Writer(s): Geoff Tate, Michael Wilton (see lyrics here)
First Charted: September 22, 1990
Peak: 22 AR, 61 UK, 17 DF (Click for codes to charts.)
Sales (in millions): --
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 7.0 video, 9.33 streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
The progressive heavy metal band Queensrÿche formed in 1982 in Bellevue, Wasington. After two gold albums, the band’s third release, Operation: Mindcrime was a platinum seller buoyed by the album rock hits “Eyes of a Stranger” and “I Don’t Believe in Love.” It became one of the most celebrated concept albums in heavy metal history.
Still, the band had yet to crack the top 40 in the United States with one of their albums. That changed with 1990’s Empire. The band opted for “a more song-oriented approach that is more art rock and less metal.” AMG The result was a triple-platinum release which reached #7 on the Billboard album chart, propelled by six top-30 entries on the album-rock chart.
The first of these was the title cut, which reached #22 and also was the first of four chart entries on the UK chart. It became the band’s second-most played song in its setlist history, only behind “Eyes of a Stranger.” WK
The song “is a lot more thoughtful than its explosive introduction leads one to believe.” SF It “warns of a foreboding and unstoppable ‘Empire’ of drug trafficking within the United States and its related crimes, that will inevitably lead to the breakdown of civility in American society.” WK In other words, it is the country’s underground drug empire that will lead to the demise of the American Empire.
First posted 1/19/2023.