“God Save the Queen”, the anti-anthem performed by Sex Pistols, was released as a track on the classic Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols. ‘Accidentally’ released as a single during the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977, the song inevitably caused controversy. The BBC refused to play it, a lot of radio stations were banned from airing it. It reached number two in the charts, but there has always been accusations that it was actually the highest selling single at the time and should have been one spot higher.
The track mostly makes fun out of the power that the Queen seems to have over the country. The lyrics note her to be some sort of robot fabricated by her ancestors, and in another instance as some sort of money laundering figure. Though the overall conclusion is that if we all get too hyped up for this monarchy malarkey that towers over the nation, listen to every word they say and take it face value… then there is no hope for us. Though with the lyrics delivered in the trademark snarly, snotty, and sarcastic tone by Johnny Rotten, it’s nothing to take very seriously.
I do really rate Rotten’s vocals on here though. Delivering lines occasionally ending with offhand sniggers and emphatic pronunciation on certain syllables, Rotten from casually speaking the lines at the beginning increases in vocal intensity with every chorus particularly on the “We mean it, maaaaaan” line climaxing with his restrained scream which leads into the “No future” coda. Makes you wanna thrash your arms about and shout at a wall.
So that’s my take on a great song. Very British. Very punk.