October 29, 1977. Queen releases News of the World on the same day the Sex Pistols debut with Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols. The two albums are more closely related then you’d think.
Yes, the two were released on the same day–that much is obvious. But Queen’s album is a near-direct response to the buzz that the Sex Pistols had been building over the previous year. And what the Sex Pistols were doing in the U.K. was a direct response to what the Ramones had been doing in the U.S. over the previous year.
In short, punk rock had invaded and was targeting every big player in the rock world. And bands like Queen, with their arena theatrics and progressive approach, were in the cross hairs. So what did Queen do? They ditched the symphony orchestra and ended up with a tight, rock-forward album that leads off with a one-two punch that, ironically, is an arena-rock staple to this day.
Can the Sex Pistols say the same? Not really. And while Queen never went completely punk, you wouldn’t be too far off calling “We Will Rock You” their “punk” song.