Was there ever a time when "We Will Rock You" did not exist?

Queen; from Wikipedia.orgOr so asks writer Joe Queenan (who was once called "the literary equivalent of Sammy "The Bull" Gravano" in the pages of the Seattle Weekly by, of all people, me), who deconstructs Queen's most famous song and its place in rock and sports history in the London Guardian this morning.

He writes:

The success of We Will Rock You, written by Queen founder and lead guitarist Brian May, and indeed the staggering success of Queen itself exemplify how events can occur simultaneously, yet be remembered as having taken place in different historical eras. Paul Klee was painting his zippy little cats at the very same time that Adolf Hitler was attempting to exterminate European Jewry. The Renaissance was concurrent with the Inquisition. Queen was enjoying breathtaking success with its camp, baroque, neo-Vaudevillian music at the same time that the Sex Pistols and the Ramones were labouring valiantly – though with mixed results – to return rock'n'roll to its primeval roots. It is a great irony that at sporting events held in Madison Square Garden, We Will Rock You appears on the same playlist as I Wanna Be Sedated. Queen sold hundreds of millions of records; the American public did not discover the Ramones until half of them were dead. And the American public never bought their records.

Queen, like Nancy Sinatra, occupies a peculiar place in the history of rock'n'roll. Though the band emerged at roughly the same time as Emerson, Lake & Palmer, Yes, Asia, Genesis, and all the other operatic pop combos that made the early Seventies a living hell, and though they shared those hifalutin bands' penchant for pretentious, theatrical, multi-layered compositions in which no R&B influence whatsoever could be detected (in this they resembled the Grateful Dead, Caucasian stoners whose music sounded like it had been recorded in an Aryan solar system), Queen has never been despised by rock cognoscenti in the same way those bands were.

The entire essay is a good and funny read. It can be found here.