God Save the Queen (Sex Pistols song)


God Save the Queen (Sex Pistols song)

Infobox Single
Name = God Save the Queen


Artist = Sex Pistols
from Album = Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols
Released = May 27 1977
October 8 2007 (30th anniversary re-issue)
Format = Vinyl single: Worldwide
Recorded = London, England
Genre = Punk rock
Length = 3:20
Label = Virgin Records
Writer = Sex Pistols
Producer = Chris Thomas
Bill Price
[ Certification = ]
Chart position =

  • #2 (United Kingdom)

Last single = "Anarchy in the U.K."
(1976)

This single = "God Save the Queen"
(1977)

Next single = "Pretty Vacant"
(1977)
"God Save the Queen" was the second single released by the punk rock band Sex Pistols. It was released during Queen Elizabeth II's Silver Jubilee in 1977 and reached number two in the British charts. Its lyrics, as well as the cover, were controversial at the time, and the BBC refused to play the song.

Overview

The single was released on 27 May, 1977, and was regarded by much of the general public to be an assault on Queen Elizabeth II and the monarchyFact|date=March 2008. The title is taken directly from "God Save the Queen", the British national anthem. At the time it was highly controversial, firstly for its equation of the Queen with a "fascist regime", and secondly for the apparent claim that England had "no future".

Although many believe it was created because of the Jubilee, the band denies it, Paul Cook saying that, "It wasn't written specifically for the Queen's Jubilee. We weren't aware of it at the time. It wasn't a contrived effort to go out and shock everyone." [cite book | last=Lydon| first=John | year=1995 | title=Rotten: No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs |publisher=Picador | url=http://books.google.com/books?id=680tl_UTaBEC&pg=PA234&lpg=PA234&dq=it+%22wasn+ta%22+contrived+effort+to+go+out+and+shock+everyone&source=web&ots=t-7_jzv1OC&sig=INWviaul9R7EHGiHfhItsAtVTCU| isbn= 0-3121-1883-X | pages = pg. 234] Johnny Rotten has explained the lyrics as follows: "You don't write a song like 'God Save The Queen' because you hate the English race. You write a song like that because you love them, and you're fed up of seeing them mistreated."cite web | author= John Lydon | year=2007 | title="Sex Pistols Vinyl Reissues 2007: God Save The Queen"| work=johnlydon.com| url=http://www.johnlydon.com/press/pistols.html | accessdate= January 29 | accessyear=2008] His intentions were apparently to evoke sympathy for the English working class, and a general resentment for the monarchy.

On June 7, 1977 - the Jubilee holiday itself - the band attempted to play the song from a boat on the river Thames, outside the Palace of Westminster. After a scuffle involving attendee Jah Wobble and a cameraman, eleven people were arrested when the boat docked, including several members of the band's entourage.cite web | author= Allan Jones | year=2007 | title="The Sex Pistols' Jubilee Boat Trip" | work=uncut.co.uk | url=http://www.uncut.co.uk/blog/index.php?blog=5&title=the_sex_pistols_jubilee_boat_trip&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1 | accessdate= February 28 | accessyear=2008]

The song peaked at number 2 (behind Rod Stewart's "I Don't Want To Talk About It") on the official UK Singles Chart used by the BBC, though there have been persistent rumours - never confirmed or denied - that it was actually the biggest-selling single in the UK at the time, and was kept off number 1 because it was felt that it might cause offense. It did hit number 1 on the unofficial NME singles chart. It was banned by the BBC and the Independent Broadcasting Authority which regulated Independent Local Radio, effectively denying it any media exposure. It was also not stocked by some shops. Since the official singles chart at the time was compiled using sales returns from a number of outlets amongst a wider participating roster, it is in theory possible that the single's number 2 position was not the result of disregarding sales figures as such, but of the selection for that week's chart source data of a number of stores which were not selling the record.

The phrase "no future", the song's closing refrain, became emblematic of the punk rock movement. The lyric provided the title of Jon Savage's award-winning 1991 history of the Sex Pistols and punk rock, "England's Dreaming".

Before the group signed to Virgin, a small number of copies of "God Save the Queen" had been pressed on the A&M label. These are now among the most valuable records ever pressed in the UK, with a resale value as of 2006 of between £500 to £13,000 a copy, depending on condition of the disc. [ [http://www.popsike.com/php/detaildata.php?itemnr=4838165513 Popsike.com auction result 2006] ]

The song also features on the album "Never Mind the Bollocks, Here's the Sex Pistols", and several compilation albums.

Rolling Stone ranked "God Save the Queen" number 173 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, one of the group's two songs on the list along with "Anarchy in the U.K.". Sounds magazine made it their Single of the Year in 1977. [ [http://www.rocklistmusic.co.uk/sounds.html#1977 Sounds Single of the Year 1977] ] In 1989 it was 18th in the list of NME writers all time top 150 singles. [ [http://www.rocklistmusic.co.uk/nme_singles.htm#150_1987 NME Writers all time top 150 singles] ] Q Magazine in 2002 ranked it first on their list as "The 50 Most Exciting Tunes Ever..." [ [http://www.rocklistmusic.co.uk/qlistspage2.html#50%20Most%20Exciting Q 50 Most Exciting Tunes Ever] ] and 3rd in their list of "100 Songs That Changed The World" in 2003. [ [http://www.rocklistmusic.co.uk/qlistspage2.html#100%20Songs%20That%20Changed%20The%20World 100 Songs That Changed The World] ] In 2007 NME launched a campaign to get the song to number 1 in the British charts and encouraged readers to purchase or download the single on October 8. However it only made #42.

During the 80's, Toronto art student Todd Graham (Apocalypse Pooh, Blue Peanuts) created a video with the song playing over edited clips of The Archie Show to make it look like the characters are singing the song. The last scene features the "Archie" character, Betty, with an audio clip of Nancy Spungen on her boyfriend, bassist Sid Vicious. The video was made using a editing program for VHS cassettes, which was a common computer tool during the 1980s. It has recently been removed from Youtube for copyright offences. [ [http://youtube.com/watch?v=V7eR-hAF7vQ Archies meet Sex Pistols] ]

Cover Artwork

The record cover, depicting a defaced picture of Queen Elizabeth II, was designed by Jamie Reid and in 2001 was named #1 in a list of 100 Greatest Album Covers of All Time by "Q Magazine". [ [http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/1219770.stm Sex Pistols cover tops chart] ]

Cover versions

*The song was covered by Anthrax on their "Armed and Dangerous" EP in 1985.
*Motörhead did so on their "We Are Motörhead" album, and as a single in 2000.
*Part of the song was played by the Foo Fighters in the 2007 MTV Europe Music Awards.
*It was also covered by Bathory on their final box set.
*UK indie band The Enemy performed the song live as part of their two homecoming gigs at Coventry's Ricoh Arena in 2008.

References

External links

* [http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=1621 "God Save The Queen" Songfacts entry]


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