Meaning of “We Are the Champions” by Queen

Many people will recognize this son as a popular anthem used during sporting events, including being the theme song of the 1994 World Cup. Part of the reason for the athletic appeal of Queen’s “We Are the Champions” is the fact that Freddie Mercury (Queen’s lead singer and writer of this song) had football in mind when putting it together. Yes! He really did!

Lyrics of "We Are the Champions"

The lyrics of this track center on Freddie reveling in being victorious – indeed a champion. Part of what makes this milestone celebratory is that it was a hard-fought victory. To put it succinctly, the singer suffered before reaching this standard of excellence and recognition.

And wow that he has achieved this enviable status, of course he is receiving all of the fame and fortune that goes along with being a champion. However, this only makes him more appreciative of what he had to go through to get there. And one of his main motivations for aspiring to achieve this lofty goal is just to prove to the world that he could do so.

Ultimately this song expresses a lack of sympathy for losers. Rather it implies that victory is achieved through consistent, painful effort. And in seeking to become “champions”, Mercury and his homeys are willing to engage in this battle until the very end.

Facts about “We Are the Champions”

  • This song was entirely written by Mercury. It was inspired by the sport of football as well as Queen’s real-life struggles on their road to success.
  • Furthermore initial inspiration for this track sprang from an experience Queen had in which after performing a gig the crowd chanted a popular football song.  This occurrence also inspired the penning of its sister track, “We Will Rock You” written by Brian May.
  • Queen produced this song with the assistance of the late English record producer Mike Stone.
  • “We Are the Champions” is a popular ‘stadium song’ – i.e. one played during major sporting events – worldwide. It is particularly more famous in the United States than anywhere else in the world. And why? This is partially due to it being featured in the 1992 Disney movie The Mighty Ducks  as well as its sequel, “D2: the Mighty Ducks” (1994). In addition to that, this track also served as the theme song for the 1994 FIFA World Cup, which was held in the United States.
  • An updated version of “We Are the Championships” was recorded by Queen for the 2001 movie “A Knight’s Tale”. But instead of Freddie Mercury, singer Robbie Williams performed the vocals.
  • Television series that have used this song include The Simpsons in 2004, The Big Bang Theory in 2007 and Glee in 2012.
  • The song was also prominently featured on the 1984 comedy movie Revenge of the Nerds.
  • Race car drivers Fernando Alonso and Jenson Button sang “We Are the Champions” upon winning major events respectively in 2005 and 2009.
  • A 2011 scientific study conducted by Dr. Daniel Mullensiefen of Goldsmiths, University of London concluded that “We Are the Champions” is “the catchiest song ever”.
  • US President Donald Trump used this track when campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. This did not impress Queen’s guitarist Brian May, who stated that the band did not approve of their songs being used for political purposes, although apparently at the end of the day, he had no way of stopping the Donald.
  • “We Are the Champions” and another famous Queen song titled “We Will Rock You” are often played back-to-back. And why is this so? This is because both songs were released together as singles. Furthermore, the latter preceded the former at the beginning of the album News of the World (which they both appear on).
  • The music video for this track was filmed at the New London Theatre Centre on 6 October 1977. It features members of Queen’s fan club.
  • This was one of the songs Queen played during their iconic performance at the Live Aid benefit concert at Wembley Stadium on July 13, 1985.

Which artists have covered or sampled “We Are the Champions”?

It has been covered by numerous and diverse prominent musicians during live performances including the likes of the following: Adam Levine, Cee Lo Green, Christina Aguilera, Green Day, Liza Minnelli and Katy Perry.

In addition to being covered, it has also been sampled by a number of music artists, most-notable being the rappers Kanye West in 2002 and Wiz Khalifa in 2011.

On which album does “We Are the Champions” appear?

This song was originally featured on Queen’s 1977 album titled News of the World. That album came out on 28 October 1977. However, it was released as a single along with “We Will Rock You” a couple of weeks prior, on 7 October.

How did “We Are the Champions” perform on the charts?

Despite not reaching the very-top of the charts in either the United Kingdom or United States, the song still fared well for itself by peaking at number-two on the UK Singles Chart and number-four on the Billboard Hot 100.

Additionally the original version of this song has charted in Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden.

It is also important that we mention this: as of the publication of this post, “We Are the Champions” has gone gold in France and the United Kingdom and triple-platinum in the United States.

Did “We Are the Champions” win a Grammy?

This iconic song was honored with an induction into the highly prestigious Grammy Hall of Fame in 2009.

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