God Save The Queen
‘We managed to offend all the people we were fucking fed up with’
The Sex Pistols’ God Save The Queen was purposely released to coincide with Queen Elizabeth II’s Silver jubilee in 1977. The song with lyrics, ‘God save the Queen, she ain’t no human being, there is no future in England’s dreaming.’
Written as a protest against the Royal Family, the song caused uproar among the general public, the BBC banned it from radio and many shops refused to stock the record. Despite these obstacles, the single still managed to hit the number two spot in the official charts, they were purposely refused number one.
The Sex Pistols exploded onto the music scene in 1975, the brainchild of Malcolm McLaren formed of Johnny Rotten (John Lydon), Steve Jones, Paul Cook and Glen Matlock -later Sid Vicious, they were at the forefront of the punk movement. Lydon said ‘people were fed up with the old way, it was clearly not working,’ punk was the notion of rebelling against society and Britain’s sorry state in a time where unemployment levels were high and political frustration was at large.
McLaren (their manager) encouraged the Sex Pistols to be as outrageous as possible, spitting, throwing up on stage, starting fights and causing general havoc. On 1st December 1976, an interview by Bill Grundy aired on ‘Today TV’ portrayed the band drunk, uncooperative, hostile and swearing on daytime TV -if the press were not already focusing their negative energy and attention on punk- they certainly were now.
Their nonconformist attitude may have gotten them into trouble and banned from multiple music venues, but record sales still rocketed. Lydon’s aggressive, often shouted vocals over loud guitars gave their only studio record a raw, unaltered feel. The punk ideology of anti-establishment came at a time where Britain was at a desperate low, the music provoked thought and caused a stir in society. The Pistols revolutionised music, other bands began to spring up influenced by Lydon and his band. The phenomenon exploded, previously contained in London, it quickly spread nationwide. Punk was vocalising its anger of society at large.
A few short years later, in 1978 the Sex Pistols split. ’Punk could only exist for the flicker of an eyelash,’ however they left behind a fingerprint that can still be seen in today’s music, without the Pistols the music scene would not have evolved into what it is today.
35 years after God Save the Queen was first released, the Sex Pistols have rereleased a special edition 7” vinyl of the single in line with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
By Rosheene McClintock