We Will Rock You

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"We Will Rock You"
Single by Queen
from the album News of the World
A-side"We Are the Champions"
Released7 October 1977
Format7" single
GenreRock
Length2:01
LabelEMI, Elektra
Writer(s)Brian May
Producer(s)Queen, assisted by Mike Stone
Queen singles chronology
"Long Away"
(1977)
"We Are the Champions" /
"We Will Rock You"
(1977)
"Spread Your Wings"
(1978)
 
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"We Will Rock You"
Single by Queen
from the album News of the World
A-side"We Are the Champions"
Released7 October 1977
Format7" single
GenreRock
Length2:01
LabelEMI, Elektra
Writer(s)Brian May
Producer(s)Queen, assisted by Mike Stone
Queen singles chronology
"Long Away"
(1977)
"We Are the Champions" /
"We Will Rock You"
(1977)
"Spread Your Wings"
(1978)

"We Will Rock You" is a song written by Brian May and recorded and performed by Queen for their 1977 album News of the World.[1] Rolling Stone ranked it number 330 of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" in 2004,[2] and the RIAA placed it at number 146 on its list of Songs of the Century. In 2009, "We Will Rock You" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.[3][4]

Other than the last 30 seconds containing a guitar solo by May, the song is generally set in a cappella form, using only stomping and clapping as a rhythmic beat. In 1977, "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions" were issued together as a worldwide top ten single.[5] Soon after the album was released, many radio stations began playing the songs back to back without interruption.[6]

Since its release, "We Will Rock You" has been covered, remixed, sampled, parodied, referenced and used by multiple recording artists, TV shows, films and other media worldwide.[7][8]

Original Queen version[edit]

History[edit]

This song and its well-known partner "We Are the Champions" were written in response to an event occurring in the 1977 British Tour.[9] The band had played a gig at Stafford's Bingley Hall, and, says Brian May:[10]

'We did an encore and then went off, and instead of just keeping clapping, they sang "You'll Never Walk Alone" to us, and we were just completely knocked out and taken aback – it was quite an emotional experience really, and I think these chant things are in some way connected with that.'

One version was used as the opening track on their 1977 album News of the World. This version consists of a stomp-stomp-clap-pause beat, and a power chorus, being somewhat of an anthem. The stamping effects were created by the band overdubbing the sounds of themselves stomping and clapping many times and adding delay effects to create a sound like many people were participating. The durations of the delays were in the ratios of prime numbers, a technique now known as non-harmonic reverberation.[11] A tape loop is used to repeat the last phrase of the guitar solo three times as opposed to Brian May playing it three separate times on the recording.[12]

When performed live, this version is usually followed by "We Are the Champions", as it is on the album, as they were designed to run together.[5] The songs are often paired on the radio and at sporting events, where they are frequently played.[5] They were the last two songs Queen performed at Live Aid in 1985.[13]

Queen also performed "We Will Rock You" in another arrangement (known as the "fast version"), which featured a faster tempo and a full guitar, bass and drums backing track throughout. The band would often open their live sets in the late 1970s and early 1980s with this version, as captured on their 1979 Live Killers double album, on Queen Rock Montreal (2007), and on the Queen on Fire – Live at the Bowl album released in 2004.

The "fast version" is available in a studio performance. In 1977, it was recorded for John Peel's show on BBC Radio 1. This version is on the 1992 Italian bootleg CD Queen – We Will Rock You (On Stage CD 12018). It is part of a longer cut that starts out with the slow version. In 2002, the fast version was officially released on a promo single distributed by the tabloid The Sun. The "fast" BBC studio version can also be found on The Best of King Biscuit Live Volume 4. Between the two versions, there is a brief cut of a female voice discussing Brahmanism, used in a BBC Radio documentary. The "stomp, stomp, clap" sounds were later reused in the Queen + Paul Rodgers song "Still Burnin'".[14] This version is also used as the curtain call music after the West End show of the same title, after the finale, which is a pairing of the original "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions."

Personnel[edit]

Five + Queen version[edit]

"We Will Rock You"
Single by Five + Queen
from the album Invincible
B-sideMegamix
Keep on Movin' (The Five-A-Side Mix)
Released17 July 2000
FormatCD single, Cassette single
Recorded1999
GenrePop rock, rap rock
Length3:08
LabelSony BMG
Writer(s)Brian May
Producer(s)Richard Stannard, Julian Gallagher
CertificationSilver (UK)
Gold (Australia)
Five singles chronology
"Don't Wanna Let You Go"
(2000)
"We Will Rock You"
(2000)
"Let's Dance"
(2001)
Queen chronology
"Under Pressure (Rah Mix)"
(1999)
"We Will Rock You"
(2000)
"Flash (Vanguard Mix)"
(2003)

In 2000, English boy band Five released a cover of "We Will Rock You". It was released as the fifth and final single from their second studio album, Invincible (1999). Released on 17 July 2000, the song features two members of Queen: Brian May on guitar and Roger Taylor on drums; however, they do not sing any vocals on the track. Freddie Mercury had died in November 1991, nearly a decade before this version's release, and John Deacon had retired from public life in 1997.

The song charted at number one on the UK Singles Chart, making it Five's second number-one single, and their ninth consecutive top-ten hit.[15]

Tracklisting[edit]

UK CD1
  1. "We Will Rock You" (Radio Edit) – 3:08
  2. "Keep on Movin'" (The Five-A-Side Mix) – 3:32
  3. "We Will Rock You" (Video) – 3:08
UK CD2
  1. "We Will Rock You" (Radio Edit) – 3:08
  2. "Invincible Megamix" (Including "We Will Rock You") – 4:19
  3. "Invincible Megamix" (Video) – 4:19
UK Cassette single
  1. "We Will Rock You" (Radio Edit) – 3:08
  2. "Keep on Movin'" (The Five-A-Side Mix) – 3:32
  3. "Invincible Megamix" (Including "We Will Rock You") – 4:19
European CD single
  1. "We Will Rock You" (Radio Edit) – 3:08
  2. "Invincible Megamix" (Without "We Will Rock You") – 3:43
  3. "We Will Rock You" (Video) – 3:08

Chart performance[edit]

Band (year)CountryPeak
position
CountryPeak
position
CountryPeak
position
CountryPeak
position
CountryPeak
position
CountryPeak
position
CountryPeak
position
Five & Queen (2000)Australia3Austria[16]2Belgium[16]17Ireland[17]6New Zealand[16]29Switzerland[16]18The Netherlands[16]15
Queen (2003)France[18]10Switzerland[18]49
KCPK (2003)Austria[19]16Belgium[19]10France[19]2Switzerland[19]16


Certifications[edit]

RegionCertification
Italy (FIMI)[20]Gold
United States (RIAA)[21]Gold

Cover versions[edit]

1990s

2000s

Live cover performances[edit]

1990s

2000s

2010s

Remixes[edit]

Sampling[edit]

1990s

2000s

2010s

Parodies and references to the song[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ News of the World – Queen Allmusic Retrieved 22 January 2011
  2. ^ "The RS 500 Greatest Songs of All Time". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 16 June 2009. 
  3. ^ Grammy Hall of Fame Award Grammy.org Retrieved 21 April 2011
  4. ^ Queen enter Grammy Hall of Fame BBC News Retrieved 21 April 2011
  5. ^ a b c We Are the Champions: Song Review AllMusic Retrieved 21 January 2011
  6. ^ "12-Inch Single Joins 2 Queen Hits" Billboard 17 December 1977: 72
  7. ^ "We Will Rock You" Still Most Popular Sporting Event Anthem Retrieved 11 July 2011
  8. ^ Greatest Rock Songs Retrieved 11 July 2011
  9. ^ Queen interview: Brian May on We Will Rock You Absolute Radio. Retrieved 18 December 2011
  10. ^ Interview with Tom Browne for BBC Radio One, broadcast Christmas Eve and Boxing Day 1977
  11. ^ May, Brian (22 September 2007). "STAMPING ON PIANO'S?". Bri's Soapbox. Retrieved 4 August 2010. 
  12. ^ "Queen's Brian May Rocks Out To Physics, Photography". Fresh Air. NPR. 3 August 2010. Retrieved 6 August 2010. 
  13. ^ Peter Stanford (24 September 2011). Queen: their finest moment at Live Aid. The Telegraph. Retrieved 15 May 2012
  14. ^ The Cosmos Rocks Queen Online. Retrieved 11 July 2011
  15. ^ Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums. London: Guinness World Records Limited
  16. ^ a b c d e Charts Five+Queen 2000
  17. ^ The Irish Charts
  18. ^ a b Charts Queen 2003. Retrieved 28 July 2011
  19. ^ a b c d Charts KCPK 2003.
  20. ^ "Italian single certifications – Queen – We Will Rock You" (in Italian). Federation of the Italian Music Industry. Retrieved 14 February 2014.  Select Online in the field Scegli la sezione. Select Week -- and Year ----. Enter Queen in the field Artista. Click Avvia la ricerca
  21. ^ "American single certifications – Queen – We Will Rock You". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 14 February 2014.  If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  22. ^ We Will Rock You by Warrant. joMusic.net. Retrieved on 19 August 2011.
  23. ^ We Will Rock You – Viper. Youmix.co.uk (30 June 2010). Retrieved on 19 August 2011.
  24. ^ Linda Ronstadt Albums. Softshoe-slim.com. Retrieved on 19 August 2011.
  25. ^ DJ Hurricane – Don't Sleep CD Album. Cduniverse.com (3 April 2001). Retrieved on 19 August 2011.
  26. ^ WWRY Singles. Queencollector.com. Retrieved on 19 August 2011.
  27. ^ Britney Spears Beyonce Pink-We will rock you Yahoo! Retrieved 22 January 2011
  28. ^ Stan Walker's Official Site. Stanwalker.com.au. Retrieved on 19 August 2011.
  29. ^ http://perezhilton.com/2013-04-22-glee-new-episode-lights-out-music-first-listenglee-new-episode-lights-out-music-first-listen#sthash.PKHe79HO.dpbs
  30. ^ Queen Concertography 1992–2011. Ultimatequeen.co.uk. Retrieved on 19 August 2011.
  31. ^ Video's van Rock & metal: Axl Rose (Freddie Mercury cover) -We Will Rock You(Live Wembley). Facebook. Retrieved on 19 August 2011.
  32. ^ U2 ZOO TV Tour – U2 on tour. U2gigs.com. Retrieved on 19 August 2011.
  33. ^ "Há 18 anos, Nirvana realizava show histórico em São Paulo". Folha de S. Paulo (in Portuguese). 16 January 2011. 
  34. ^ Alanis Morissette Concert Setlist at Estadio Obras Sanitarias, Buenos Aires, Argentina on 26 October 1996 Setlist.fm. Retrieved 16 March 2012
  35. ^ We Will Rock You (Live) | Robbie Williams Song – Yahoo! Music. New.music.yahoo.com. Retrieved on 19 August 2011.
  36. ^ Koda Kumi 10th Anniversary -FANTASIA- in Tokyo Dome. YesAsia.com. Retrieved 15 May 2012.
  37. ^ Celine Dion: Taking Chances World Tour: The Concert HMV. Retrieved 20 August 2011
  38. ^ Katy Perry Performs "We Will Rock You" to Intro Russell Brand MTV Retrieved 22 January 2011
  39. ^ My Chemical Romance joined by Queen's Brian May at Reading Festival NME. Retrieved 27 August 2011
  40. ^ 'The Voice': Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green Perform Queen Medley The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 16 March 2012
  41. ^ "Olympics Closing Ceremony: Jessie J Joins Queen For 'We Will Rock You' Performance". Capital FM. Retrieved 19 August 2012
  42. ^ "Tulisa, Lana Del Rey, Jessie J for new 'Radio 1 Live Lounge 2012' album". Digital Spy. Retrieved 2 November 2012
  43. ^ "We Will Rock You (The Rick Rubin "Ruined" Remix)". All music.
  44. ^ Daft punk vs. Queen – Robot Rock vs. We Will Rock You – Video, Musik hören & Statistiken bei Last.fm. Lastfm.de. Retrieved on 19 August 2011.
  45. ^ Wisniewski, Dan. (14 March 2011) Queen’s "I Want It All/We Will Rock You" Mash-up featured on Sucker Punch Soundtrack | mxdwn.com News. Mxdwn.com. Retrieved on 19 August 2011.
  46. ^ Sucker Punch Soundtrack: Queen "I Want It All"/"We Will Rock You" Mash-Up ft. Armageddon Aka Geddy **mp3** « Raw Drive- The Vice President of Soul. Rawdrive.com (2 March 2011). Retrieved on 19 August 2011.
  47. ^ https://soundcloud.com/edmtunestv/excision-downlink-rock-you
  48. ^ Sterdan, Darryl (22 August 2010). "Album Review: Teenage Dream". JAM! Music. Canoe.ca. QMI Agency. Retrieved 9 March 2011. 
  49. ^ http://defglam.com/2011/06/29/music-beyonce-dreaming-japan-bonus/
  50. ^ Rainbird, Ashley (18 April 2011). "Lady Gaga to collaborate with Queen guitarist Brian May". Daily Mirror. Retrieved 7 August 2011. 
  51. ^ "One Direction's second album Take Me Home reviewed by Kathy McCabe song by song". Herald Sun. Retrieved 11 December 2012
  52. ^ "Ke$ha, Warrior: Review". emusic. Retrieved 11 December 2012
  53. ^ Jonathan Buckley
    • 1990: At the start of the Cheers episode "Severe Crane Damage," Norm Peterson's tapping of a pencil against the bar gradually leads everyone present to start the stomp/clap rhythm and sing the chorus.
    (1999). "Rock: the rough guide". p.883. Rough Guides, 1999
  54. ^ Avenue Q responds to Muppets Bohemian Rhapsody | What's a Boy To Do. Chicagonow.com. Retrieved on 19 August 2011.
  55. ^ The Rock sings Queen's We Will Rock You on Raw Ultimate Classic Rock. Retrieved 16 March 2012
  56. ^ "Straight Out Of Hell – Track by Track – Day 8: Wanna Be God". Official Helloween Facebook. 11 January 2013. Retrieved 11 January 2013. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Life Is a Rollercoaster" by Ronan Keating
UK number one single (Five version)
23 July 2000 – 30 July 2000 (1-week)
Succeeded by
"7 Days" by Craig David