We Are the Champions

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"We Are the Champions" is a power ballad written by Freddie Mercury, recorded and performed by British rock band Queen for their 1977 album News of the World. One of their most famous and popular songs, it has since become an anthem for sporting victories including as official theme song for 1994 FIFA World Cup and has been often used or referenced in popular culture (see below). The song has been covered by many artists.

Contents

Original Queen version

Music

Musically, it is based around Mercury's piano part, with Roger Taylor and John Deacon providing a drums and bass guitar backing. Brian 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), and in live performances, Mercury often deferred to let Taylor handle the highest parts of the melody. Exceptions to this were Mercury's performances of the song at The Hammersmith Odeon during the Crazy Tour in 1979 and at the Live Aid concert in 1985.

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). 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.

Chart performances

In 1977-1978, "We Are the Champions" was released as a single in many countries, including the U.S. where it reached number 4 on the Billboard Pop Singles, UK, Ireland and Norway where it reached the top ten, and Germany, Austria and Sweden where it was a top 15 hit.

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