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Posted by: In: Other 27 Aug 2021 Comments: 0


576-Sex Pistols-God Save the Queen.

1977-Number 2 single.

Best Bit-At 2.30. When is a Number 1 single, not a Number 1 single?’God Save the Queen’peaked at Number 2 on the official UK top 40 singles chart on the week of Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee, being kept off the top spot by Rod Stewart’s double ‘A’ sided ‘The First Cut is the Deepest’/ ‘I Don’t Want to Talk About It’, but it is a widely held belief that those in charge rigged the chart that week in order to not cause further embarrassment to the Silver Jubilee celebrations.

The Sex Pistols were formed in London, England, in 1975, they were active until 1978, but did reform in 1996, and again in 2002-2003, and finally again in 2007-2008 (see also best songs 92 and 27.) The four original band members, Johnny Rotten (vocals) (see also best songs 967 and 323) Steve Jones (guitarist) Paul Cook (drums) and Glen Matlock (bass,) all share writing credits on this song, although the lyrics are mainly Johnny Rotten, and the music is mainly Glen Matlock. By the time the single, and it’s parent Album ‘Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols’ was released, Matlock had already left the band, having been replaced by Sid Vicious (1957-1979.)

It wasn’t just the songs lyrics which were deemed disrespectful, and worthy of a radio ban, with the BBC, and almost every single independent radio station refusing to play the song. The records sleeve which had been designed by Jamie Reid, who knew Malcolm McLaren (see also best songs 751) from their time at Croyden College of Art. depicted the Queen with the word ‘God Save the Queen,’ and ‘Sex Pistols,’ written across her face, in the form of how a ransom note is often written. Johnny Rotten has said that the songs real meaning is not a personal attack on the Queen, but an attack on the treatment of working class people in England in the 1970’s, by the UK Government.

When the Sex Pistols originally recorded this song they were signed to ‘A&M’ records. The record label dropped the band just as the song was released, pulling all the singles. The ones which slipped through have become very valuable collectors items. In 2010 ‘Record Collector’ magazine compiled it’s list, with a valuation of a copy of the song released on ‘A&M’ being worth at least £10,000.

‘God save the Queen, we mean it man, we love our Queen, God saves.’