Brian May Shares The Physics Behind Queen's We Will Rock You

Queen guitarist Brian May recently spoke about how his astrophysics degree helped in the recording of "We Will Rock You."

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Queen guitarist Brian May recently spoke with Terry Gross, the host of NPR's Fresh Air, about his band's legacy, the greatness of frontman Freddie Mercury and how his astrophysics degree helped in the recording of "We Will Rock You." In the interview, May said that his physics background gave him the idea for how to make the "stomp-stomp-clap" portion of "We Will Rock You" sound like a stadium full of people. "Being a physicist, I said, Suppose there were 1,000 people doing this; what would be happening?' And I thought, Well, you would be hearing them stamping. You would also be hearing a little bit of an effect, which is due to the distance that they are from you,'" May explained. "So I put lots of individual repeats on them. Not an echo but a single repeat at various distances So you just feel like you're in the middle of a large number of people stamping and clapping." May said he was amazed that the song has become an anthem. "I didn't realize that it would translate to sports games. This is an amazing thing," he said. "We Will Rock You' and We Are the Champions have kind of transcended the normal framework of where music is listened to and appreciated they've become part of public life, which I feel wonderful about. It's fantastic to me, if I go to a football game or a soccer game or basketball or whatever or any place all around the world and there it is. And I think, My God. Most people don't even realize that I wrote it.' Most people don't realize that it was written. It's sort of become one of those things that people think was always there. So in a way, that's the best compliment you could have for the song." In another part of the interview, the guitarist shared his deep admiration for the talents of his bandmate, Freddie Mercury. May said that "Bohemian Rhapsody" was "Freddie's great baby and, yes, we all contributed to the way it developed in the studio, but really, it was so much constructed in his head before he ever stopped in there. It's an amazing thing... An amazing creation and quite unique." Thanks for the report to Bryan Wawzenek, Gibson.com

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    UnaLaguna
    Stating that his physics DEGREE helped him is probably overstating the complexity of the problem. All he really needed was the speed of sound (about 340 m/s) and the speed = distance / time formula. Nevertheless, it's pretty cool that he didn't just arbitrarily stick the effects on.
    slaveskinJACKET
    UnaLaguna wrote: All he really needed was the speed of sound (about 340 m/s) and the speed = distance / time formula.
    ...which I'm sure he became very familiar with while getting his physics degree , since that is a law of physics.
    Weaponxclaws
    Most people dont realize that it was written. Its sort of become one of those things that people think was always there. So in a way, thats the best compliment you could have for the song.
    I remember when I used to write elementary rhythmic songs with hardly any guitar and the same lyrics over and over. Patty cake anyone?
    snaaake
    Those songs being anthems ruined them for me, due to being over-played, and not Queen's best work by any means. That said, this is a sort of interesting little factoid.