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We Are The Champions Song Analysis Essay

This article is about the song by Queen. For the British television game show, see We Are the Champions (TV series). For other uses, see We Are the Champions (disambiguation).

"We Are the Champions" is a song by the British rock band Queen, first released on their 1977 album News of the World.[1] Written by lead singer Freddie Mercury, it is one of Queen's most popular songs, and one of rock's most recognisable anthems.[2]

The song was a worldwide success, reaching number two in the UK Singles Chart, and number four on the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States.[3][4] In 2009, "We Are the Champions" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame,[5] and was voted the world's favourite song in a 2005 Sony Ericsson world music poll.[6] In 2011, a team of scientific researchers concluded that the song was the catchiest in the history of popular music.[7]

"We Are the Champions" has become an anthem for victories at sporting events,[2] including as official theme song for the 1994 FIFA World Cup, and has been often used or referenced in popular culture. The song has also been covered by many artists.

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 was made from previously unheard vocal and instrumental takes from the original multi-track tapes. It also presents for the first time the original recorded length of the track, which is two choruses more than the 1977 edited single.[8]


Written by Freddie Mercury, "We Are the Champions" was built on audience response, with Brian May stating, "We wanted to get the crowds waving and singing. It's very unifying and positive."[9]

Musically, it is based on Mercury's piano part, with Roger Taylor and John Deacon providing a drums and bass guitar backing. May overdubbed some guitar sections, initially subtle, but building to a "solo" played simultaneously with the last chorus. Mercury employed many jazz chords (major and minor 6th, 7th, 9th, 11th and 13th harmonies), and the choruses featured these voiced as 4 and 5-part vocal harmonies. The lead vocal is very demanding and strident (highest point is a C5 both belted and in falsetto), with one of Mercury's most notable performances taking place at the Live Aid concert, at Wembley Stadium, London in 1985.[10]

The single featured "We Will Rock You" as a B-side, and followed the song on the album. The two songs were often played consecutively at the close of Queen concerts, and are customarily played together on radio broadcasts (in album order).[2] Keeping with tradition, it was also used to close the 1992 Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert with all the show's acts joining in behind the lead vocal of Liza Minnelli.[2]

Music video[edit]

The video for the song was filmed at a special video shoot with fan club members at the New London Theatre Centre on 6 October 1977 and was directed by Derek Burbridge. An alternate version which starts in monochrome before blasting into colour as the drums and guitars kick in was broadcast on Top of the Pops 2 and comprises alternate footage shot on the same day.


In 2011, a team of scientific researchers concluded that the song was the catchiest song in the history of pop music, despite its not hitting #1 in the charts in any major market. Dr. Daniel Mullensiefen said of the study, "Every musical hit is reliant on maths, science, engineering and technology; from the physics and frequencies of sound that determine pitch and harmony, to the hi-tech digital processors and synthesisers which can add effects to make a song more catchier. We’ve discovered that there’s a science behind the sing-along and a special combination of neuroscience, math and cognitive psychology that can produce the elusive elixir of the perfect sing-along song."[7]

In July 2016 the song was used to introduce Donald Trump to the first session of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Queen immediately issued a statement denouncing Trump's use of the song as not authorized by the band. (Licensing for public performance of the song is administered by the performing rights organizationBroadcast Music, Inc. (BMI).)[11]

Chart performances[edit]

In 1977–1978, "We Are the Champions" was released as a single in many countries, reaching number 2 on the UK Singles Chart.[3] number 4 on Billboard in the US.,[4] the top 10 in Ireland, Netherlands, and Norway, and top 15 in Germany, Austria and Sweden.[12][13]

In 1992, 1993 and 1998, the single was re-released in France, totalling 45 weeks on the chart and peaking respectively at #19, #14, and #10 during the 1998 FIFA World Cup.[13]


Track listings[edit]

7" single (1977 release)
  1. "We Are the Champions" – 3:00
  2. "We Will Rock You" – 2:00
3" CD single (1988 release)
  1. "We Are the Champions" – 3:02
  2. "We Will Rock You" – 2:02
  3. "Fat Bottomed Girls" – 3:23
CD single (1992 release)
  1. "We Are the Champions" – 2:59
  2. "We Will Rock You / We Are the Champions" – 5:00

Charts and certifications[edit]

Weekly charts[edit]

Chart (1977–78)Peak
Australia KMR[14]8
Austrian Singles Chart[13]12
Canadian RPM Top Singles[15]3
Dutch Top 402
German Singles Chart[13]13
Irish Singles Chart[12]3
New Zealand[16]8
Norwegian Singles Chart[13]6
Swedish Singles Chart[13]14
UK Singles Chart[3]2
US Billboard Hot 100[4]4
Chart (1993–94)Peak
Dutch Mega Top 100[13]27
French Singles Chart[13]14
Chart (1998)Peak
French Singles Chart[13]10
Chart (2006)Peak
US Billboard Hot Digital Songs[4]61
Chart (2016)Peak
Poland (Polish Airplay Top 100) [17]50

Year-end charts[edit]

Chart (1977)Position
UK Singles Chart[18]23
Chart (1978)Position
Austrian Singles Chart[19]25
Canadian Top Singles[20]27
US Billboard Hot 100[21]25
Chart (1998)Position
French Singles Chart[22]72

Sales and certifications[edit]

Crazy Frog version[edit]

"We Are the Champions (Ding a Dang Dong)" is a song from 2006 by Crazy Frog inspired by Queen's hit from 1977, "We Are the Champions". It was released as a single on 5 June 2006. A cover of the 1977 song from Queen of the same name, it was released to coincide with the 2006 World Cup. Vocal arrangements include a sample portion of Queen's original rendering.

Music video[edit]

The music video depicts Crazy Frog in bed dreaming that he is competing in a soccer match against Killbots. Though outnumbered, he easily defeats and humiliates them. One goal rebounds off the net knocking him out and causing him to briefly wake up. Having defeated his enemies he finds himself hovering in a soccer universe.

He happens to glance at hundreds of clones marching toward him. He panics and runs in fear. He reaches a tall stairway leading up to a giant gold trophy. Crazy Frog becomes exhausted near the top unlike his indefatigable pursuants. The trophy turns into a giant soccer ball that begins to roll rapidly down toward Crazy Frog.

Crazy Frog is crushed and falls with the ball all the way back to the ground, startling him enough to wake up. When the music video was originally released online, it appeared as it was released. However, the current version lacks the soccer ball being kicked and the accompanying sound effects.

After being internationally released, it was shown before the animated movie Cars.

Chart performances[edit]

The single had its greatest success in France. It went straight to #1 on 10 June 2006, and stayed at this position for five weeks. It remained for nine weeks in the Top 10, seventeen weeks in the top fifty, and twenty five weeks in the chart. On 30 August 2006, it was certified Gold disc two months after its release by SNEP, the French certifier, and became the fifteenth best selling single in 2006 in that country.

Track listings[edit]

CD single
  1. "We Are the Champions (Ding a Dang Dong)" (radio edit) – 2:57
  2. "We Are the Champions (Ding a Dang Dong)" (club mix) – 5:49
Maxi single
  1. "We Are the Champions (Ding a Dang Dong)" (radio edit) – 2:57
  2. "We Are the Champions (Ding a Dang Dong)" (house mix) – 6:04
  3. "We Are the Champions (Ding a Dang Dong)" (club mix) – 5:51
  4. "We Are the Champions (Ding a Dang Dong)" (club mix dub) – 5:17
  5. "We Are the Champions (Ding a Dang Dong)" (video)

Certifications and sales[edit]

CountryCertificationDateSales certifiedPhysical sales
Belgium[26]Gold9 September 200620,000
France[27]Gold30 August 2006200,000205,908[28]


Chart (2006)Peak
Australian Singles Chart[29]13
Austrian Singles Chart[29]4
Belgian (Flanders) Singles Chart[29]10
Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart[29]2
Danish Singles Chart[29]3
Dutch Mega Top 100[29]100
Eurochart Hot 1002
Finnish Singles Chart[29]10
French SNEP Singles Chart[29]1
German Singles Chart[30]10
Irish IRMA Singles Chart[30]23
Italian FIMI Singles Chart[29]13
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart[29]20
Spanish Singles Chart[29]2
Swedish Singles Chart[29]11
Swiss Singles Chart[29]5
UK Singles Chart[30]11
End of year chart (2006)Position
Austrian Singles Chart[31]44
Belgian (Flanders) Singles Chart[32]36
Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart[33]12
French Singles Chart[34]15

Other versions and samplings[edit]

  • 2001: Robbie Williams on vocals with Queen (May/Taylor) for the soundtrack of the 2001 film A Knight's Tale.[35]
  • It was used in season 1 of The Big Bang Theory.
  • The song was used in an episode of Regular Show
  • The song was used in Fox animated series The Simpsons in the episode "She Used to Be My Girl".
  • 2017: Queen released a Raw Sessions version of the track in celebration of the album's 40th anniversary. It was made from previously unheard vocal and instrumental takes from the original multi-track tapes. It also presents for the first time the original recorded length of the track, which is two choruses more than the 1977 edited single.[36]

Live covers[edit]

  • Liza Minnelli and other guest artists sang this song to close The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992.
  • Green Day at Reading Festival 2004, and at Live 8 in 2005.[37][38]
  • Adam Lambert and Kris Allen, in the season 8 finale of American Idol, on 20 May 2009.[39]
  • In 2011, Christina Aguilera, Cee Lo Green, Adam Levine & Blake Shelton covered the song at The Voice.[40]
  • In 2012, Katy Perry covered the song at Summertime Ball 2012 edition in front of 80,000 at the new Wembley Stadium, in London.[41]
  • During their 2014 tour, Monumentour, Fall Out Boy covered a short version of the song on stage before going into their title track 'Save Rock and Roll' off of the 2013 album.


  1. ^BRITs 25 Song Award: We Are The Champions – QueenBBC Retrieved 21 January 2011
  2. ^ abcdWe Are the Champions: Song ReviewAllMusic Retrieved 21 January 2011
  3. ^ abcUK Singles Chart (Retrieved 29 July 2008)
  4. ^ abcdBillboard (Retrieved 29 July 2008)
  5. ^Grammy Hall of Fame Retrieved 21 April 2011
  6. ^Haines, Lester (29 September 2005) 'We Are The Champions' voted world's fave song (Sony Ericsson world music poll) Retrieved 21 April 2011
  7. ^ abWe Are The Champions voted catchiest pop song of all time... by scientists, The Daily Mail, 29 September 2011
  8. ^"We Are The Champions & We Will Rock You - The Unheard 'Raw Sessions'". Queen Online. Retrieved 27 October 2017. 
  9. ^For the first time ever...Queen: Ten great hits from the sensational rock bandMail Online Retrieved 21 January 2011
  10. ^"Sacha Baron Cohen to play Freddie Mercury"BBC News Retrieved 22 January 2011
  11. ^Queen want Donald Trump to stop using their music. But the law might be on Trump's side.
  12. ^ abIrish Single Chart (Retrieved 29 July 2008)
  13. ^ abcdefghi"We Are the Champions", in various singles charts (Retrieved 29 July 2008)
  14. ^ abSteffen Hung. "Forum - 1970 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Archived from the original on 2 June 2016. Retrieved 2016-10-13. 
  15. ^"Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-13. 
  16. ^"NZ Top 40 Singles Chart | The Official New Zealand Music Chart". 1978-02-05. Retrieved 2016-10-13. 
  17. ^"Listy bestsellerów, wyróżnienia :: Związek Producentów Audio-Video". Polish Airplay Top 100. Retrieved 4 July 2016.
  18. ^Hunter, Nigel; Scaping, Peter, eds. (1978). "Top 100 Singles in 1977". BPI Year Book 1978 (3rd ed.). London, England: The British Phonographic Industry Ltd. pp. 216–17. ISBN 0-906154-01-4. 
  19. ^1978 Austrian Singles Chart (Retrieved 29 July 2008)
  20. ^"Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Retrieved 2016-10-13. 
  21. ^"Top 100 Hits of 1978/Top 100 Songs of 1978". Retrieved 2016-10-13. 
  22. ^1998 French Singles Chart Disqueenfrance.comArchived 1 February 2014 at the Wayback Machine. (Retrieved 29 July 2008)
  23. ^ abFrench certifications and sales:
  24. ^"British single certifications – Queen – We Are the Champions". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved December 27, 2015. Enter We Are the Champions in the search field and then press Enter.
  25. ^ ab"American single certifications – Queen – We Are the Champions". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved December 27, 2015. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  26. ^Belgian certifications (Retrieved 11 August 2008)
  27. ^French certifications Disqueenfrance.comArchived 7 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine. (Retrieved 16 December 2007)
  28. ^2006 French Singles Chart (Retrieved 16 December 2007)
  29. ^ abcdefghijklm"We Are the Champions (Ding a Dang Dong)", in various singles charts (Retrieved 16 December 2007)
  30. ^ abc"We Are the Champions (Ding a Dang Dong)", in various singles charts (Retrieved 29 July 2008)
  31. ^2006 Austrian Singles Chart (Retrieved 17 May 2008)
  32. ^2006 Belgian (Flanders) Singles Chart (Retrieved 29 July 2008)
  33. ^2006 Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart (Retrieved 29 July 2008)
  34. ^2006 French Singles Chart Disqueenfrance.comArchived 4 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine. (Retrieved 16 December 2007)
  35. ^Soundtrack for "A Knight's Tale". Internet Movie Database.
  36. ^"We Are The Champions & We Will Rock You - The Unheard 'Raw Sessions'". Queen Online. Retrieved 27 October 2017. 
  37. ^Live 8 accounts: Berlin BBC. Retrieved 11 July 2011
  38. ^"Green Day American Idiot". BBC. Retrieved 4 March 2015
  39. ^Kaufman, Gil (20 May 2009). "Kris Allen, Adam Lambert Tear Up Queen's 'We Are The Champions' – News Story | Music, Celebrity, Artist News | MTV News". MTV. Retrieved 16 March 2012. 
  40. ^'The Voice': Christina Aguilera, Blake Shelton, Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green Perform Queen MedleyThe Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 16 March 2012
  41. ^"Katy Perry Parties Out In London After Summertime Ball 2012 Performance". Capital FM. Retrieved 20 June 2012

External links[edit]

“We Are The Champions” was released in 1977 by Queen as part of their behemoth double-sided single that also included “We Will Rock You.” Here we are some 37 years later and there is still really nothing to compare to it when it comes to describing triumph over tribulation. Chances are you heard it in some capacity Sunday night at the conclusion of Super Bowl XLVIII.

So why is it that no song in all this time has proved able to knock “We Are The Champions” off the top of the medal stand? Maybe it’s because Queen, in their own way, endured their own version of rugged competition in terms of their battles against skeptical critics and sneering musical contemporaries who looked askance at the band’s unique combination of florid theatricality and arena-rock thunder. Not only did they survive these battles, they became one of the world’s biggest bands.

All of Queen’s band members were songwriters, but this one could only have come from the pen of lead singer Freddie Mercury, who drew on both soccer crowds and the band’s history for inspiration. “I was thinking about football when I wrote it,” Mercury said. “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.”

Mercury also took advantage of the fact that he would be doing the singing, composing a swooping melody to which only his powerful pipes could quite do justice. In the song’s closing moments, Freddie’s multi-tracked vocals are joined in the stratosphere by Brian May’s acrobatic guitar solo for an aerial victory lap.

Any sports fan will tell you that the most memorable teams are the ones who overcome long odds and many hardships to get to the summit, and “We Are The Champions” taps into that struggle. Like anyone at the top of any field, the narrator displays a healthy chip on his shoulder (“I’ve done my sentence/But committed no crime.”) Yet he also admits his follies and shows genuine gratitude to those who helped him reach this point.

Like any champion, Mercury doesn’t fold in the face of his setbacks. If anything, they harden his resolve and gird his loins for the battle, as he makes clear in the stirring final verse: “But it’s been no bed of roses/No pleasure cruise/I consider it a challenge before the whole human race/And I ain’t gonna lose.”

That leaves the chorus, which is part taunt, part acceptance speech, all delirious exultation. Freddie Mercury and Queen proved prophetic with “We Are The Champions.” It might not be the whole human race, but thousands of songwriters and artists have had the chance to take a crack at writing and performing a better celebration of victory, and still no one is quite in their league.

Read the lyrics.