I Want It All (Queen song)

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For other uses, see I Want It All (disambiguation).
"I Want It All"
Single by Queen
from the album The Miracle
B-side "Hang On in There"
Released 2 May 1989 (UK)
11 May 1989 (US)
Format 7" vinyl, 12" vinyl, CD single, Compact Cassette
Recorded 1988
Genre Hard rock
Length 4:41 (Album)
4:01 (Single)
Label Parlophone, Capitol
Writer(s) Brian May
Producer(s) Queen, David Richards
Queen singles chronology
"Who Wants to Live Forever"
"I Want It All"
The Miracle track listing
"The Miracle"
"I Want It All"
"The Invisible Man"
Greatest Hits II track listing
"Radio Ga Ga"
"I Want It All"
"I Want to Break Free"
Queen Rocks track listing
"Tie Your Mother Down"
"I Want It All"
"Seven Seas of Rhye"

"I Want It All" is a song by English rock band Queen, featured on their 1989 studio album The Miracle. Written by guitarist and backing vocalist Brian May (but credited to Queen) and produced by David Richards, it was released as the first single from the album on 2 May 1989.[1] "I Want It All" reached #3 on both the UK Singles Chart[2] and the American Billboard Hot Mainstream Rock Tracks chart,[3] #50 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart[3] and #1 in other European territories, including Spain, where Los 40 Principales regularly played the song during the month of July 1989.[1]

The song was first played live on 20 April 1992, three years after its release, during The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert, performed by the three remaining members of Queen, with Roger Daltrey singing lead vocals and Tony Iommi playing rhythm guitar.[4] Mercury himself never performed the song live, as he died in November 1991 from AIDS at the age of 45, and his final performance with Queen was at the end of The Magic Tour, in 1986. The song is sung mainly by Mercury, with May singing on the choruses and middle eight.

There are at least two versions of this song. The longer one is the album version, while the shortest one is used in the music video and in the Greatest Hits II compilation. Compared to the album version, the video version features a different beginning, omitting the acoustic/electric guitar part and the short rhythmic-electric guitar part immediately following. It starts with the band singing the chorus a cappella, and then, after a 1/8 + 2/4 A5 power chord, it picks up on the first electric guitar riff by May that follows the short rhythmic guitar part mentioned before. The guitar solo section is different as well: the album version features an extra solo, done at the same tempo as the rest of the song, just before the faster main solo. Mercury's vocals after the middle eight are also slightly different and are positioned on the "extra" solo on the album version, and on the main solo on the video version.


The song, according to John Deacon, was one of only a few which was already written before the band entered the studio in the beginning of 1988 for what would become "The Miracle" album. The title stems from a catchphrase of Anita Dobson, later Brian May's second wife: "I want it all and I want it now!". "I Want It All" is notably heavy and features themes relating to rebellion and social upheaval. Songwriter May, however, claims that it is about having ambitions and fighting for one's own goals; because of this, the song became an anti-apartheid song in South Africa and has also been used as a gay rights protest theme and a rallying anthem for African-American youth.[1]

Style and reception[edit]

In reviewing The Miracle for Allmusic, Greg Prato suggested that the song, like title track "The Miracle", "reflect[s] on [...] the state of the world in the late '80s," summarising the song stylistically as "heavy rock."[5] Melville-based newspaper Newsday mentioned "I Want It All" as one of "The best" of the album, describing it as "colored by May's rocking guitar rolls and Mercury's rough-boys vocals."[6] In reviewing the album, The Dallas Morning News described "I Want It All" in some depth, explaining how it "starts off with a Bowiesque guitar part, picks up a heavy cargo of steel, quickly lays down the hard line implied by the title, then takes flight along Mr. May's greased fretboard."[7] The song marks the first and only use of a double kick bass drum in a Queen song.

Music video[edit]

The music video features the band performing in a studio that used halogen lighting. It was directed by David Mallet and filmed at Elstree Studios, London in March 1989. In the Greatest Video Hits 2 DVD audio commentary, Brian May and Roger Taylor recall that Mercury's health was already quite bad when the video's shooting took place, and it was remarkable that it didn't show up in the video, with Mercury performing with all the energy he had. The video also marked Mercury's first public appearance with a beard, after shaving off his trademark moustache in early 1987.

Queen comments on the record[edit]


Sales and certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
United Kingdom (BPI)[8] Silver 200,000^

^shipments figures based on certification alone

Video game appearances[edit]

Madden NFL 12[edit]

A mash-up rap version with "We Will Rock You" included is featured in Madden 12. It features the rapping of Armaggedon, a former member of Terror Squad. This mash-up rap version of the song was also featured in the 2011 film Sucker Punch.


The original version of the song was featured in the karaoke music video game SingStar Queen.

Guitar Hero series[edit]

The single version of the song was available as a playable track in the 2009 music video game Guitar Hero: Van Halen.

Rock Band music gaming platform[edit]

The musically playable song was originally released on 20 October 2009, before the addition of real instruments. The song was then redone and made available to download on 7 December 2010 for use in the Rock Band 3 music gaming platform in an updated PRO mode version, which allows use of a real guitar/bass guitar, and standard MIDI compatible electronic drum kits / keyboards in addition to up to three-part harmony or backup vocals.[9][10]

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (1989) Peak position Total weeks
Australian Singles Chart[11] 10 12
Austrian Singles Chart[12] 11 14
Canadian Singles Chart[13] 34 13
Dutch Singles Chart[14] 2 14
German Singles Chart[15] 9 17
Irish Singles Chart[16] 3 5
Italian Singles Chart[17] 4 18
New Zealand Singles Chart[18] 3 10
Norwegian Singles Chart[19] 4 7
Swedish Singles Chart[20] 14 4
Swiss Singles Chart[21] 8 14
UK Singles Chart[22] 3 7
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[23] 50 10
U.S. Mainstream Rock Charts[24] 3 ?


  1. ^ a b c Jenkins, Jim; Smith, Jacky; Davis, Andy; Symes, Phil (2000). The Platinum Collection (CD booklet). Queen. Parlophone. p. 12. 7243 5 29883 2 7. 
  2. ^ "Queen". Chart Stats. Archived from the original on 25 May 2012. Retrieved 7 May 2009. 
  3. ^ a b "Queen > Charts & Awards > Billboard Singles". allmusic. Retrieved 7 May 2009. 
  4. ^ The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert: I Want It All Ultimate Queen. Retrieved 5 July 2011
  5. ^ Prato, Greg. "The Miracle > Review". allmusic. Retrieved 7 May 2009. 
  6. ^ "06-25-1989 – The Miracle – Newsday (Melville, NY)". Queen Music Reviews. Queen Archives (originally published by Newsday). 25 June 1989 (original publication). Retrieved 7 May 2009.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  7. ^ "07-02-1989 – The Miracle – The Dallas Morning News". Queen Archives (originally published by The Dallas Morning News). 7 February 1989 (original publication). Retrieved 7 May 2009.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  8. ^ "British single certifications – I Want It All". British Phonographic Industry.  Enter I Want It All in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Silver in the field By Award. Click Search
  9. ^ Cortez, Hector (2010-12-04). "More Queen Tracks Coming To Rock Band 3". m&c. Retrieved 2012-11-09. 
  10. ^ Snider, Mike (2010-06-10). "Rock Band 3: What's New, What's Notable". USA Today. Retrieved 2012-11-08. 
  11. ^ Australian charts portal. australian-charts.com. Retrieved on 2011-03-01.
  12. ^ Austria Top 40 – Hitparade Österreich. austriancharts.at. Retrieved on 2011-03-01.
  13. ^ "Welcome to the LIBRARY AND ARCHIVES CANADA website | Bienvenue au site Web BIBLIOTHÈQUE ET ARCHIVES CANADA". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. Retrieved 2011-08-03. 
  14. ^ Dutch charts portal. dutchcharts.nl. Retrieved on 2011-03-01.
  15. ^ Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche. musicline.de. Retrieved on 2011-03-01.
  16. ^ The Irish Charts – All there is to know. Irishcharts.ie (1962-10-01). Retrieved on 2011-03-01.
  17. ^ "Hit Parade Italia - Indice per Interprete: Q". Hitparadeitalia.it. Retrieved 2011-08-03. 
  18. ^ New Zealand charts portal. charts.org.nz. Retrieved on 2011-03-01.
  19. ^ Norwegian charts portal. norwegiancharts.com (2006-06-15). Retrieved on 2011-03-01.
  20. ^ Swedish Charts Portal. swedishcharts.com. Retrieved on 2011-03-01.
  21. ^ Die Offizielle Schweizer Hitparade und Music Community. swisscharts.com. Retrieved on 2011-03-01.
  22. ^ UK Singles & Albums Chart Archive. Chart Stats. Retrieved on 2011-03-01.
  23. ^ Music News, Reviews, Articles, Information, News Online & Free Music. Billboard.com. Retrieved on 2011-03-01.
  24. ^ AllMusic. AllMusic. Retrieved on 2011-03-01.

External links[edit]