“God Save the Queen”: the day the Sex Pistols shook the British monarchy

The Sex Pistols’ flagship title will be released on May 27, as Queen Elizabeth II’s 70-year reign approaches. Back on the history of this controversial title, while a mini-series devoted to the cult group arrives on May 31 on Disney +.

1977. Queen Elizabeth II celebrates 25 years of reign. The United Kingdom counts on the Silver Jubilee of their monarch to exalt national pride. But if the souvenirs with the royal effigy are sold by the thousands, the country bears the brunt of the crisis of the end of the decade: inflation, unemployment, racist tensions, conflict in Northern Ireland…

In May, the group of Sex Pistols release the title “God Save tea Queen»snub to the monarchy. Nevertheless, the London band has refuted the popular belief that the track was created because of this event particular. If the name is inspired by the British national anthem, the piece does not hesitate to criticize the queen, causing the effect of a bomb. In the mouth of singer Johnny Rottenthe sovereign is not “not a being human” and embodies “a diet fascist” debilitating.

The text of the song, written in the fall of 1976, required hours of reflection from the leader of the group. “II thought about it for weeks, he will explain later, then it suddenly came out, in the kitchen of a squat.» First titled “No Future»she will become “God Save tea Queen» at the insistence of his manager. “There’s no future in England’s dreaming»chants the group.

1,977 copies

Despite its success and its position in the charts (in second place)the song was then banned from public radio and television so as not to offend the Queen and her entourage. Rumors had even claimed that a manipulation would have prevented the title from arriving in first place, despite its results, so as not to further inflame the controversy. “Lmood was sinister»says journalist and writer Jon savage au Monde, author of a reference work on this movement (England’s Dreaming : the Sex Pistols and punk, Allia, 1991) and creator in 1976 of one of the first punk fanzines, London’s Outrage.

While the queen will soon celebrate her 70th anniversary of reign, the British punk-rock band decided to bring out the title, a few days before theevent. The announcement was made on Tuesday, May 3, in a tweet stating that “Ione of the most sought-after vinyl records in history is back on the shelves.» Only 1,977 copies of the reissue A&M will be available, with on side B the title “No Feeling». A second vinyl will be reissued under the Virgin label, with the title “Did You No Wrong» in front B.

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“God Save the Queen”: the day the Sex Pistols shook the British monarchy

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