When the iconic Queen hit single, “We Will Rock You” is played in stadiums all over the world, audiences instinctively fall into its infectious stomp-stomp-clap beat. It’s ranked as one of the greatest songs of all time, but believe it or not, the music video for the track was filmed in the least exotic place you could imagine.
Queen released ‘We Will Rock You’ in 1977
Written by Queen’s lead guitarist Brian May, “We Will Rock You” was first released in the 1977 World of the News album. In an interview with Rolling Stone, May said that the song was born as a result of the audience participation they would encounter while performing live concerts.
“When that song was born, concerts were not interactive in that sense,” May said. “But we found that people were singing along already at our shows at a certain point — Then there was a new realization that this is something amazing. People are participating in what we’re doing, and the show is becoming as much an audience thing as a band thing. So, that’s where “We Will Rock You” and “We Are the Champions” came from, and that’s where the “Radio Gaga” thing came from later on. And I feel thrilled that it happened, and I’m proud that it has, because it’s become something universal now.”
“We Will Rock You” was also released as a double single with “We are the Champions” in 1977, and since then, the two songs are often played together.
The song is still a power anthem
“We Will Rock You” is over 40 years old, but the song is still played in stadiums and at events around the globe today. The stomping and clapping rhythm is easy to follow, and its defiant lyrics have made it one of the most popular power anthems ever produced. When talking to Rolling Stone, May said that the band first realized how influential the song was at the Live Aid concert in 1985.
“That was a big moment of realization for us, that that had broken through to something more than a rock audience — like a public consciousness,” said May. “[You hear it] everywhere, all around the world. And the funny thing is, those songs really weren’t written with sports in mind, specifically. I think we were aware of the possibility, but really it was more about our audience, our rock audience. We were becoming aware that we could empower everybody.”
The music video for ‘We Will Rock You’ was filmed in Roger Taylor’s backyard
Queen’s music video for “We Will Rock You,” isn’t as spectacular as the song itself. But with Freddie Mercury’s undeniable stage presence, it still gets the job done. As it turns out, the video was made at the spur of the moment, in drummer Roger Taylor’s backyard.
“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,” Taylor said in an interview with Billboard. “We figured, ‘we might as well shoot it here.’ It was absolutely freezing cold and we did three takes.”
Apparently, the band had no plans to make a video for “We Will Rock You” that day. But after shooting the video for “Spread Your Wings” in Taylor’s barn, they decided to knock this one out too.
“I remember it vividly because the track was not slated to be a single, so the video was an afterthought,” May told Billboard. “We had just made a video in the barn for “Spread Your Wings” and we were like, ‘Let’s just do a quick one for ‘We Will Rock You.’’ At the time it upset me because I thought they were underestimating it.”
May said that they were shooting in freezing temperatures, which is why their noses are so red in the video. But with the little footage they got, May said he was able to edit the video to make it “spring to life.”
“It was a makeshift video that says nothing about the song,” he continued. “Sometimes that’s good because people can listen to it and spin their own stories in their head.”