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Vanilla Ice Claims He Owns Queen’s ‘Under Pressure’

Fox Photos / Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Images
Fox Photos / Alberto E. Rodriguez, Getty Images

Vanilla Ice claims that he owns the song that served as the basis for his only No. 1 hit.

Back in 1990, the white Dallas-born rapper scored his breakthrough single, “Ice Ice Baby,” which rode the familiar bass line lifted from Queen and David Bowie‘s 1981 single “Under Pressure.” Even though Ice didn’t originally credit the earlier hit — which meant no royalties were paid to songwriters Bowie, Brian May, Freddie Mercury, Roger Taylor and John Deacon — controversy surrounding their similarities, not to mention a lawsuit, led to an eventual co-writing credit.

Now, Ice, whose real name is Robert Van Winkle, says he owns the complete rights to the song. In a new interview on the Dan Patrick Show, the rapper claimed he purchased the song from Bowie and Queen.

UPDATE: A spokesman for Queen tells Ultimate Classic Rock that Vanilla Ice’s statement is inaccurate. “An arrangement was made whereby the publishing in the song was shared.”

After admitting to host Patrick that he “was being a jackass” back in the day when he told interviewers that the two songs were different because he added an extra note to the bass line, Ice dropped this bomb: “I ended up actually buying the song. It was actually David Bowie and Queen, so they didn’t have the actual rights to it. So I went to Brian May and bought the song. I actually own the song. Like Michael Jackson owns the Beatles. It was cheaper than a lawsuit. So ‘Under Pressure,’ ‘Ice Ice Baby’ – same difference.” You can check it out below.

It’s been a busy news day for “Under Pressure.” In a new book by Neil Cossar, David Bowie I Was There, a former Queen roadie said Bowie and Queen collaborated on other songs during the sessions for their hit single.

In case you need a refresher on “Under Pressure” and “Ice Ice Baby,” you can watch their videos below.

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