"Thank you everybody, thank you, we love you, thank you very much. Oh we're going to win, we're going to win so big, thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much. Thank you. We're going to win so big, thank you very much ladies and gentlemen, thank you, we're going to win so big, thank you."
Those were Donald Trump’s first words to the crowd at the Republican National Convention, introducing his wife's speech Monday night. Perhaps he was less loquacious than usual because the song he’d taken the stage to had summed up victorious feelings as well as any song ever has: Queen’s “We Are the Champions” played as Trump emerged from dramatic silhouette.
“We Are the Champions” and its 1977 b-side “We Will Rock You” are staples of arena events, but typically the sporting kind. This was the writer and singer Freddie Mercury’s intention. “I was thinking about football when I wrote it,” he told Circus in 1978. “I wanted a participation song, something that the fans could latch on to. Of course, I've given it more theatrical subtlety than an ordinary football chant.”
The band’s living members have condemned Trump’s use of the song, saying they don’t like their music being used for campaigning, and indeed “We Are the Champions” doesn’t appear to have been a staple of any previous major presidential bids. Trump using the song in such a splashy manner is remarkable—because it announces victory before it has been obtained, because a thoroughly British work is being used to “Make America Great Again,” and because of the obvious contradiction between the GOP’s stance on LGBT rights and the fact that the Mercury is a queer icon.