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We Will Rock You by Queen

Album: News Of The WorldReleased: 1977Charted:
4
  • Queen guitarist Brian May wrote this, and claimed the idea for the song came in a dream. He told Mojo magazine October 2008 that he wanted to "create a song that the audience could participate in."

    In the Days of Our Lives documentary, he remembered a gig where the crowd chanted the Liverpool Football Club anthem, "You'll Never Walk Alone" at the band as they left the stage. "I went to bed thinking, 'What could you ask them to do?' They're all squeezed in there, but they can clap their hands, they can stamp their feet, and they can sing," he noted. "In the morning I woke up and had the idea in my head for 'We Will Rock You."
  • Freddie Mercury wrote the song that follows on the album, "We Are The Champions." Although Queen did not intend it this way, the two songs are usually played together. The songs segue together on the album, so disc jockeys would let them play, which is how listeners got used to hearing it.

    "We Will Rock You" was released as a double A-side single with "We Are The Champions." Since the single's release, the band has almost always used "Rock You" and "Champions" as a back-to-back encore, with "Champions" closing the show and segueing into a tape playing Queen's version of "God Save The Queen."
  • A funny story emerged from the sessions surrounding "We Will Rock You." The Punk band Sex Pistols were recording at Wessex studios around the same time, and bassist Sid Vicious drunkenly interrupted the Queen sessions to berate Mercury and ask if he'd "brought ballet to the masses" yet, as he'd been quoted as wanting to do in an earlier NME interview.

    "I called him, I dunno, Simon Ferocious or something, and just pushed him out. I think... yeah, I think we passed that test" noted Freddie with a wink in one interview, whilst drummer Taylor noted in the Days of our Lives documentary that Vicious was "a moron... an idiot!"

    Perhaps this all explains the lyrics to 'We Will Rock You'?

    Incidentally, it was Queen who accidentally gave the Sex Pistols their big break - they pulled out of an appearance on the Grundy TV show, so label EMI sent the Sex Pistols on in their place in what turned out to be the infamous "filth and the fury" interview.
  • This was featured in an episode of Cheers, where people in the bar gradually form the famous drumbeat with glasses, pool cues, and whatever items were handy.
  • The remaining members of Queen performed this at their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001. Brian May and Roger Taylor took turns on the vocals.
  • On Queen's next album, they had another set of songs disc jockeys played together. "Bicycle Race" and "Fat Bottomed Girls" were segued together on their album Jazz. Those songs were also released as a double A-side single.
  • In the US, this is often played at sporting events in an effort to intimidate the opposing team. It plays well in stadiums where fans are encouraged to stomp their feet and make a lot of noise.
  • In London, a Queen musical called We Will Rock You opened in 2002. The show is about a futuristic world where there are no musical instruments and a lack of creativity, but with the help of Queen's music, a bunch of renegades liberate the planet. It was panned by critics, but became a very popular show. In 2004, the show opened in Las Vegas.
  • This was featured in the 2001 movie A Knight's Tale.
  • This was featured in a episode of Full House where Laurie Laughlin's character was giving birth and doing Lamaze breathing exercises and Bob Saget's character was humming the melody to the song. (thanks, Britney - Calabasas, CA)
  • In 2004, this was used in a lavish commercial for Pepsi that ran in the UK. The ad featured Brian May, Roger Taylor, Britney Spears, Beyoncé and Pink dressed up as ancient Romans.
  • Queen recites a passage from Hermann Hesse's novel Siddhartha in their 1977 BBC re-take of the song. (thanks, Kaity - Harrisburg, PA)
  • Queen often performed a faster version of the song at their concerts, since they wanted an up-tempo song to start the show and get the crowd going. In the late '70s and early '80s, they would often open their shows with this version. This can be heard on their 1979 Live Killers album, as well as the 1981 Rock Montreal DVD and the 1982 On Fire Live at the Bowl DVD. It was replaced in the setlist as the opener by "One Vision" in 1986. (thanks, Bertrand - Paris, France)
  • The band noted that for the News of the World album in 1977, they wanted to go for a more simple, stripped-down sound. Roger Taylor notes in several interviews that perhaps this was a response to the Punk explosion, which actively encouraged stripped-down instrumentation. "We knew we couldn't reinvent ourselves into a punk band, but perhaps maybe we could make it a bit more simple... to keep more in tune with what was going on at the time" notes the drummer. The band (except for Brian May, of course) even got shorter haircuts around this time.

    May said in Q magazine, March 2008: "At the opposite extreme stylistically (referring to the musical excess of "The Millionaire Waltz"), there's almost nothing in this. It's our 'three ages of man' anthem."
  • Queen never released this as a single in the UK. However in 2000 the boy band Five decided they wanted to cover the track and they approached the remaining members of Queen. Not only did they say yes, but also Brian May and Roger Taylor agreed to play on it. This version, which was credited to Five and Queen, spent one week at the top of the UK singles chart.
  • In an interview with National Public Radio's Terry Gross, Brian May said that his degree in astrophysics helped in the recording of the crucial 'stomp-stomp-clap!" rhythm of the song. He explained: "Being a physicist, I said, 'Suppose there were 1,000 people doing this; what would be happening?' And I thought, Well, you would be hearing them stamping. You would also be hearing a little bit of an effect, which is due to the distance that they are from you. So I put lots of individual repeats on them. Not an echo but a single repeat at various distances. And the distances were all prime numbers."
    May continued: "Now, much later on, people designed a machine to do this. But that's what we did. When we recorded each track, we put a delay of a certain length on it. And none of the delays were harmonically related. So there's no echo on it whatsoever, but the clapped sound - they spread around the stereo, but they also kind of spread from a distance from you - so you just feel like you're in the middle of a large number of people stamping and clapping."
  • Brian May told NPR how recording the song in a church helped with its sound. "We were very lucky," he said. "We were working in an old, disused church in North London, and it already had a nice sound. And there were some old boards lying around, but they just seemed ideal to stamp on."

    He expanded on this in the Days of our Lives documentary: "I found some old boards under the stairs, and thought - well, what does this sound like? And the rest is history."
  • According to a survey by royalty-distribution service BMI, based off data from MLB, NFL and NHL games in 2009-2010, this is the most-played song at sporting events. The #2 song was Kevin Rudolf's "Let It Rock," followed by Nickelback's "Burn It To The Ground."
  • At the 2012 London Olympics Closing Ceremony, Queen - represented by Taylor and May - appeared, and performed this song with the British Pop star Jessie J.
  • At the 2012 Reading Festival, headliners My Chemical Romance invited Brian May onstage with them for their encore, and he was welcomed on to the stage by the "We Will Rock You" beat. May accordingly performed his signature solo, then played on MCR's song "Welcome To The Black Parade" to close the show. For MCR the show was significant - the previous time they had appeared at Reading Festival they had been booed and bottled, and so had refused to appear ever since. Queen was similarly scorned at a French festival in the early 1980s, hence why MCR singer Gerard Way wanted Brian May to appear with the band.
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Comments: 63

Without 'Give Peace a Chance' this song would never have been written. Freddie admitted that they were heavily influenced by The Beatles. You just have to listen to 'Flash' to hear the influence of The Beatles.Howard - Wakefield, United Kingdom
One of the best song's ever, absolute genius, great beat, great sound, great lyrics, just completely perfect!Nikita - Drogheda, Ireland
In the beginning is it really people stomping their feet on boards? That's what it sounds like but I've always wondered how they got that effect. Is it synthesized?Heather - Los Angeles, Ca
Remember that episode of "Drake & Josh" where the boys and most of their friends are stranded at the boys' during a storm while they were about to head to one of Drake's concerts? Well, this is the song that everybody sings at the very end.Alec Thorp - Yorktown Heights, Ny
originally these released as a single a-side without double a-side "we are the champions" only. Radio always played them back-to-back, which explains why they were sometimes referred to as a Double A-sided single.Irfan - Bekasi, Indonesia
all you did was say how it was made and stuff you didnt say wat it ment waaCooper - North Salt Lake, Ut
This is one of my favorite guitar solos of all time. I've always loved Brian May's solos, there fun and with a lil practice, easy to play. But this is by far one of the most awesome...est...er...ever!Brandon - Philadelphia, Pa
We will rock you sounds like a song about a rock band intending to make a rock star out of an old, scruffy, uneducated hillbilly. This song is not old enough to play on "The Andy Griffith Show", but if it were, it could very well be referring to Earnest T. Bass. Barney and Andy tried to make a gentleman out of Earnest T. I just had to say sarcastically in my mind "Good luck with that!" I say in my mind the same thing to anyone who tries to make a rock star out of that same kind of scruffy guy. Well actually, I wouldn't intend to discourage anyone from trying that, because God can help us do anything - whatever complies with God's will, that is. Oh by the way, why is this band called "Queen"?Andrew - Birmingham, United States
Actually, Joey is "somewhat" right... See my comments to "We are the champions". Another "fist-pumping, rally cry" for the gay community to wake up and fight for the right.

Many didn't want to believe that Rob Halford of Judas Priest wrote 85% of the songs with gay overtones until Halford came out and said so.

Maybe it's fans that refuse to believe but as a canvas is to a painter to express his/her feelings so is the microphone to the singer.
Russ - Richmond, Va
I love the song but the beat is a little repeatitiveRachel - Cleveland, Al
This song is playable in Donkey Konga for the Nintendo Gamecube.Matthew - Milford, Ma
I think the musical of the same name has to be one of the most embarrassing, excruciating cash-ins of all time.Lucy - London, England
Joey, are you in NY so homophobic that you feel the need to relate everything about Queen to homosexuality? First, Freddie Mercury (can you remember this name now?) was bisexual. Second: the song was written by Brian May, who has never been gay or bi. Third: Freddie didn't "came out of the closet" until the second half of the 80s, and the song was released in 1977. Fourth: it has become a gay anthem, but it was not intended to be such a thing at all, exactly like We Are the Champions was not intended to be a sport anthem.Stefano - Rome, Italy
By far their best? Are you kidding me? There is so much wrong with you saying that.Jasen - Milford, Mi
Great Song.....By far their bestMike - Hueytown , Al
this song is ironically as stated played at many sports events, they play it at my schools football games etc. but this song was actually originally a gay anthem, that was written when the lead singer of queen (dont know his name off the top of my head) came out of the closetJoey - New York , Ny
Charles, you're right, Jonathon, you're wrong(I think), a Double a-side means that there are two sides, sides 1 and 2, one song on each side. So say side 1 is Bycicle Race and Side 2 is Fat Bottomed Girls.Jonathan - Johnstown, Pa
Dude, the edited double A-side "Fat Bottomed Girls/Bicycle Race" are segued together, not the ones on the album.Jonathon - Clermont, Fl
Fat Bottomed Girls did not segue into Bicycle Race, Jealousy was in between themCharles - Acworth, Ga
I dont like this song very much even though im a really big Queen fan. i would probably like it if it wasnt so overplayedHeadbanger1 - Orangeville, Canada
this is one of the great rock anthems of all timeJeff - Toronto, Canada
Hilarious cover/parody by the Evolution Control Committee.Fyodor - Denver, Co
Lacey, Brian May wrote wrote the songAmy - Dallas, Tx
this was played in A Knight's Tale (2001) and The Mighty Ducks(1992)Nathan - Insomeplace, Ky
Great in this award-winning commercial... if listening at work, don't have volume up too loud! Live young! http://www.epica-awards.org/assets/epica/2004/winners/film/flv/06037.htm

Jo, Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, WA
Jo - Oak Harbor, Wa
...Has anyone thought about the lyrics? I've heard that they're about a boy who's coming to terms with his sexuality and standing up for himself against his father and his peers. Whether that's true or not, I don't know, but who knows? I wouldn't be surprised it was, nor if it wasn't.Lacey - Slippery Rock, Pa
Did anyone know, Freddie was smashed while making this video? They filmed it in Rogers garden and Freddie got drunk on Brandy. They actually filmed 2 songs at the same spot "Spread your Wings" and "We Will Rock You". You can actually see the footage on the DVD "Queen : Champions of the World". Freddie is stumbling all over himself. Its quite funny!! The crew filming were getting annoyed because Freddie couldn't consentrate on the words... lol.. Poor Freddie!!!Alicia - Tamaqua, Pa
They will, they will rock you. Best band in the world.Amy - Dallas, Tx
the song is infamous, and every time i hear it its almost to hard not to sing along or pound the rhythm. Anyway, i love the song.Galina - New London, Ct
When I "Graduated' from Pre-school they played this song and we all sang along. The first two groups that turned me on to Classic Rock... Again were Pink Floyd and Queen.Johnny - Los Angeles, Ca
This song is so overplayed. It is a good song though. It's a great way to shut people up. Like this time when me and my friends went to the tavern at Millmerran called the Mill Inn. It used to be called Blandys but the new owners changed the title. Anyways evryone in the tavern were just shouting and making heaps of noise. So I put this song on the jukebox and everyone clapped along. We got in trouble for hitting the walls and banging pool sticks. Good song.The Darkness Rock - Millmerran, Australia
Mariko from London noted the run-in that Queen had with Sid Vicious. His response was utter genius Freddie (and I'm gonna paraphrase here): "Ah, my dear Mr. Ferocious, but we try."

And Karl from Preston: Green Day has been playing We Will Rock You over the PA before they go on, and encoring with We Are The Champions.
Brian - Fullerton (the Paris Of Oc), Ca
I love Freddie's glasses in the video to this song. The video is also filmed on the same day as 'Spread Your Wings', and he has the same glasses in it, so I love the glasses to both. LoLJake - Newport, Nh
Queen spoils the crap out of you because they were nearly perfect in... yes, every aspect I can think of, and so everything and everyone else dulls in comparision. it almost becomes a problem for me. But not really. lol Its like complaining: Freddie Mercurya nd teh Gang... they were too perfectFreddie - Orlando, Fl
DULL? This song is one of the best head banging songs ever!! Well, in my opinion, but I still can't see it in your perspective..I mean how can a Dull song get my cousins 3y/o son pumped up to sing all of the lyrics, jump and dance... Quite entertaining I should think.. SAME FOR ME Janette!!! Queen turned me into a classic rock babe!!! I love all classic rock. Mainly Queen, but they are all in my book! And I envy you Jamie!!!Alicia - Tamaqua, Pa
queen is what turned me to classic rock...ah...i still love the band for not only hooking me to queen, but also to led zeppelin, pink floyd, and other bands that i like. come to think of it...those are pretty much my favorites.Jeanette - Irvine, Ca
jamie from bethesda: i am insanely jealous!!!!!!Jeanette - Irvine, Ca
I love queen, but this is one hell of a dull songDanny - Sydney, Australia
alicia you're just like me!!!!! those are the two songs i know all the words to and sing all the time! my friend marianne and i have special fun with we will rock you...unfortunately she doesn't like don't stop me now that much so she doesn't know all the words. :(Jeanette - Irvine, Ca
"News of the World", This album produced the anthemic "We Will Rock You" and the famous rock ballad "We Are The Champions" (both of which combined together reached number 4 in the U.S.), as well as the punchy, near-punk sound of "Sheer Heart Attack" (not to be confused with the album of the same name released three years earlier) - and possibly an influence on Queens Of The Stone Age's "Feelgood Hit of the Summer" which features an alarmingly similar guitar riff.Daniel Roberto DÃ?az - Panama City, Other
LOL, I know I do it all the time to ppl in my house. "We Will Rock You" and "Don't Stop Me Now". I know all the words to both of those songs plus many more, but those 2 I sing the most and it drives my family crazy if they don't feel like joining in .....lolAlicia - Tamaqua, Pa
this is the best song to sing to people to annoy them! great song! when you sing it to people, they either join you in song or stare at you strangely...Jeanette - Irvine, Ca
Love this SONG!!!! I agree if anyone doesn't know the words to this song does have serious problems..... atleast every Queen fan should know em'. :-)Alicia - Tamaqua, Pa
This was #330 in rolling stone's list of 500 greatest songs.Ross - Independence, Mo
I do beleive Greenday Proformed this on July 2ndKarl Topping - Preston, England
If you dont know the words to this song, you have a serious problem!Rob - St Davids, Wales
This was the song that turned me on to Queen, all the way back in the dark ages when I was a freshman in high school. I have never regretted a single moment. I think what really hooked me was Brian's solo guitar at the end of the song. It just soars higher and higher. Thank you, Brian, John, Roger and of course Freddie for all the great music you have given me.Jude - Thomasville, Ga
When I was in High School...one of those motivational tours came bye and we were all in the auditorium. Before the Curtain came up..they asked everyone to stop their Feet and then clap their hands (nobody knew what was going on) until We will Rock you started being played in the Background....It did indeed get everyone pumped up and I still remember the experience 23 years later....WOWJamie - Bethesda, Md
Truley a great one. Its funny, people think that songs like this one and "we are the champions" have just been around forever, that they werent written by anyone. "Its really the best complimaent you can have" Brian said to roger once, and after a bit of rememberance and a smile added, "I suppose I'm quite....quite proud of it."
aawww
Freddie - Orlando, Fl
Great rock song. Associated with sporting events in the U.S. What pleases me is to see little kindergarten kids respond to the beat as well. A classic.Billy - Oakland, Ca
I have a Rolling Stones mag. special 500 best rock music and it appears that Sid Vicious told Freddy Mercury that he's music was ballet for rockers, that's why he wrote we will rock you... You can comment what you want, personally it could be possible 'cause Freddy Mercury was often in england.Mariko - London, England
Probably one of the most aggressive songs- only subtle enough for most people not to notice. But I am loving it for the energy that it sets free- Jazzz, GermanyJazzz - Frankfurt, Germany
The first Queen album, incidentally, which did not says "no synthesizers". Probably due to the fact that Brian used synthesized guitar during "Get Down Make Love".Kent Lyle - Palo Alto, Ca
This is such an inspirational song! Queen rock!Tim - Liverpool, England
some people think that the music on this track wasn't actually hands and feet and that it was objects being hit against walls in an old church. But if you listen to Roger Taylor's Interview On the "Live at Wembley" DVD he clearly says it Was hands and feet. If you dont beleive me check it yourself its on the bonus features diskJonathan Horgan - Cork, Ireland
In his 92 campaign, Pat Buchanon sometimes entered to this song, ironic.Nate - Buffalo, Ny
I luv this song it is soooo cool... and at my school it is such a big hit at pep-ralliesAshley - Watts, Pa
For my money, one of the greatest guitar solos in the history of rock. Complete with the Brian May trademark of turning the treble all the way up.Raja - Austin, Tx
On Five's cover version of "We Will Rock You", they purloined the dance to "Radio Ga-Ga". Their cover of "We Will Rock You" became Five's biggest hit when it made No.1 in 2000, but also destroyed their career as it provoked a huge backlash from critics and Queen fans alike - many of whom also turned against Roger Taylor and Brian May for contributing to the remake, accusing them of doing it to line their own pockets.Dave - Cardiff, Wales
Although everyone thinks that song was recorded by stomping their feet and clapping their hands it was actually them banging pieces of wood and other items against a wall in a old church but the hand claps were just that.Ken - Yorkton, Canada
In 1999 Brian May & Roger Taylor did a re-make of the song with the successful, at the time, boy band 5ive. No comment...Sandra - Tel Aviv, Israel
This has to be one of the best motivational songs ever written along with We Are the Champions.Janet - Perth, Australia
the song also gets played alot at basketball games in AustraliaPete - Nowra, Australia