I Want It All (Queen song)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

"I Want It All"
Queen I Want It All.png
UK single picture sleeve
Single by Queen
from the album The Miracle
  • "Hang on in There"
  • "I Want It All" (Album Version)[1] (12" and CD singles only)
  • 2 May 1989 (1989-05-02) (UK)
  • 10 May 1989 (US)
  • 4:41 (album version)
  • 4:01 (single version)
  • 4:30 (Queen Rocks version)
Queen singles chronology
"Who Wants to Live Forever"
"I Want It All"
Music video
"I Want It All" on YouTube

"I Want It All" is a song by British 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.[4] "I Want It All" reached number three on the singles charts of the United Kingdom, Finland, Ireland and New Zealand, as well as on the US Billboard Album Rock Tracks chart. Elsewhere, it peaked at number two in the Netherlands and charted within the top 10 in Australia, Belgium, Germany, Norway and Switzerland. With its message about fighting for one's own goals it became an anti-apartheid protest song in South Africa.[4][5]

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.[6] Freddie 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, at Knebworth Park on 9 August 1986. The song is sung mainly by Mercury, with May singing on the choruses and middle eight.


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 song was inspired by May's conflicted feelings after his breakup with his first wife, Christine Mullen, and his new relationship with Anita Dobson.

"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.[4]


There are at least three different versions of the song. The album version included on The Miracle features an acoustic and electric guitar intro, leading into a power chord section and a brief solo, and later on a two-part main guitar solo, the first section played at the same tempo as the rest of the song, followed by a second, faster-paced section.

For its single release, the track was edited slightly. Most obviously, the instrumental intro was replaced with an a cappella rendition of the chorus, leading directly into May's first short guitar solo from the intro. The slower first section of the main guitar solo was also removed. As well as the various single releases, this version was also used in the music video and is found on the band's Greatest Hits II compilation.

A third version of the song was prepared especially for the Queen Rocks compilation. Essentially a hybrid of the previous versions, it features the a cappella intro of the single version and the full-length guitar solo of the album version.

Track Listings[edit]

7" Single

A Side. "I Want It All" (Single Version) - 4:01

B Side. "Hang on in There" - 3:45[7]

12"/CD Single

1/A Side. "I Want It All" (Single Version) - 4:01

2/B1. "Hang on in There" - 3:45

3/B2. "I Want It All" (Album Version)" - 4:41

Style and reception[edit]

In reviewing The Miracle for Allmusic, Greg Prato suggested that the song, like the title track "The Miracle", "reflect[s] on [...] the state of the world in the late '80s," summarising the song stylistically as "heavy rock."[8] 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."[9] 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."[10] The song marks the first and only use of a double 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 did not show up in the video, with Mercury performing with all the energy he had. The video also features Mercury's first public appearance with a beard to hide the kaposi's sarcoma marks on his jawline, after shaving off his trademark moustache during the video shoot for "The Great Pretender" in February 1987.

Queen comments on the record[edit]

'I Want It All' reestablishes our old image in a way. It's nice to come back with something strong. Something that reminds people we're a live group. I don't think we're a singles band, really. Just before we put the single out I started listening to what's on the radio, and the kind of stuff that becomes a hit these days bears no resemblance to what we do. People only remember the hits, but I suppose we have done okay.

— Brian May

We were heading into the period where we decided to share the credit for all the songs, and John has said that [the song] was pretty much a finished song when we went into the studios – that's true, it was just this riff that I was obsessed with for months. The actual title was a favorite phrase of Anita's, a very ambitious girl: 'I want it all, and I want it now '... We were never able to perform this song live. It would have become something of the staple core of the Queen show, I'm sure, very participatory. It was designed for the audience to sing along to, very anthemic.

— Brian May

Interesting, I wrote myself a bit in the middle. I can't remember quite why that was, it's a very sort of Pete Townshend thing to do, isn't it? But it made a nice little kind of duet in the middle, a bit of sparring between me and Freddie, and I know he enjoyed that.

— Brian May


Video game, film and TV 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.[11]


The original version of the song was featured in the PlayStation karaoke music video game SingStar Queen.[12]

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.[13] The song was also featured in Guitar Hero Live.[14]

Rock Band[edit]

The song was originally released as downloadable content on 20 October 2009, alongside a pack of other Queen songs. The song was later re-released as downloadable content for Rock Band 3 to support the new pro guitar and keyboard features.[15]

The song appears in a 2020 TV commercial for T Mobile.[16]

Chart and certifications[edit]


  1. ^ "Queen UK Singles Discography 1984-1991". www.ultimatequeen.co.uk.
  2. ^ a b "I Want It All - Queen". AllMusic. 1 February 2009.
  3. ^ "Articolo - FATAL PORTRAIT - # 9 - Queen - Metallized.it". Metallized (in Italian). 1 February 2009.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ "Queen's 50 UK singles – ranked!". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  6. ^ The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert: I Want It All Ultimate Queen. Retrieved 5 July 2011
  7. ^ "Queen "The Miracle" album and song lyrics". www.ultimatequeen.co.uk. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  8. ^ Prato, Greg. "The Miracle > Review". allmusic. Retrieved 7 May 2009.
  9. ^ "06-25-1989 – The Miracle – Newsday (Melville, NY)". Queen Music Reviews. Queen Archives (originally published by Newsday). Retrieved 7 May 2009.
  10. ^ "07-02-1989 – The Miracle – The Dallas Morning News". Queen Archives (originally published by The Dallas Morning News). Retrieved 7 May 2009.
  11. ^ Wieselman, Jarett (3 March 2011). "First Listen: 'Sucker Punch' will 'Rock You'". The New York Post. Archived from the original on 29 November 2011. Retrieved 12 October 2011.
  12. ^ "SingStar Queen (PS3)". PlayStation.com.
  13. ^ Frushtick, Russ (5 August 2009). "Exclusive: 'Guitar Hero: Van Halen' Song List And Release Date Revealed". MTV. Archived from the original on 10 September 2015. Retrieved 5 August 2009.
  14. ^ Futter, Mike (24 November 2015). "Here Are All of the Currently Available Guitar Hero Live Tracks". Game Informer. Archived from the original on 21 November 2015. Retrieved 25 November 2015.
  15. ^ Cortez, Hector (4 December 2010). "More Queen Tracks Coming To Rock Band 3". m&c. Archived from the original on 29 January 2013. Retrieved 9 November 2012.
  16. ^ "T-Mobile TV Commercial, '5G Network Anthem' Song By Queen". ispot.tv. 18 October 2020.
  17. ^ "Australian-charts.com – Queen – I Want It All". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  18. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Queen – I Want It All" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  19. ^ "Ultratop.be – Queen – I Want It All" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  20. ^ "Top RPM Singles: Issue 6417." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  21. ^ Nyman, Jake (2005). Suomi soi 4: Suuri suomalainen listakirja (in Finnish) (1st ed.). Helsinki: Tammi. ISBN 951-31-2503-3.
  22. ^ “Queen a-t-il battu le record des Beatles ?”. Info disc.
  23. ^ "Offiziellecharts.de – Queen – I Want It All" (in German). GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  24. ^ "The Irish Charts – Search Results – I Want It All". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  25. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – week 23, 1989" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40 Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  26. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Queen – I Want It All" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  27. ^ "Charts.nz – Queen – I Want It All". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  28. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – Queen – I Want It All". VG-lista. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  29. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  30. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – Queen – I Want It All". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  31. ^ "Swisscharts.com – Queen – I Want It All". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  32. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  33. ^ "Queen Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  34. ^ "Queen Chart History (Mainstream Rock)". Billboard. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
  35. ^ "The ARIA Australian Top 100 Singles Chart – 1989". ARIA, via Imgur.com. Retrieved 7 January 2020.
  36. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1989" (in Dutch). Ultratop. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
  37. ^ "Top 100 Singles - Jahrescharts 1989" (in German). GfK Entertainment. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
  38. ^ "Top 100-Jaaroverzicht van 1989". Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 15 March 2021.
  39. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1989" (in Dutch). MegaCharts. Retrieved 23 September 2018.
  40. ^ "Italian single certifications – Queen – I Want It All" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 14 October 2019. Select "2019" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "I Want It All" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli" under "Sezione".
  41. ^ "British single certifications – Queen – I Want It All". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 26 March 2016.

External links[edit]