Elizabeth II, Her Majesty of Rock’n’Roll

She would have gladly done without it, but Elizabeth II found herself at the heart of one of the most resounding musical scandals of the XXe century, the “great rock’n’roll swindle” that was the punk explosion. The affair broke out on June 7, 1977, on the occasion of the silver jubilee celebrating the 25th anniversary of his coronation. The queen must, two days later, carry out a procession on the Thames, which a band of anarchizing histrions has decided to ridicule by a parody. They call themselves the Sex Pistols and have just dropped a bomb against the monarchy, a single full of fury and chaos: God Save the Queen has little to do with the instrumental cover of the national anthem proposed, at the end of 1975, by the aptly named group Queen.

Read also: Elizabeth II: after seventy years of an extraordinary reign, the sovereign leaves a lasting mark on the monarchy

In a demonic voice, the singer, John Lydon (alias Johnny Rotten), howls that the queen does not“is not a human being” after denouncing “fascist regime”. He mocks the “stupid parade” to come, to conclude: “There is no future for you. »

As Jon Savage writes in England’s Dreaming. The Sex Pistols and punk (Alia, 2002), “The Sex Pistols erupted with much the same effect as a hand grenade thrown into a bed of gladioli. God Save the Queen was the only serious protest against the Jubilee, the only rallying cry for those who disagreed with the Jubilee because they disliked the Queen, or because, like John Lydon, they were Irish, or even, much more simply, because they felt cheated by such propaganda, by a vision of England that had no connection, even the most remote, with their daily experience..

Read also Article reserved for our subscribers Queen Elizabeth II in the Arts: Seven Decades of Respect

Banned from the airwaves and a few major retail chains, God Save the Queen reached its target, despite attempts at censorship, since it climbed to second place in the official ranking, and even first in that established by the weekly New Musical Express. The cover, created by graphic designer Jamie Reid, hijacks a photograph of the Queen, covering her eyes and mouth with cut-out characters like the letters of a crow. A sticker nails his mouth squarely with a safety pin.

The outrage is consummated, but the Sex Pistols will not have the leisure to play God Save The Queen on board of Queen Elizabeththe houseboat they have reserved and decorated with a banner saying that “Queen Elizabeth welcomes the Sex Pistols”. The apotheosis is prevented by the intervention of the police, who arrest a dozen people. The throne did not waver. The group, he explodes in flight, seven months later, during his American tour.

You have 69.96% of this article left to read. The following is for subscribers only.

Elizabeth II, Her Majesty of Rock’n’Roll