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It was the fourth and final single to be released from that album, although the single version was edited down by thirty seconds in contrast to the version on the album. Different sleeves were used to package this single and the live picture sleeve is now a collector's item. The song harks back to the Queen of old, with a song being built around a hard angular and muscular riff. The song features Freddie Mercury on lead vocals.
"Hammer to Fall" was a concert favourite, and was the third song the band performed at Live Aid in 1985. The song features in the setlist of bothThe Works Tour and The Magic Tour. The full album version of the song appears on Queen Rocks while the single version appears on Greatest Hits II and Classic Queen.
- 2 Music video
- 3 Live performances
- 4 Appearances in other media
- 5 Chart positions
- 6 Personnel
- 7 Rock Band Music Gaming Platform
- 8 References
- 9 External links
For we who grew up tall and proud
In the shadow of the mushroom cloud Convinced our voices can't be heard We just wanna scream it louder and louder and louder What the hell are we fighting for Just surrender and it won't hurt at all You've just got time to say your prayersWhile you're waiting for the Hammer to Fall.
The term "waiting for the hammer to fall" in the song was taken to refer to the anticipation by the public that Cold War would turn "hot" - or, alternatively, as a reference to the Soviet Hammer and Sickle. The song also contains references to death and its inevitability:
Rich or poor or famous
For your truth it's all the same (oh no oh no) Lock your door but the rain is pouring Through your window pane (oh no)Baby now your struggle's all in vain
The question of the meaning of the song was effectively settled when May wrote on his website that Hammer to Fall is really about life and death, and being aware of death as being part of life. "The Hammer coming down is only a symbol of the Grim Reaper doing his job!"
A concert favourite, "Hammer to Fall" was the third song on the band's setlist at Live Aid, after "Bohemian Rhapsody" and "Radio Ga Ga". Live versions of the song in the 1980s also usually served as an opportunity for touring keyboardist Spike Edney to appear onstage playing rhythm guitar, as he was usually not visible from behind his keyboard stack. "Hammer to Fall" features in the setlist of both The Works Tour and The Magic Tour.
At the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992, Extreme singer Gary Cherone performed the song with Queen and Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, having previously done a medley of other Queen songs with his own group.
A different version of the song with the first part played in the style of a ballad was played by Queen + Paul Rodgers in 2005. The song peaked at number 3 in South America, and 13 in the UK.The song was featured in the film Highlander.
- Australia (Kent Music Report) - 55
- Poland - 24
- South Africa - 3
- United Kingdom (UK Singles Chart) - 13
- Freddie Mercury - lead and backing vocals
- Brian May - lead guitar, backing vocals
- Roger Taylor - drums, backing vocals
- John Deacon - bass guitar, backing vocals
- Fred Mandel - synthesizer
The song was made available to download on 7 December 2010 for use in the Rock Band 3 music gaming platform in both Basic rhythm, and PRO mode which allows use of a real guitar / bass guitar, and MIDI compatible electronic drum kits / keyboards in addition to vocals.