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A 50-week YouTube series going behind the scenes to reveal what goes into creating a Queen show, featuring moments from iconic performances and demonstrating why the band is regarded as the ultimate live act.



Queen The Greatest Live: We Will Rock You (Episode 22)

Continuing the exploration of how Queen songs are adapted from studio to stage, we revisit archive footage of one of the band's all-time classics to discover how that transition can often inspire unexpected results.


23 JUNE 2023 (TORONTO, ON) — Few songs have remained at the heart of popular culture like We Will Rock You – and Queen’s classic anthem has evolved alongside the changing times. When Brian May presented the song for 1977’s News Of The World, the band tracked the original studio version without drums (all four members instead supplying foot stamps and handclaps). “I wasn’t sure if it was going to sound like a proper song,” Brian told Guitar World. “But as soon as I heard Freddie singing it, I started to be more confident, because he sounded like a kind of rabble-rouser.”


Played live on that year’s News Of The World tour, and rapidly earning its enduring status as a must-play setlist highlight (usually followed by We Are The Champions), We Will Rock You has shed its skin countless times. In last week’s episode of Queen The Greatest Live, Brian explained how the Queen crowd claimed ownership of the song’s addictive beat (“It's become a drum extravaganza… the audience sing it and the physicality is there”).


Now, rare archive footage reveals how the band reimagined We Will Rock You through the eras, toying with tempo, instrumentation and many other variables. Opening with the famous show at Budapest’s Népstadion on 27 July 1986, we watch the performance that cleaves closest to the studio original, with Roger Taylor driving the iconic rhythm at a leisurely pace on his floor toms and snare.


But a speedier version of We Will Rock You always existed in parallel, and the song becomes a very different beast at a 1977 show in Houston, as Brian attacks his Red Special guitar with an almost punky aggression while a leather-jacketed Freddie shoots his vocal from the lip. The song flexes its muscles once again at Queen’s fabled 1982 show at the Milton Keynes Bowl, while the band’s four-way vocal harmonies seemed more prominent than ever when they chose We Will Rock You as the opener at Montreal’s Forum in November 1981.         


Queen The Greatest Live Episode 22: We Will Rock You

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Queen Live at the Forum, Montreal, 1981

© Queen Productions Ltd

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