Queen lead singer Freddie Mercury wrote this. All four members of Queen contributed hit songs to the band's repertoire. Brian May wrote this song's counterpart, "We Will Rock You
Freddie Mercury stated: "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 also be construed as my version of "I Did It My Way." We have made it, and it certainly wasn't easy. No bed of roses as the song says. And it's still not easy."
This was released as a double A-side single with "We Will Rock You." On the album, it flows seamlessly from "We Will Rock You," which led disc jockeys to play the songs together. Even though CDs allow the tracks to be separated, the two songs are still usually played together.
This is commonly played at victory celebrations by sports teams, especially in the US.
In 1992, a New Jersey high school helped revive this song in America. Students in Clifton, New Jersey asked to sing it at their graduation, but the principal refused because he associated it with Freddie Mercury, who had died of AIDS the year before. This led the students to flood New York radio station Z100 with requests for the song, which the station started playing in sympathy for their cause. Queen had already been revived in the US by "Bohemian Rhapsody
," which was used in the movie Wayne's World
, so their appeal to the next generation was evident. "We Are The Champions" caught on as well, prompting their record company to re-release the single, which made #52.
This was used in the end credits of the 1992 movie The Mighty Ducks, starring Emilio Estavez. Two years later, it was played again at the end credits of the sequel, D2, in the scene where the team is huddled around a fire and they are singing the song. As a result, the song became more popular among teens and children who play sports. The movie spawned a new name for an NHL team a year after the first movie was made. Both the team (The Mighty Ducks) and the movie are owned by Disney. (thanks, Britney - Calabasas, CA)
In 2001, Queen members Brian May and Roger Taylor recorded a new version of this with British singer Robbie Williams. This version was used in the movie A Knight's Tale.
Gavin DeGraw recorded this for the 2005 Queen tribute album Killer Queen. (thanks, Rachel - South Point, OH)
Formula 1 driver Fernando Alonso sang the song after winning the 2005 Chinese Grand Prix, securing the Contructors' title for his team, Renault. The team later released an MP3 of the song being "played" by the engine they had used in that season, with the different notes played by changing engine speeds to adjust the pitch of the engine sound and exhaust note.
A few years later in 2009, Jenson Button repeated this trick when he won the driver's championship for Brawn GP - singing the song over the radio on his slowdown lap at the Brazilian GP.
This song featured in a 2014 commercial for the Audi A3. In the spot, various celebrities, including the actress Kristen Schaal and the chef David Chang, recite lines from the song before Ricky Gervais to turn up the car's radio for the chorus.