Most Popular Song At American Sports Venues
Earlier this month Broadcast Music Inc (BMI) announced the most-played song at sporting events around the nation. The winner will rock you.
STOMP - STOMP - CLAP
We all know that rhythm, we all hear the words that follow about making a big noise, and waving a banner...all over the place. Really, all over the place. It's especially true if the place happens to be a sports arena or stadium. "We Will Rock You" has been, well, rocking, crowds across the country (the world) for decades.
BMI (which licenses music to be played on the air and in public) tabulated total plays and declared that "We Will Rock You" by Queen was the most played stadium song for the 2008- 2009 season. Whether it's Rockies, Avs, Broncos or Nuggets we've all heard it and watched it help pump up the crowd as it's pumped through the PA system. Maybe it even inspires the players. By the way, BMI says the Minnesota Wild and the Dallas Cowboys are the two teams which had "We Will Rock You" on most often during their games. There's probably a 100-way tie for third.
I happen to like the song because I like the band. Queen was huge England in the mid to late 70's when I spent part of my childhood there. I've read and learned a lot about the band and its music since then, so in honor of this new crown for Queen, here are 11 pieces of trivia (because we're 11 News) about the stadium super-song "We Will Rock You".
1) It was released as the first track on the album "News of the World" in October, 1977. It just turned 32 years old...which makes the song older than most of the athletes it's played to inspire.
2) BMI estimates "We Will Rock You" has been played on U.S radio and TV more than 3 MILLION times in those 32 years...they say that adds up to the equivalent of more than 18 years of continuous play.
3) That big powerful drum sound to which we stomp isn't what it seems. The recording of We Will Rock You actually contains no drums..zero....zilch. The song was recorded in an English studio that was an old converted church. The sound was created by the four band members (and apparently some helpers) stomping over and over again on an old wooden floor. That sound was then over-dubbed repeatedly.
4) That sound is hard to recreate and has been sampled by several artists, including Eminem. Queen used his song, "Lose Yourself" as the final crowd warm-up tune before their concerts on the 2005-2006 world tour with Paul Rodgers (Free, Bad Company) as the Freddie Mercury fill-in on lead vocals. "We Will Rock You" has been recorded by dozens of other artists, as varied as Snoop Dog, Warrant, Linda Ronstadt and Macy Gray.
5) The song is sung by Freddie Mercury (who died 18 years ago last week at the age of 45) but was written by Queen guitarist Brian May. In one magazine interview he said it was conceived at a time when Queen's audiences were getting so involved in the concerts that the band would have to stop to let the crowd do some singing on its own. It was written as the ultimate in audience participation...boy did that work out.....STOMP STOMP CLAP.
6) The song's composer, Brian May, has a PhD. in astrophysics. This is not some honorary degree sometimes handed out by Universities to get celebrities to drop by and pick them up. He actually wrote a doctoral thesis, something to do with inter-planetary dust. Dr. May started the work in the early 70s, then let it go for a while to see if the whole "music thing" was going to work out. More than 30 year later he finished the thesis and earned the degree. That was a good plan since the "music thing" did work out, and the inter-planetary dust wasn't going anywhere. (actually it was going somewhere, I think that was part of the thesis..but it's all beyond my understanding.) Brian May also co-authored a book called "Bang,The Complete History Of The Universe." You've got the be pretty confident in your knowledge to take on that as a topic.
7) The raucous, heavily distorted, soaring guitar sound at the end of "We Will Rock You" was created on a very special guitar. It's nick-named the Red Special for the color of the body. Dr. May actually built it, when he was a teenager, with some help from his father. The main body was made from an 18Th century fireplace mantle..and it's been smokin' ever since. Brian may used that guitar on almost everything we've ever heard him play. He's got copies as a back-up, but still uses the original to record and perform to this day. I've seen it 11 times! One notable exception is the guitar solo on "Crazy Little Thing Called Love"..which May played on a Fender Telecaster.
8) The original music video (a misnomer since it was shot on film) for We Will Rock You was filmed in Queen drummer Roger Taylor's back yard.
9) For several tours, Queen actually played We Will Rock You twice in each show. They played it once at the beginning in what's referred to as the fast version. It featured a full compliment of guitar and drums and bass right from the start (listen to the first track on Queen Live Killers for a great example). Then they'd play it again near the end of the show it it's original, crowd participation, stomp stomp clap form.
10) When the Broncos new stadium was being built I was a reporter in Denver. I got a tour of the place from someone in the Public Relations department. He told me that the designers made sure there was steel underneath as many seats as possible so that crowd sound could be maximized at games. I asked specifically if he meant for moments like We Will Rock You...and he said yes.
11) If We Will Rock You helps inspire your team enough, and they go on to win their league, or title or whatever they're trying to win, there's a good chance you'll hear another Queen song. "We Are The Champions" is the obvious song choice whenever winners win the big one. With its anthemic, all-inclusive chorus, it too was written (this time by Freddie Mercury) as a way to include the crowd in the music. "We Are The Champions" is also from 1977, News of the World..it's the song right after "We Will Rock You".
So the next time you're at a big sporting event, you'll know more than you ever needed to as you start to Stomp Stomp Clap!
We Will, We Will.....talk again soon.
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