Home      Discussion      Topics      Dictionary      Almanac
Signup       Login
News of the World (album)

News of the World (album)

Discussion
Ask a question about 'News of the World (album)'
Start a new discussion about 'News of the World (album)'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Encyclopedia
News of the World is the sixth studio album
Studio album
A studio album is an album made up of tracks recorded in the controlled environment of a recording studio. A studio album contains newly written and recorded or previously unreleased or remixed material, distinguishing itself from a compilation or reissue album of previously recorded material, or...

 by British rock group Queen
Queen (band)
Queen are a British rock band formed in London in 1971, originally consisting of Freddie Mercury , Brian May , John Deacon , and Roger Taylor...

, released in 1977. Containing hit songs "We Will Rock You
We Will Rock You
"We Will Rock You" is a song written by Brian May and recorded and performed by Queen for their 1977 album News of the World. Rolling Stone ranked it #330 of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" in 2004, and the RIAA placed it at #146 on its list of Songs of the Century...

", "We Are the Champions
We Are the Champions
"We Are the Champions" is a power ballad written by Freddie Mercury, recorded and performed by British rock band Queen for their 1977 album News of the World. One of their most famous and popular songs, it remains among rock's most recognisable anthems...

" and "Spread Your Wings
Spread Your Wings
"Spread Your Wings" is a rock ballad by Queen, from their 1977 album News of the World. Written by bassist John Deacon, it was released as the A side of the single Spread Your Wings/Sheer Heart Attack in 1978. It features Deacon on guitar and bass, Freddie Mercury on piano and vocals, Brian May on...

", the album went 4x platinum
RIAA certification
In the United States, the Recording Industry Association of America awards certification based on the number of albums and singles sold through retail and other ancillary markets. Other countries have similar awards...

 in the US, 2x platinum in the UK, and achieved high certifications around the world as well.

News of the World was the second album to be produced solely by the band (the first being A Day at the Races
A Day at the Races (album)
A Day at the Races is the fifth album by British rock group Queen, released in December 1976. A Day at the Races was the band's first completely self-produced album, and the first not to feature producer Roy Thomas Baker. Recorded at Sarm East, The Manor and Wessex Studios in England, A Day at the...

) and was recorded at Sarm West Studios and Wessex Studios, London
London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 and co-produced and engineered by Mike Stone.

Production


Having received some criticism that their first completely self-produced project, A Day at the Races, was a "boring" album, Queen decided to shift their musical focus towards the mainstream but remain as the producers of the next album.

After completing the A Day at the Races Tour, the quartet re-entered the studio to begin work on their sixth studio offering in July 1977, enlisting Mike Stone as assistant producer at the Basing Street and Wessex Studios in London. They scaled down their complex arrangements and focused on a "rootsier" sound (as Brian May
Brian May
Brian Harold May, CBE is an English musician and astrophysicist most widely known as the guitarist and a songwriter of the rock band Queen...

 put it). However the staple of the Queen sound, multitracked harmonies and guitar orchestrations, still exist on this album, albeit a bit more subtly. News of the World shows Queen's songwriting less dominated by May and Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury was a British musician, singer and songwriter, best known as the lead vocalist of the rock band Queen. As a performer, he was known for his flamboyant stage persona and powerful vocals over a four-octave range...

, with Roger Taylor
Roger Meddows-Taylor
Roger Meddows Taylor , known as Roger Taylor, is a British musician, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He is best known as the drummer, backing vocalist and occasional lead vocalist of British rock band Queen. As a drummer he is known for his "big" unique sound and is considered one of...

 and John Deacon
John Deacon
John Richard Deacon is a retired English multi-instrumentalist and song writer, best known as the bassist for the rock band Queen. Of the four members of the band, he was the last to join and also the youngest, being only 19 years old when he was recruited by the other members of the band...

 composing two songs each. The group completed recording and production of the album two months later in September and released the album on 28 October 1977.

Track listing



We Will Rock You



"We Will Rock You" was released as the B-side to "We Are the Champions", and became one of Queen's biggest songs worldwide as a staple of arena and stadium sports everywhere. It was a conscious decision by Brian May
Brian May
Brian Harold May, CBE is an English musician and astrophysicist most widely known as the guitarist and a songwriter of the rock band Queen...

 to make the song simple and anthem
Anthem
The term anthem means either a specific form of Anglican church music , or more generally, a song of celebration, usually acting as a symbol for a distinct group of people, as in the term "national anthem" or "sports anthem".-Etymology:The word is derived from the Greek via Old English , a word...

ic ("stomp, stomp, clap, pause" in a 4/4 metre
Metre (music)
Meter or metre is a term that music has inherited from the rhythmic element of poetry where it means the number of lines in a verse, the number of syllables in each line and the arrangement of those syllables as long or short, accented or unaccented...

), so that their live audience could be more directly involved in the show. In the video
Music video
A music video or song video is a short film integrating a song and imagery, produced for promotional or artistic purposes. Modern music videos are primarily made and used as a marketing device intended to promote the sale of music recordings...

 for "We Will Rock You" and "Spread Your Wings", May used a copy of his guitar. He supposedly did not want to commit his Red Special
Red Special
The Red Special is an electric guitar owned by Queen guitarist Brian May and custom-built by May and his father. The Red Special is also sometimes named in reviews as the Fireplace or the Old Lady, both nicknames used by May when referring to the guitar. A guitar that would define May's signature...

 to outside conditions, as the videos for these songs featured the band performing in the snow in Taylor's garden.

We Are the Champions



According to Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury
Freddie Mercury was a British musician, singer and songwriter, best known as the lead vocalist of the rock band Queen. As a performer, he was known for his flamboyant stage persona and powerful vocals over a four-octave range...

, "We Are the Champions" had been already written in 1975 but it was not recorded until 1977. Mercury was thinking about football when he wrote it and was surprised that nobody composed anything to overtake it as a sports anthem. Released as a single, "We Are the Champions" reached #2 in the UK and #4 in the US. "We Are the Champions" was the first promotional video for which fan club
The Official International Queen Fan Club
The Official International Queen Fan Club is the official fan club for the rock band Queen. Based in London, it was founded in 1973 by Pat and Sue Johnstone shortly after the release of the band's first album. At one stage, the world-wide membership of the club reached 20,000 people...

 members were invited to participate in the filming. The video was filmed at the New London Theatre
New London Theatre
The New London Theatre is a West End theatre located on the corner of Drury Lane and Parker Street in Covent Garden, in the London Borough of Camden...

 6 October 1977. Everyone got a single and Queen did a free concert after the shoot.

Sheer Heart Attack


"Sheer Heart Attack" was half-finished at the time of the 1974 album of the same name
Sheer Heart Attack
Sheer Heart Attack is the third album by the British rock group Queen, released in November 1974. It was produced by Queen and Roy Thomas Baker and distributed by EMI in the United Kingdom, and Elektra in the United States....

. Roger Taylor
Roger Meddows-Taylor
Roger Meddows Taylor , known as Roger Taylor, is a British musician, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He is best known as the drummer, backing vocalist and occasional lead vocalist of British rock band Queen. As a drummer he is known for his "big" unique sound and is considered one of...

 sang lead on the demo but for the definitive version the band decided Mercury should sing lead vocals, with Roger singing the chorus
Refrain
A refrain is the line or lines that are repeated in music or in verse; the "chorus" of a song...

. Rhythm guitar and bass were played by Taylor, apart from some guitar "screams" by May during the instrumental section.

During this time, the punk rock
Punk rock
Punk rock is a rock music genre that developed between 1974 and 1976 in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia. Rooted in garage rock and other forms of what is now known as protopunk music, punk rock bands eschewed perceived excesses of mainstream 1970s rock...

 movement went into full effect, and this song was viewed as something of a jab at the musicians who felt bands like Queen were too self-indulgent. Of note is the lyric "I feel so inarticulate", and the fact that Taylor stated in interviews that he thought many of the 1970s punk bands had very little talent.

German heavy metal
Heavy metal music
Heavy metal is a genre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s, largely in the Midlands of the United Kingdom and the United States...

 band Helloween
Helloween
Helloween is a German power metal band founded in the mid 1980s by members of Iron Fist and Powerfool. The band was a pioneering force in the European Power Metal movement and their second and third studio albums, Keeper of the Seven Keys, Pt...

 covered the song. The cover can be heard as a B-side for their single "Just a Little Sign
Just a Little Sign
"Just A Little Sign" is a song by the German power metal band Helloween from their album Rabbit Don't Come Easy. It is about a depressed man going to a night club intending to enjoy the music. He then unexpectedly falls in love with a woman there but is too afraid to tell her...

". Also, the heavy metal band Hallows Eve covered this song on their 1988 album Monument.

All Dead, All Dead


"All Dead, All Dead" was written and sung by May, and features Mercury on backing vocals. It is rumoured that the song is about the passing of Brian's cat. On an episode of "in the Studio with Redbeard" Brian May confirmed that claim.

Spread Your Wings



"Spread Your Wings" was written by John Deacon
John Deacon
John Richard Deacon is a retired English multi-instrumentalist and song writer, best known as the bassist for the rock band Queen. Of the four members of the band, he was the last to join and also the youngest, being only 19 years old when he was recruited by the other members of the band...

. The piano is played by Mercury, although Deacon mimes it in the music video. The video was filmed at Roger Taylor's house at that time in his backyard, when the weather was freezing, and the band was performing in the snow. Mercury can be seen wearing star-shaped sunglasses in the video. Guitarist Brian May is seen playing a copy of his Red Special due to the cold weather conditions. Also, drummer Roger Taylor can be seen singing in the video despite the fact that there are no backing vocals in the song. It was the first Queen single without harmony vocals.

Fight from the Inside


"Fight from the Inside" was written and sung by Roger Taylor. In addition to the drums, Taylor also plays rhythm and bass guitar, the latter borrowed from Deacon himself.

The track is built around a jangly guitar riff and is amongst the first in the Queen catalogue to focus predominantly on the drums and bass, as opposed to the lead guitars. (http://www.queenwords.com/lyrics/songs/sng06_06.shtml). It is also the only song in the band's discography recorded almost entirely by one member (Brian May contributed additional guitar).

Guitarist Slash
Slash (musician)
Saul Hudson , known by his stage name Slash, is a British-American musician and songwriter. He is best known as the former lead guitarist of the American hard rock band Guns N' Roses, with whom he achieved worldwide success in the late 1980s and early 1990s. During his later years with Guns N'...

 has cited the guitar riff to this song as one of his favourite riffs of all time.

Get Down, Make Love


"Get Down, Make Love", written by Mercury, is among the most sexual-oriented songs in the Queen catalogue.

The song was introduced into the band's live show immediately after its release, and remained a staple of their "medley" until the end of the Hot Space tour of 1982. It was never played live in its entirety with only the first and last verses/choruses being played with the guitar feature in the middle. On the Hot Space tour, the song was reduced to the first verse/chorus only as a way to lead into Brian May's guitar solo. Live, this song featured Roger Taylor's use of Latin-influenced percussion with timbales on the News of the World tour, and tightly tuned Remo Roto-Toms on the Jazz tour, Crazy tour, The Game and Hot Space tours.

The distinctive 'psychedelic' sound effects heard in the song were not produced on a synthesizer, but on May's Red Special
Red Special
The Red Special is an electric guitar owned by Queen guitarist Brian May and custom-built by May and his father. The Red Special is also sometimes named in reviews as the Fireplace or the Old Lady, both nicknames used by May when referring to the guitar. A guitar that would define May's signature...

 and an Electroharmonix Frequency Analyzer pedal, which he would often do live. These sound effects, together with Mercury's moans and groans, were expanded upon during live renditions of the song, presenting the band an opportunity to show off the full potential of their stage lights and effects.

The song was later covered by Nine Inch Nails
Nine Inch Nails
Nine Inch Nails is an American industrial rock project, founded in 1988 by Trent Reznor in Cleveland, Ohio. As its main producer, singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist, Reznor is the only official member of Nine Inch Nails and remains solely responsible for its direction...

, appearing on their "Sin" single and later on the 2010 re-issue of Pretty Hate Machine
Pretty Hate Machine
Pretty Hate Machine is the debut album by American industrial rock act Nine Inch Nails, released October 20, 1989, on TVT Records. Pretty Hate Machine is compiled of reworked tracks from the Purest Feeling demo, as well as tracks recorded after its recording...

.

Sleeping on the Sidewalk


"Sleeping On The Sidewalk", written and sung by May, was inspired by ZZ Top
ZZ Top
ZZ Top is an American rock band, sometimes referred to as "That Little Ol' Band from Texas". Their style, which is rooted in blues-based boogie rock, has come to incorporate elements of arena, southern, and boogie rock. The band, from Houston Texas, formed in 1969...

. It was recorded (minus the vocals) in one take. Lyrically, it deals with an aspiring trumpet player's career, delivered in a "rags-to-riches" fashion. May sings with an American accent and measures the aforementioned trumpet player's success by "bucks" (as opposed to pounds). On a close inspection, John Deacon can be heard playing the wrong notes in some bass parts, and Brian May can also be heard laughing at the end of the song. It is also one of the few Queen songs that does not feature Mercury.

The band's web site states they were unaware that they were being recorded but Brian May has cast doubt on the authenticity of this, though confirming the first take of the backing track was used.

Who Needs You


"Who Needs You" was written by Deacon, who, along with May, plays Spanish guitar. May also plays maracas and Mercury plays a cowbell.

It's Late



"It's Late", written by May, was the author's idea of treating a song as a three-act theatrical play. It makes use of the tapping
Tapping
Tapping is a guitar playing technique, where a string is fretted and set into vibration as part of a single motion of being pushed onto the fretboard, as opposed to the standard technique being fretted with one hand and picked with the other...

 technique before Eddie Van Halen
Eddie Van Halen
Edward Lodewijk "Eddie" Van Halen is a Dutch-American guitarist, keyboardist, songwriter and producer, best known as the lead guitarist and co-founder of the hard rock band Van Halen, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame...

 of rock group Van Halen
Van Halen
Van Halen is an American hard rock band formed in Pasadena, California, in 1972. The band has enjoyed success since the release of its debut album, Van Halen, . As of 2007 Van Halen has sold 80 million albums worldwide and has had the most #1 hits on the Billboard Mainstream Rock chart...

 made the technique widely-known.

My Melancholy Blues


"My Melancholy Blues" was composed by Mercury. There are no backing vocals or guitars. Despite the title, the track is more related to jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

. Deacon played fretless bass
Fretless guitar
A fretless guitar is a guitar without frets. It operates in the same manner as most other stringed instruments and traditional guitars, but does not have any frets to act as the lower end point of the vibrating string...

 on stage during this song but used a regular fretted bass on the record.

Cover



The album's cover was a painting by American sci-fi
Science fiction
Science fiction is a genre of fiction dealing with imaginary but more or less plausible content such as future settings, futuristic science and technology, space travel, aliens, and paranormal abilities...

 artist Frank Kelly Freas
Frank Kelly Freas
Frank Kelly Freas , called the "Dean of Science Fiction Artists", was a science fiction and fantasy artist with a career spanning more than 50 years.-Early life, education, and personal life:...

. Roger Taylor had an issue of Astounding Science Fiction (October 1953) whose cover-art depicted a giant intelligent robot holding the dead body of a man. The caption read: "Please... fix it, Daddy?" to illustrate the story "The Gulf Between" by Tom Godwin
Tom Godwin
Tom Godwin was an American science fiction author. Godwin published three novels and thirty short stories. His controversial hard SF short story "The Cold Equations" is a notable example of the mid-1950s science fiction genre.-Novels:...

. The painting inspired the band to contact Freas, who agreed to alter the painting for their album cover
Album cover
An album cover is the front of the packaging of a commercially released audio recording product, or album. The term can refer to either the printed cardboard covers typically used to package sets of 10" and 12" 78 rpm records, single and sets of 12" LPs, sets of 45 rpm records , or the front-facing...

, by replacing the single dead man with the four "dead" band members (Taylor and Deacon falling to the ground). The inner sleeve has the robot stretching out his hand to snatch up the petrified fleeing audience in the shattered auditorium where the corpses were removed. Freas said he was a classical music
Classical music
Classical music is the art music produced in, or rooted in, the traditions of Western liturgical and secular music, encompassing a broad period from roughly the 11th century to present times...

 fan and did not know Queen, and only listened to the band after doing the cover "because I thought I might just hate them, and it would ruin my ideas", but eventually liked their music.

The original painting (also called The Gulf Between) features on the cover of Freas's collection of art As He Sees It (Paper Tiger, 2000).

Singles

  • "We Are the Champions" released 7 October 1977 in the UK as the first single where it reached #2. In the US, it was released as a Double A-side with "We Will Rock You
    We Will Rock You
    "We Will Rock You" is a song written by Brian May and recorded and performed by Queen for their 1977 album News of the World. Rolling Stone ranked it #330 of "The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time" in 2004, and the RIAA placed it at #146 on its list of Songs of the Century...

    " where it reached #4.
  • "Spread Your Wings" followed as the second single from the album. Written by John Deacon and released in the UK on 10 February 1978, it reached #34.
  • "It's Late" is the last single from the album and was only released as a single in the United States, Canada
    Canada
    Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

    , Japan
    Japan
    Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

     and New Zealand
    New Zealand
    New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

     in 1978. Only reached #74 in the US, failing to chart everywhere else.

Reception



Critical response


News of the World initially received mixed reviews, mostly reflecting on the differences to the previously predominantly progressive rock
Progressive rock
Progressive rock is a subgenre of rock music that developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s as part of a "mostly British attempt to elevate rock music to new levels of artistic credibility." John Covach, in Contemporary Music Review, says that many thought it would not just "succeed the pop of...

 sound produced by Queen, and this album's vast shift towards a more pop-rock oriented sound. Following the immense success of singles "We Will Rock You" and "We Are the Champions", the critical reception shifted towards a more positive stance, as it became evident that the band was displaying another field of their musical ability. Creem
Creem
Creem , "America's Only Rock 'n' Roll Magazine," was a monthly rock 'n' roll publication first published in March 1969 by Barry Kramer and founding editor Tony Reay. It suspended production in 1989 but received a short-lived renaissance in the early 1990s as a glossy tabloid...

readers voted News of the World the 19th best album of 1977.

2011 Re-issue


On 8 November 2010, record company Universal Music announced a remastered and expanded reissue of the album set for release in May 2011. This as part of a new record deal between Queen and Universal Music, which meant Queen's association with EMI
EMI
The EMI Group, also known as EMI Music or simply EMI, is a multinational music company headquartered in London, United Kingdom. It is the fourth-largest business group and family of record labels in the recording industry and one of the "big four" record companies. EMI Group also has a major...

 would come to an end after almost 40 years. According to Universal Music, all Queen albums are to be remastered and reissued in 2011. This reissue includes a deluxe edition which contains five additional tracks. The second batch of albums (the band's middle five albums) has been released in June.

Chart performance

Chart (1977) Peak
position
Austrian Albums Chart 9
Canadian Albums Chart 2
Dutch Albums Chart 1
French Albums Chart 1
German Albums Chart 7
New Zealand Albums Chart 15
Norwegian Albums Chart 4
Swedish Albums Chart 9
UK Albums Chart 4
U.S. Billboard 200 3

Personnel

  • Freddie Mercury
    Freddie Mercury
    Freddie Mercury was a British musician, singer and songwriter, best known as the lead vocalist of the rock band Queen. As a performer, he was known for his flamboyant stage persona and powerful vocals over a four-octave range...

    : lead and backing vocals, piano
    Piano
    The piano is a musical instrument played by means of a keyboard. It is one of the most popular instruments in the world. Widely used in classical and jazz music for solo performances, ensemble use, chamber music and accompaniment, the piano is also very popular as an aid to composing and rehearsal...

    , percussion, cowbell
    Cowbell
    The cowbell is an idiophone hand percussion instrument used in various styles of music including salsa and infrequently in popular music. It is named after the similar bell historically used by herdsmen to keep track of the whereabouts of cows.- Origins :...

     on "Who Needs You"
  • Brian May
    Brian May
    Brian Harold May, CBE is an English musician and astrophysicist most widely known as the guitarist and a songwriter of the rock band Queen...

    : electric
    Electric guitar
    An electric guitar is a guitar that uses the principle of direct electromagnetic induction to convert vibrations of its metal strings into electric audio signals. The signal generated by an electric guitar is too weak to drive a loudspeaker, so it is amplified before sending it to a loudspeaker...

     and acoustic guitar
    Acoustic guitar
    An acoustic guitar is a guitar that uses only an acoustic sound board. The air in this cavity resonates with the vibrational modes of the string and at low frequencies, which depend on the size of the box, the chamber acts like a Helmholtz resonator, increasing or decreasing the volume of the sound...

    , backing vocals, lead vocals on "All Dead, All Dead" and "Sleeping on the Sidewalk", percussion
  • Roger Taylor
    Roger Meddows-Taylor
    Roger Meddows Taylor , known as Roger Taylor, is a British musician, singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. He is best known as the drummer, backing vocalist and occasional lead vocalist of British rock band Queen. As a drummer he is known for his "big" unique sound and is considered one of...

    : drums, percussion, backing vocals, lead vocals on "Sheer Heart Attack" and "Fight from the Inside", electric guitar, bass
  • John Deacon
    John Deacon
    John Richard Deacon is a retired English multi-instrumentalist and song writer, best known as the bassist for the rock band Queen. Of the four members of the band, he was the last to join and also the youngest, being only 19 years old when he was recruited by the other members of the band...

    : bass guitar
    Bass guitar
    The bass guitar is a stringed instrument played primarily with the fingers or thumb , or by using a pick....

    , acoustic guitar, Spanish guitar, percussion