Friday, October 7, 1977

Queen released “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions”

First posted 2/11/2011.

We Will Rock You

Queen

Writer(s): Brian May (see lyrics here)


Released: October 7, 1977


First Charted: October 22, 1977


Peak: 4 US, 44 CB, 13 HR, 4 RR, 1 CL, 11 UK, 3 CN, 8 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 5.0 US, 0.96 UK, 7.5 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 2.0 radio, 615.59 video, 463.0 streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

We Are the Champions

Queen

Writer(s): Freddie Mercury (see lyrics here)


Released: October 7, 1977


First Charted: October 22, 1977


Peak: 4 US, 3 CB, 13 HR, 4 RR, 1 CL, 2 UK, 3 CN, 8 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)


Sales (in millions): 5.0 US, 0.96 UK, 6.84 world (includes US + UK)


Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 487.3 video, -- streaming

Awards: (Click on award for more details).

About the Songs:

In the history of rock music at radio, there have been a few occasions when two songs are consistently paired together (ZZ Top’s “Waiting for the Bus” / “Jesus Just Left Chicago,” Journey’s “Feeling That Way” / “Anytime”), but nothing comes close to the can’t-play-one-without-the-other dynamic of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions.” The first is the ultimate stadium rocker for letting the opponent know you will take them down. The latter is the perfect victory song after the task has been completed. “Champions’ was even used as the official theme song for the 1994 FIFA World Cup.

The songs open Queen’s News of the World album with “We Will Rock You” first and “We Are the Champions” following immediately after. When released as a single, “We Are the Champions” was technically the A-side and “We Will Rock You” the B-side. They have generally been treated as one chart entry, although “We Are the Champions” technically reached #4 in the U.S. in 1978 while “We Will Rock You” peaked at #52 on the Billboard Hot 100 on its own in 1992. Similarly, “We Are the Champions” was a #2 hit in the UK and “We Will Rock Rock You” didn’t actually chart on its own until the boy band Five released a cover of the band with Queen’s Brian May on guitar and Roger Taylor on drums that hit #1 in 2000.

Both songs were written with the intention of the audience participating, but May wrote “Rock You” while Mercury helmed “Champions.” “We Will Rock You” was inspired by a gig at the Liverpool Football Club when the audience started chanting “You’ll Never Walk Alone” as the band left the stage. May pondered what he could do to get the audience involved and came up with the the “everybody join in” idea of clapping and stomping that has now plagued school bus drivers for decades.

When Queen recorded “Rock You,” they created the effect of multiple people stomping and clapping by overdubbing themselves multiple times. WK1 With the exception of a guitar solo from Brian May in the last 30 seconds, “We Will Rock You” is an a capella song. According to BMI, this is the most-played song at sporting events. SF1

Regarding “We Are the Champions,” Mercury said, “I was thinking about football when I wrote it. I wanted a participation song, something that the fans could latch on to. Of course, I’ve given it more theatrical subtlety than an ordinary football chant. I suppose it could be considered as my version of ‘I Did It My Way.’” SF2 The song is a showcase for his otherworldly vocal range and in 2011 was determined by scientific researchers to be the catchiest song in the history of pop music. WK2


Resources and Related Links:

  • DMDB encyclopedia entry for Queen
  • SF1 Songfacts page for “We Will Rock You”
  • SF2 Songfacts page for “We Are the Champions”
  • WK1 Wikipedia page for “We Will Rock You”
  • WK2 Wikipedia page for “We Are the Champions”

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