Hear Freddie Mercury & Queen’s Isolated Vocals on Their Enduring Classic Song, “We Are The Champions”

In the age of Auto-Tune, it’s a plea­sure to have proof that cer­tain greats had no need of pitch cor­rec­tion.

Queen front man Fred­die Mer­cury’s leg­en­dar­i­ly angel­ic, five octave-range pipes deliv­er extra chills on the iso­lat­ed vocal track for “We Are the Cham­pi­ons.”

Playback.fm, a free online radio app, stripped the beloved Queen hit of every­thing but the vocal wave form, then synched it to footage from four con­cert films and a rare record­ing ses­sion, above.

You’ll also hear back­ing vocals cour­tesy of gui­tarist Bri­an May, drum­mer Roger Tay­lor, and Mer­cury him­self.

Their prac­tice was to record two takes of each back­ground part—high, medi­um and low—in uni­son, yield­ing an eigh­teen voice back­ing choir. Bassist John Dea­con, inven­tor of the Dea­cy amp, left the singing to his band­mates, though he did com­pose sev­er­al of their top ten hits includ­ing “You’re My Best Friend” and “Anoth­er One Bites the Dust.”

Cow­ing though it may be, don’t let these accom­plished musi­cians’ abun­dance of tal­ent keep you from singing along. Remem­ber that in 2011, a team of sci­en­tif­ic researchers vot­ed “We Are the Cham­pi­ons” the catchi­est song in pop music his­to­ry, thanks in part to Mercury’s “high effort” vocals. As par­tic­i­pant and music psy­chol­o­gist Daniel Mül­len­siefen observed:

Every musi­cal hit is reliant on maths, sci­ence, engi­neer­ing and tech­nol­o­gy; from the physics and fre­quen­cies of sound that deter­mine pitch and har­mo­ny, to the hi-tech dig­i­tal proces­sors and syn­the­sis­ers which can add effects to make a song more catch­i­er. We’ve dis­cov­ered that there’s a sci­ence behind the sing-along and a spe­cial com­bi­na­tion of neu­ro­science, math and cog­ni­tive psy­chol­o­gy that can pro­duce the elu­sive elixir of the per­fect sing-along song.

When the audi­ence is allowed in at the three minute mark, you can pre­tend that that thun­der­ous applause is part­ly due to you.

Enjoy more Fred­die Mer­cury iso­lat­ed vocal tracks here and here.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

What Made Fred­die Mer­cury the Great­est Vocal­ist in Rock His­to­ry? The Secrets Revealed in a Short Video Essay

Hear Fred­die Mercury’s Vocals Soar in the Iso­lat­ed Vocal Track for “Some­body to Love”

Fred­die Mer­cury: The Untold Sto­ry of the Singer’s Jour­ney From Zanz­ibar to Star­dom

Ayun Hal­l­i­day is an author, illus­tra­tor, the­ater mak­er and Chief Pri­ma­tol­o­gist of the East Vil­lage Inky zine. Fol­low her @AyunHalliday.

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