When David Bowie Recited The Lord's Prayer at The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert
For a time after the Queen/David Bowie collaboration “Under Pressure” was released in 1981, Queen guitarist Brian May often referred to Bowie as “Mr. Bowie,” with just a hint of derision. Apparently during their time in the studio together, May got the feeling that Bowie was rather dismissive of guitarists in general. Luckily that hatchet was eventually buried and the legendary singer was invited to perform at 1992's Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, where a veritable “Who’s Who” (and, in a few cases, “Who’s That?”) of the music industry played before 72,000 fans at London’s Wembley Stadium to celebrate the life of Freddie Mercury and to raise funds for the Mercury Phoenix Trust, an AIDS charity organization that is still active today.
Tickets to the show, which took place on April 20, 1992, sold out in just three hours—before any artists other than the remaining members of Queen had been confirmed to appear. For his performance, Bowie chose to sing his own hit, “Heroes,” accompanied by former bandmate Mick Ronson on guitar. The two hadn’t performed together since 1973, and by this time Ronson was very ill with liver cancer (which he would succumb to just a year later).
Between songs, Bowie knelt down and recited The Lord’s Prayer in tribute to both Mercury and another friend who was ill with AIDS at the time. Shrugged a confused May afterward, “He didn’t do that during rehearsals.”