

To be absolutely pedantic, no, it didn't. Queen had eleven singles that outsold Under Pressure (eight of which preceded it), and in those cases, they didn't have to split the money with another person. UP was a brief No 1 in Britain, a very popular song and a good seller, but not really 'one of their best selling singles ever'. * That * could've been disappointing, especially as they'd released, by themselves, another single just one year prior, which had sold almost four times as much as UP did.

>>> I've never once heard Bowie state he was in any  way unhappy with "Under Pressure" or its appearance on Hot Space.

Brian said, on the same interview where he talked about CC, that David wanted to re-record the whole thing, and that it was very tense for them to try to agree on its details. In the end, the mix was produced by Freddie, Mack and Bowie, under a lot of strain.

>>> When he worked with Queen on UP, he wasn't recording an album at the time.

I doubt that was the reason, to be honest. The reason was, Let's Dance (the song) was an even bigger hit than UP, so he didn't need it to boost the album sales. On the contrary - if he included it there, he'd 'lose' some of the royalties to Queen, and some of his fans would be disinterested as the song'd already been available for over a year through both the single and Queen's album.

The Queen case was different, as their public was and is different about those details. CLTCL was released very late in the year, and it slowly climbed up to the top; by the time it was at its peak, Save Me had flopped and Play the Game was only barely making it as a medium-sized hit, so it was an obvious commercial strategy to include it there. In the case of UP, Body Language wasn't the big hit they expected, and it may have also been related to the fact that both John and Roger hated Hot Space but loved Under Pressure, so it could've been included to try to keep everybody happy (or less pissed off).

>>> That might have prompted Queen to re-record Bowie's vocals. The Queen & David Bowie version might have become the non-album version.

Now, that'd have been amazing. I think David's great, but it's always nice to hear alternative versions. That's one of the things I'd have loved them to do: include Ga Ga sung by Roger on the album, and Fred's version on the single, and so on.

>>> Also of note, Bowie performs UP on his  tours ever since the tribute concert, so if by some crazy chance he  didn't like the song in the '80s, he got over it by the '90s.

AFAIK, he did like the song, but didn't like its recording. At the end, it seems that everybody involved had a different 'image' of how he wanted the track to be, and a lot of rowing followed, to the point that even Brian (clearly the most pig-headed member of the band - his words, not mine) had enough and decided to step out. For some artists, hearing their song on the radio is a dream come true, and a wonderful experience. For others, it may trigger some bad memories and/or reinforce certain regrets ... 'oh, if only those Queennies had allowed me to do it *my* way' ... 'oh, if only that blond singer had let me mix it the way *I* wanted it...' ... 'oh, if only we'd've re-recorded the whole thing ...' ...

Which makes me think about something: Andy Gibb was a huge name in 1980. And Freddie was impressed with his backing vocals on Play the Game. So why didn't they include them? Maybe they had a strict no-guests policy, or maybe Andy's management asked for a larger slice than what they offered.


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Posted: 07 Sep 11, 13:46 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

-- Really?You think successful artists who make gazillions can just show up to a studio and record a song, and then decide they don't want the results released because they didn't think it's that great?

---
So, you did make it up? Or is there an account of this financial objection?


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Posted: 07 Sep 11, 17:55 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Here's a question: If Queen hadn't told Bowie they were going to use his vocals on "Cool Cat" and released the album with his contribution intact, what recourse would Bowie have had? By going in and recording on another band's work, with all parties present and aware, I believe that implies consent. It's not like they snuck a tape recorder into the room and used that on the song. Bowie was fully aware he was being recorded, was an active participant in the session and knew Queen were recording this material for an album. Further, he subsequently got involved in the writing and recording of a second track, "Under Pressure," during the same series of sessions. If Queen ignored his request to remove his vocals from "Cool Cat" and it had gone to court, I doubt any civil judge would side with him or force Queen to remove it and re-issue the album.

Now that's a pretty extreme scenario, but it could easily have come to that if there had been a falling out between the camps. Since they were respected colleagues, if not friends, Queen honoured the request even though it delayed the release and may have cost them money. Brian says it was the day before the album went to print that they found out Bowie didn't want his part used, so if they'd gotten that response a day late or pressed the album a day or two early, it would have been either a case of Bowie having to suck it up, or band issuing a recall before release, or Bowie's management and Queen's management duking it out in court, Queen's camp arguing that "Hey, he recorded it for us, we've printed the album, we don't want to lose money here. What gives?!" Again, I think Bowie would lose. The best he could hope for would be to have to pay for the recall himself if he was truly adamant about it.

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Posted: 07 Sep 11, 22:27 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Very interesting points, from all involved.

Sebastian, it seemed you're talking about an interview where Brian is discussing the Cool Cat / UP info and you're going to upload a better one? If I read that right let me know when you upload that. I'd like to have a listen to it.

Also, I thought John really liked Hot Space? Do you have the source of him saying that? Or is it just what you've gathered?

And Rhyeking, good thought. I would assume that they complied with him because they were his friends, and maybe for fear that he would ask to also remove UP from the album... The single did come out before the album, and maybe the band feared scraping the song from the album would hurt it, so they just complied. Just a thought, maybe some one can correct me.

As it stands, he was very aware he was being recorded, and I think Queen should of just told him to suck it up. I love Cool Cat, it's actually in my top Queen songs.. I love how Queen has explored so many genres of music, and being able to have early rap under their belt would of just been a cool addition to their many genres.