Queen – We Are The Champions (Lyrics Review and Song Meaning)
Queen has produced some of the most iconic songs of all time. “Bohemian Rhapsody” is a living evidence of great music and we bring you another track of the same caliber by Queen. “We Are The Champions” is one of the most successful songs by Queen and is highly regarded even today as a song that sends chills down your spine.
“We Are The Champions” appear in Queen’s 1977 album ‘News of the World’ which is also the album that produced another heavily motivational track “We Will Rock You.” Much like “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Queen frontman Freddie Mercury wrote the lyrics to the entire song and combined with his powerful vocals have resulted in this unique masterpiece.
This song had major success on music charts by peaking at #2 on UK Singles Chart and #4 on Billboard Hot 100 chart in the US. It became a top 10 hit in over 9 countries around the world and is still regarded as a top contender in all sporting events, along with its counterpart “We Will Rock You.” In 2009, the song was inducted to the ‘Grammy Hall of Fame’ as one of the greatest songs of all time.
“We Are The Champions” is a ballad-rock about victory and the battling path that has lead to the victory. Hence, it serves as a victory anthem surrounding sporting events around the world. The song was used as the official theme song for 1994 FIFA Football Worldcup.
Watch Queen Perform “We Are The Champions”
In 2006, a dance remix of “We Are The Champions” was made by Crazy Frog which became a major internet hit. Watch the video below.
Another interesting fact about “We Are The Champions” is that a scientific study conducted revealed that this is the ‘catchiest song in the history of pop music.’ So it is not a myth that this song has a massive fan base.
The official music video for this track was recorded at a special performance session for fan club members at the New London Theatre Centre on October 6, 1997.
Lyrics Review and Song Meaning of “We Are The Champions”
In the first verse of “We Are The Champions,” Freddie Mercury draws a picture of the thought process of a champion. The champion would feel as if his dues to his team and the nation are paid. He is in no debt now that glory has been achieved.
Mercury compares the pain endured to reach the pinnacle of success to a prison sentence. His only crime would be wanting to bring glory to himself, his team and his nation. For this, he has struggled and sacrificed.
No champion is made without enduring failure. Freddie explains that all champions before that were a failure-or to put in the bitterest form as said in the song-“losers.” This journey has not been an easy task. He has his inner demons to battle and he had external wraiths to fight too. He compares this to having sand kicked in his face, which is a very uncomfortable and unpleasant experience. To be the champion, you have to endure everything that is thrown your way.
Through all of this struggle, he has just kept on and on at it, and now he is a champion. His suffering is redeemed.
These lyrics of “We Are The Champions” are probably few of the most legendary and popular lines in the history of all music.
These lines speak of the bragging rights of the champions. They boast and pride themselves, upon the sweat, tears, and blood they have shed to reach this state. But they also, very cruelly, undermine the second best as “losers.”
Freddie Mercury’s deliverance of this chorus has most likely motivated over millions of athletes of different sports. However, this song does not limit itself to sports. Any form of victory, be it a talent show or even an exam, can be celebrated grandly with “We Are The Champions” as it is capable of adjusting to any situation.
Watch Freddie Mercury Perform “We Are The Champions” Live
In the second verse of “We Are The Champions,” Freddie Mercury blurs the meaning of the song. All this time he was speaking about a certain victory-external. In the second verse, he tries to internalize the song and the meaning.
‘Bows’ and ‘curtain calls’ are both ways of artists getting acknowledged on stage after a performance. Freddie says he has had enough of both of them. Then Mercury goes on to thank the fans for all the fame and fortune they have brought to him. But little attention is paid to the latter part of that lyric. He also thanks for everything else that has come with fame and fortune. We do not believe this ‘everything else’ is necessarily good things. Yet, he thanks the fans for making him the success he is. Freddie died at the age of 45 as a result of AIDS. This could be one of the ‘everything else’ he was singing about.
Freddie also lays out the truth about his success. It has not been a bed of roses or smooth sails for him, but hard work and sacrifice. However, fame, fortune, and success are his challenges, and he is ready to take them on. Note how he uses ‘whole human race’ which signifies how successful he wanted to be. It would not be an overstatement to say that he has achieved the ultimate level of success, even after his death.
However, what started out as a victory anthem for sports, turned out to be a personal confession of Freddie Mercury about his musical career.
The outro lyrics have become quite controversial as Mercury seems to be cutting short of the epic ending of the song.
The chorus repeats twice at the end and in the final repetition, the song ends at ’cause we are the champions.’ It does not touch down with the expected ‘of the world’ ending. Could this little trick be to hint on the impermanence of things? Even champions are to fall one day. It is just the cycle of life. Hence, in a fraction of a second of an absent lyric, “We Are The Champions” become one of the most depressing songs out there.
This was our take on “We Are The Champions” by Queen. If you think we missed any interpretation or if you have a different view of the song, do let us know in the comments below.
Full Lyrics to “We Are The Champions” by Queen