First things first

Yesterday morning I was awakened by my alarm clock, which makes all sorts of noises but can also play the radio. Since I had the radio function set, Queen got me out of bed with the familiar stomp stomp clap that begins “We Will Rock You.” It was as good an entry song as any day can hope to have.

But as I was listening to the lyrics, and getting into a song that I’ve heard hundreds of times before, I started to think about the progression of the song and its well-known companion piece “We are the Champions.” When Queen released this music back in 1977, “We are the Champions” was intended to be the song that got played on the radio, and it did very well on the British charts this way.

In the United States, however, the songs were coupled together, meaning that there wasn’t a B-side like there typically was with 45 singles in those days. Radio got into it as well, always playing the songs in the familiar two-part sequence that I heard on the radio in the morning.

If I were to hear “We are the Champions” on the radio today, I would assume that I missed “We Will Rock You” being played before it. I wouldn’t think to put either song apart from the other one. They fit together like yin and yang, and any other tandem you care to think about.

There’s a logical reason for this. Nobody just gets to become the champions of anything, without doing the stomp stomp clap part first. You begin by rocking your opponents and then, if things work out, you get to claim the big prize. That’s how it always works.

So the people who are watching the Cubs being torn down and made anew on Theo Epstein’s watch need to keep this thought in mind. We’re now entering the stomp stomp clap part of it, and once the guitar solo hits at the end of the first song–after two or three seasons, hopefully– we’ll be in a position to win the championship. But it won’t happen outside of this sequence. Just enjoy the rocking part first.

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