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We Will Rock You

"We Will Rock You"
Single by Queen
from the album News of the World
A-side "We Are the Champions"
Released 7 October 1977
Format 7" single
Genre Arena rock[1]
Length 2:02
Label
Writer(s) Brian May
Producer(s)
Queen singles chronology
"Long Away"
(1977)
"We Are the Champions" /
"We Will Rock You"
(1977)
"Spread Your Wings"
(1978)
Music sample

"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.[2] Rolling Stone ranked it number 330 of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" in 2004,[3] and the Recording Industry Association of America (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.[4][5]

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.[6] Soon after the album was released, many radio stations began playing the songs consecutively and without interruption.[7]

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.[8][9] Since its release, the song has become a staple at sports events around the world as a stadium anthem, mostly due to its simple rhythm.[10][11]

Contents

  • Original Queen version 1
    • History 1.1
    • Personnel 1.2
  • Five + Queen version 2
    • Tracklisting 2.1
  • Chart performance 3
    • Queen version 3.1
    • Five + Queen version 3.2
    • KCPK remix 3.3
  • Certifications 4
  • Cover versions 5
  • Live cover performances 6
  • Remixes 7
  • Sampling 8
  • Parodies and references to the song 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11

Original Queen version

History

Both "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions" were written in response to an event occurring in their 1977 British Tour.[12] The band had played a gig at Birmingham's Bingley Hall, and, according to Brian May:[13]

'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.[14] 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.[15] The "stomp, stomp, clap" sounds were later used in the Queen + Paul Rodgers song "Still Burnin'".[16]

When performed live, the song is usually followed by "We Are the Champions", as they were designed to run together.[6] The songs are often paired on the radio and at sporting events, where they are frequently played.[6] They were the last two songs Queen performed at Live Aid in 1985.[17]

Queen also performed an alternate version "We Will Rock You" known as the "fast version", featuring a faster tempo and a full band arrangement. The band would frequently use this version to open their live sets in the late 1970s and early 1980s, as heard on the albums Live Killers (1979), Queen on Fire - Live at the Bowl (2004), Queen Rock Montreal (2007), and the expanded edition of News of the World (2011). A studio version of the fast version is also known to exist, recorded for John Peel's show on BBC Radio 1 in 1977. 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 woman discussing Brahmanism, used in a BBC Radio documentary. The fast version is also used as the curtain call music for the musical of the same title, after the finale, which is a pairing of the original "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions."

Since its release, the song has become a staple at sporting events around the world as a stadium anthem, mostly due to its simple rhythm. It was the most played song during the 2008 and 2009 seasons of National Football League, National Hockey League and Major League Baseball.[10][11]

Personnel

  • Freddie Mercury – lead and backing vocals, handclaps, footstomps
  • Brian May – electric guitar, backing vocals, handclaps, footstomps
  • Roger Taylor – backing vocals, handclaps, footstomps
  • John Deacon – backing vocals, handclaps, footstomps

Five + Queen version

"We Will Rock You"
Single by Five + Queen
from the album Invincible
B-side
  • Megamix
  • Keep on Movin' (The Five-A-Side Mix)
Released 17 July 2000
Format
Recorded 1999
Genre
Length 3:08
Label Sony BMG
Producer(s)
  • Richard Stannard
  • Julian Gallagher
Certification
  • Silver (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 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, three years before the release of the Five cover.

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.[18]

Tracklisting

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

Certifications

Region Certification
Italy (FIMI)[50] Gold
United States (RIAA)[51] Gold

Cover versions

1990s

2000s

  • 2000: American hip hop producer DJ Hurricane and vocalist Scott Weiland collaborated on a cover of the song for the album Don't Sleep.[55]
  • 2000: Actress Kimberly Williams performs an alternate version of the song for the television miniseries The 10th Kingdom.
  • 2001: German singer Max Raabe covered the song with the Palast Orchester in a 1920–1930s band style.
  • 2003: John Farnham performed a rendition for his Greatest Hits CD, featuring samples from the original recording.
  • 2003: A remix by KCPK, sung by a chorus of children, was released in a series of animated Evian adverts which aired in France, Germany and Belgium. The remix was later released as a single and entered the local charts.[56]
  • 2004: American pop singers Britney Spears, Beyoncé and Pink used this song in an international commercial Pepsi campaign and the song was released on Pepsi Music 2004: Britney Exclusive CD.[57]
  • 2005: Canadian rock band Nickelback covered the song as a bonus track, through a promotion with Walmart, for their album All the Right Reasons. It was also included on the album's lead single "Photograph" as a B-Side.
  • 2009: Australian Idol winner of season 7 Stan Walker did a cover on the show and recorded a version on his debut album Introducing Stan Walker (2010).[58]
  • 2012: German classical violinist David Garrett covered the song on his 2012 studio album Music.
  • 2013: American musical TV series Glee covered the song in the twentieth episode of their fourth season, "Lights Out".[59]

Live cover performances

1990s

  • 1992: Guns N' Roses singer Axl Rose performed the song with Queen at the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert.[60][61]
  • 1992: U2 used the song as a set list opener before they performed on stage during the Zoo TV Tour.[62]
  • 1993: Nirvana performed it in São Paulo, Brazil, changing the lyrics to "we will fuck you".[63]
  • 1996: Alanis Morissette and her band ended the first encore of her "Can't Not" Tour (following the song, "You Learn") with a cover of the song, with Alanis playing the "stomp-stomp-clap" rhythm on drums.[64]

2000s

2010s

Remixes

Sampling

1990s

2000s

  • 2002: American rapper Eminem sampled the "stomp-clap" on his album The Eminem Show for the song "'Till I Collapse".
    • 2004: He also sampled it on his song "Puke" from Encore.
    • 2010: The song "Cinderella Man" from Recovery, features the "stomp-clap" beat.
  • 2005: Edson & Hudson sampled the "stomp-clap" on their hit "Galera Coração".
  • 2003: Kid Rock samples the song on "Hillbilly Stomp" from his self-titled album. The song uses banjos, dobros and slide guitar to make it sound unique.
  • 2006: American industrial metal band Revolting Cocks used the sampled "stomp-clap" for the song "Revolting Cock au Lait" and its shorter version "RevColution Medley", both of them from the album Cocked and Loaded.
  • 2007: Bon Jovi used the song as intro of their song "Summertime" in all the Lost Highway Tour.
  • 2007: Prince used the song as the introductory music of his halftime show at Super Bowl XLI on 4 February in Miami, Florida.
  • 2009: Japanese rock band Garnet Crow sampled the "stomp-clap" in their song "Doing All Right."

2010s

Parodies and references to the song

  • 1987: Henry Rollins did a parody of "We Will Rock You" titled "I Have Come to Kill You".[83]
  • 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.
  • 1991: Full House, in the episode "Happy Birthday Babies Part 2", when Becky is breathing to ease her contractions, she breathes to the stomp/clap rhythm, and Danny jokingly sings "We will, we will rock you."
  • 1994-95: Domino's Pizza would use the theme for their "Gotta be, gotta be Domino's" campaign. The jingle was originally used for the introduction of buffalo wings to their menu.
  • 1998: In sitcom Friends episode "The One Where Ross Moves In", Ross moves in with Chandler and Joey and left a recording in their answering machine singing: "We will, We will, call you back".
  • 2001: In the intro to the film A Knight's Tale, the song can be heard while the crowd produces the associated rhythm.
  • 2003: Blondie's song "Good Boys" uses the line "You got me on your face/A big disgrace."
  • 2004: Scum of the Earth did a cover version on their debut album Blah...Blah...Blah...Love Songs for the New Millennium. However, the song title was changed to "Pornstar Champion" with modified lyrics.
  • 2006: In "Please Homer, Don't Hammer 'Em", an episode of The Simpsons, Lenny and Carl sing "We Will Rock You", while kicking the toolbox where Marge Simpson is hidden.
  • 2007: In "The Storm", an episode of Drake & Josh, all of the people in Drake and Josh's house start singing the song after the crank-able television breaks.
  • 2010: The cast of the Off-Broadway musical Avenue Q performed covers of "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions" in a video spoof of the Muppets' Bohemian Rhapsody.[84]
  • 2012: In "He Will Mock You", an episode of The Annoying Orange, a spoof of the song called "He Will Mock You" was sung when Orange, Pear, Midget Apple, and Marshmallow backfire after Orange gets mocked by a coconut, a lime, and a banana.
  • 2012: In the edition of WWE Raw of 12 March, The Rock performed his version during the Rock Concert segment by adding references to Team Bring It and fans chanting "Cena Sucks" in the chorus while taking aim at John Cena before they square off at WrestleMania XXVIII.[85]
  • 2013: German power metal quintet Helloween released a song on their Burning Sun EP, which will be later released in their Straight Out of Hell album, called "Wanne Be God, which was created to be similar to "We Will Rock You" and is dedicated to Freddie Mercury.[86]
  • 2014: Indonesian singer Ahmad Dhani made a video with three Indonesian Idols for supporting the Indonesian Candidates Prabowo Hatta and Ahmad Dhani wears a Nazi Costume. It was noted as one of the worst political campaigns ever.[87]

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External links

Preceded by
"How Deep Is Your Love" by the Bee Gees
French number-one single (Queen version)
24 March 1977 – 31 March 1977 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Magnolias Forever" by Claude François
Preceded by
"Life Is a Rollercoaster" by Ronan Keating
UK Singles Chart number-one single (Five + Queen version)
29 July 2000 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"7 Days" by Craig David
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