“We all know that you are news - but are you king? King of the Jews?"

(Jesus Christ Superstar music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice)

(Scene on YouTube). The line comes after 1:11 in the video.)

What does the news word mean in this context?

I searched and found this meaning in Oxford:

a person or thing considered interesting enough to be reported in the news. "Chanel became the hottest news in fashion"

But I'm still unsure if it applies in this context or whether it may be a kind of slang from the 60s?

  • 2
    I don't think it's 60s slang, I think it's a songwriter choosing words that rhyme while maintaining grammatical standard English. The line does not sound "dated" to me, as slang might. Today we might say We all know you're a hot item but item doesn't rhyme with Jews... Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 15:43
  • By the way isn't it in Public domain?
    – asianirish
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 16:04
  • 2
    @asianirish Jesus Christ Superstar is certainly not in the public domain. It won't be until both Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice have been dead for seventy years (ie not until 1 Jan 2187 at the earliest).
    – Andrew Leach
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 16:30
  • 1
    @asianirish Actually, it does not matter in this case whether it is in the public domain. Attribution is not mainly a copyright issue. It is a reputation issue. The success of Stack Exchange depends heavily on the reputation system, and the success of the reputation system in turn depends heavily on this policy. You must make very clear the difference between content that you create yourself (your work), and content that you copy (other peoples' work). It is similar to the policies you see in schools, journals, and news organizations, which are there for the same reason.
    – MetaEd
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 16:49
  • @MetaEd et al. My suggested edit seems good enough to reopen the question, since the OP does indicate doubt after looking up the word in Oxford dictionary and asks if it is 60s slang. Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 16:49

1 Answer 1


Jesus Christ: Superstar:

We all know that you're news, but are you King? King of the Jews?

This leads me to believe it may be referencing the following definition of news:


uncountable noun

  • Something having a specified influence or effect.

If you say that someone or something is news, you mean that they are considered to be interesting and important at the moment, and that people want to hear about them on the radio and television and in newspapers.


  • 1
    Your source (IMDb) is wrong. A news is English gone wrong. News is not a count noun in English, and a news is not sung in this scene. Check YouTube just after 1:11. Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 15:18
  • You are correct. Good find.
    – Hank
    Commented Dec 22, 2016 at 15:20

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