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Queen Revisit 'We Will Rock You' On The Greatest Live


12-15-2023

Queen Revisit 'We Will Rock You' On The Greatest LiveVideo still courtesy Hollywood Records

Queen have shared the latest episode of their 50-week YouTube series The Greatest Live. Their introduce the "We Will Rock You" episode with, Brian May's foot-stomping, hand-clapping anthem never fails to galvanize the entire audience, its legendary beat too compelling to resist. But as we see in this montage of archive Queen shows, an added visual flourish from Freddie Mercury ensured the song's unifying effect transcended borders and cultures.

Never in the history of rock 'n' roll have three percussive notes made such an impact. When Brian May wrote "We Will Rock You," after a particularly raucous show at Stafford's Bingley Hall in the late-'70s, he hoped it would spark a primal call-and-response with the Queen hardcore.

But the guitarist could scarcely have imagined just how far that beat would travel - with this week's archive footage showcasing the ubiquitous stomp-stomp-clap at four shows spanning from the Far East to South America.

From its inception, "We Will Rock You's" propulsive and near-Pavlovian rhythm made it an obvious choice for the encore, blurring the lines between performer and audience. But as we see in this latest episode of Queen The Greatest Live, the song also allowed the band - and Freddie Mercury in particular - to put their hands across the water, saluting crowds on home turf and foreign soil alike.

At the Milton Keynes Bowl in '82, the singer emerges from the wings in a traditional wide-brimmed hat to greet his countrymen. At Hungary's N├ępstadion on the 1986 Magic Tour Freddie salutes the audience with its national white, red and green flag colors. At 1985's Rock In Rio, he appears swaddled in the colors of the Brazilian flag with its famous motto Ordem e Progresso ('Order and Progress'), while most flamboyant of all, the singer slowly walks to the lip of the stage in Japan '85 - before spinning to reveal that the reverse of his Union Jack cape bears the crimson dot of the Hinomaru.

In each case, just as Brian had intended all those years before, the crowd is united under one banner. "'We Will Rock You' brings people together," says the guitarist. "That's probably the best thing of all..."

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