Release date: 28 October 1977
UK chart peak: #4
Running time: 39:10
Singles: We Are The Champions/We Will Rock You (#2), Spread Your Wings (#34), It’s Late
A perennial fan favourite, News of the World managed to reach the top 10 in most territories across the world: the Netherlands & France (#1), Germany (#7), Australia (#8), Canada (#2), Norway (#4), Sweden & Austria (#9), and the USA (#3).
1977 was the very height of punk in the UK, which may have partly inspired the more raw, stripped-back sound of News of the World. In the weeks surrounding its release, albums by Diana Ross (Twenty Golden Greats – Diana Ross and The Supremes), and Cliff Richard (40 Golden Greats) all hitting number one, with Jean-Michel Jarre’s Oxygene, Thin Lizzy’s Bad Reputation, and No More Heroes by The Stranglers all reaching the top ten. Silver Lady by David Soul and Yes Sir I Can Boogie by Baccara both reached the top spot in the singles chart, with The Sex Pistols’ Holiday in the Sun, Status Quo’s Rockin’ All Over The World, and Star Wars Theme by Meco all featuring in the top ten.
This album will always be up there with my favourites. Though there are a couple of tracks that I wouldn’t necessarily single out for extensive plays, the rest I’d happily listen to on repeat. It definitely marks a bit of a shift in Queen’s output, after two albums of brilliant indulgence; you can sense that they’ve perhaps been influenced by the dominance of punk, as it has an overall more raw and stripped-back sound (and didn’t take months for them to make), but they’ve remained true to themselves all the while.
It obviously spawned two of Queen’s biggest anthems (adopted by sporting events the world over), We Will Rock You and We Are The Champions, but my personal favourites are the album tracks Fight From The Inside and It’s Late (I’d love to hear both of these performed live), as well as the slightly lesser-known single Spread Your Wings – one of John’s best compositions, in my opinion. Freddie’s My Melancholy Blues has also grown on me, and I’ve come to enjoy it as the album closer; Champions is possibly the more obvious choice – it does always sound incongruous as the second track – though the end-of-the-night cabaret bar feeling Blues evokes is wonderful. If you can get your hands on the 40th anniversary boxset, I would thoroughly recommend it; not only does it have the vinyl & CD versions of the album, but it also has a disc of ‘raw sessions’ and another with a selection of bonus tracks – plus a DVD of the Bob Harris The American Dream documentary, showing the making of the album as well as excerpts from the accompanying tour. All in all a pretty flawless piece of art.
Let Me Entertain You
The band went out on the News of the World Tour in support of the album; they played 47 shows across two legs (11 November 1977 – 13 May 1978), taking in 26 venues in the USA and 21 across Europe.