David Bowie, Queen and Vanilla Ice - Vanilla Ice

Extreme Gall

In a similar fashion to MC Hammer sampling Superfreak, Vanilla Ice sampled the most identifiable riffs from David Bowie and Queen's song Under Pressure for his only hit Ice Ice Baby on his 1990 album titled To the Extreme. However, unlike MC Hammer, Vanilla didn't bother to license, or even credit, the song.

Queen Puts on the Pressure

The music is used to provide a feel, mood, or atmosphere; generally the same as the original. The sampled song will compete directly with the original. It is generally the case that the readily identifiable riffs or hooks in a particular song are what generate the sales.

The liner notes indicate the author of Ice Ice Baby as Vanilla Ice, Earthquake and M. Smooth. Additionally, the liners thank such artists (presumably for inspiration) as MC Hammer, Ice T, Public Enemy, Sir Mix-A-Lot, Cash Money, EPMD and 2 Live Crew. Conspicuously absent are David Bowie and Queen.

This case never went to trial, although rumor has it that the copyright holders of Under Pressure threatened suit and settled with Vanilla out of court for an undisclosed sum.

Queen subsequently re-released Under Pressure in 1992 in their compilation album Classic Queen. The liner notes indicate that the genesis of the song was an impromptu recording session in Montreux, and that it was Queen's first collaboration with another artist (David Bowie). The liners go on to say that not only was the song number one in the U.K. and Argentina, but that "in 1990 the bass and piano featured again on Vanilla Ice's number one single Ice Ice Baby".

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