We Will Rock You

Source: Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

"We Will Rock You"
We Will Rock You by Queen (1977 French single).png
One of the French single picture sleeves
Single by Queen
from the album News of the World
A-side"We Are the Champions"
Released7 October 1977[1]
GenreArena rock[2]
Length2:02
Label
Songwriter(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 video
"We Will Rock You" on YouTube

"We Will Rock You" is a song written by Brian May and recorded by British rock band Queen for their 1977 album News of the World.[3] Rolling Stone ranked it number 330 of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" in 2004,[4] and it placed at number 146 on the Songs of the Century list in 2001. In 2009, "We Will Rock You" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.[5][6]

Other than the last 30 seconds, which contains a guitar solo by May, the song is generally set in a cappella form, using only stomping and clapping as a rhythmic body percussion beat. In 1977, "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions" were issued together as a worldwide top 10 single.[7] Soon after the album was released, many radio stations played the songs consecutively, without interruption.[8]

Since its release, "We Will Rock You" has been covered, remixed, sampled, parodied, referred to, and used by multiple recording artists, TV shows, films and other media worldwide.[9][10] It has also become a popular stadium anthem at sports events around the world, due mostly to its simple rhythm.[11][12] On 7 October 2017, Queen released a Raw Sessions version of the track to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the release of News of the World. It features a radically different approach to the guitar solo and includes May's count-in immediately prior to the recording.[13]

Music

"We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions" were written in response to an event that occurred during the A Day at the Races Tour.[14] The band played at Stafford's Bingley Hall, and, according to Brian May:

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.[15]

One version was used as the opening track on 1977's News of the World. This 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.[16] 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.[17] The "stomp, stomp, clap" sounds were later used in the Queen + Paul Rodgers song "Still Burnin'".[18]

When performed live, the song is usually followed by "We Are the Champions", as they were designed to run together.[7] The songs are often paired on the radio and at sporting events, where they are frequently played.[7] They were the last two songs Queen performed at Live Aid in 1985.[19]

Queen also performed an alternative version of "We Will Rock You" known as the "fast version", featuring a faster-feeling 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 recording of this 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 with the original 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 Roger Taylor quoting Hermann Hesse's novel Siddhartha, 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". It was the most played song during the 2008–2009 seasons of the National Football League, National Hockey League and Major League Baseball.[12]

Music video

The music video for "We Will Rock You" was filmed in January 1977 alongside "Spread Your Wings" at the back garden of Roger Taylor's mansion.[20] It sees the band lip synching the song, hand clapping with gloves and foot stomping on a frozen ground.[21] In an interview with Billboard, Taylor spoke on filming the video:

We shot it on the grounds of a country house I'd just bought in Surrey and we hadn't completed the sale, so we weren't allowed in the house. We figured, 'we might as well shoot it here.' It was absolutely freezing cold and we did three takes.[22]

Chart performance

Certifications

Certifications for We Will Rock You
Region Certification Certified units/sales
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[43] Platinum 90,000double-dagger
France (SNEP)[44]
We Will Rock You / We Are The Champions
Gold 500,000*
Germany (BVMI)[45] Gold 250,000double-dagger
Italy (FIMI)[46] 2× Platinum 100,000double-dagger
Japan (RIAJ)[47]
Digital single
Gold 100,000*
Japan (RIAJ)[48]
Ringtone
2× Platinum 500,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[49]
sales since 2011
Platinum 600,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[50] 4× Platinum 4,000,000double-dagger

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Notable cover versions

Five + Queen version

"We Will Rock You"
Wwry 5ive.jpg
Single by Five + Queen
from the album Invincible
B-side
Released17 July 2000 (2000-07-17)[51]
Length3:08
LabelRCA, BMG
Songwriter(s)Brian May
Producer(s)
  • Richard Stannard
  • Julian Gallagher
Five singles chronology
"Don't Wanna Let You Go"
(2000)
"We Will Rock You"
(2000)
"Let's Dance"
(2001)
Queen singles chronology
"Under Pressure (Rah Mix)"
(1999)
"We Will Rock You"
(2000)
"Flash (Vanguard Mix)"
(2003)
Music video
"We Will Rock You" on YouTube

British boy band Five released a cover of "We Will Rock You" on 17 July 2000. It was the fourth single released from their second studio album, Invincible (1999). 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 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.[52]

Track listings

"Megamix" consists of four songs by Five: "Don't Wanna Let You Go", "If Ya Gettin' Down", "Keep On Movin'", and "We Will Rock You". The European and Australian versions of "Megamix" omit "We Will Rock You".

UK CD1[53]

  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—enhanced track)

UK CD2[54]

  1. "We Will Rock You" (radio edit) – 3:08
  2. "Megamix" – 4:19
  3. "Megamix" video (enhanced track)

UK cassette single[55]

  1. "We Will Rock You" (radio edit) – 3:08
  2. "Keep On Movin'" (The Five-A-Side Mix) – 3:32
  3. "Megamix" – 4:19

European CD single[56]

  1. "We Will Rock You" (radio edit) – 3:08
  2. "Megamix" – 4:19

Australian CD single[57]

  1. "We Will Rock You" (radio edit) – 3:08
  2. "Megamix" – 4:19
  3. "Keep On Movin'" (The Five-A-Side Mix) – 3:32
  4. "We Will Rock You" (video—enhanced track)

Charts

KCPK version

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.[80]

Other versions

  • 2004: American pop singers Britney Spears, Beyoncé and Pink used this song in an international commercial Pepsi campaign and the song was released on the Pepsi Music 2004: (Dare for More) CD.[90]

Sampling

  • 1992: American rapper Ice Cube sampled the beat in his song "When Will They Shoot?", from his album The Predator.[91]
  • 2002: American rapper Eminem interpolated the "stomp-stomp-clap" beat in his song "'Till I Collapse" from his album The Eminem Show and also used a similar pattern in the songs "Puke" from his album Encore and "Cinderella Man" from his album Recovery.[92]
  • 2003: The J-Kwon song "Tipsy" directly samples the "We Will Rock You" beat, but reworked into a different beat.[91][93]
  • 2011: American pop singer Katy Perry interpolated the "stomp-stomp-clap" beat in her song "E.T".[94]
  • 2011: Beyoncé interpolated the "stomp-stomp-clap" beat in her song "Dreaming", featured on the Japanese edition of her 4th album 4.[95]
  • 2011: Lady Gaga sampled the "stomp-stomp-clap" in her song "You and I", which also features the band's guitarist Brian May, from Gaga's album Born This Way.[91][96]
  • 2012: One Direction interpolated the "stomp-stomp-clap" and references "Rock" in their song "Rock Me" featured on their second album Take Me Home.[97]
  • 2012: Kesha interpolated the "stomp-stomp-clap" in her song "Gold Trans Am", featured on the deluxe edition of her second album, Warrior.[98]

Live cover performances

1990s

2000s

2010s

Remixes

Parodies and references to the song

  • 1987: Henry Rollins did a parody of "We Will Rock You" titled "I Have Come to Kill You".[119]
  • 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".[120]
  • 2012: In the March 12 edition of WWE Raw, 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.[121]
  • 2014: Indonesian singer Ahmad Dhani made a political campaign video with a parody of the song to support presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto. Dhani wore Heinrich Himmler's SS Uniform in the video.[122]
  • 2015: In The Big Bang Theory episode "The Bachelor Party Corrosion" Raj, Howard and Leonard sing a modified version of the song called, "We Will Percussive Shock You" and Sheldon burst out singing the first verse of the original song, which he then credited to his eidetic memory, mentioned that in this instance it was a 'curse.'[123]

See also

References

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    • Serwer, Jesse (16 October 2012). "The 77 Best Rock Samples in Rap History – 41. Dame Dash Presents Dream Team f/ Kanye West, Beanie Sigel, Cam'Ron, Young Chris and Twista "We Are the Champions" (2002)". Complex. Retrieved 16 March 2014. The distinctive stomp-stomp-clap drum pattern from "We Will Rock You"—the apotheosis of arena rock
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External links

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