On May 27th, 1977, the Sex Pistols gave two fingers to the Establishment and the celebration of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. With the release of “God save the Queen”, punk rock hit the mainstream — whether the mainstream wanted it or not.
God save the queen
The fascist regime
They made you a moron
At the time it seemed dangerous and subversive. Our parents hated it, could barely contain their contempt and outrage. It was great. Even a conventional working class lad like me could see it. The kids were taking control. And they swore on primetime television.
Oh God save history
God save your mad parade
Oh Lord God have mercy
All crimes are paid
Banned by the BBC, the record never officially made No.1 in the charts. But everyone knew the truth: the Pistols outsold their rivals handsdown.
Now that I’m older and more cynical, I’m drawn to the conclusion that for all its apparent danger, GSTQ and the punk that followed it was every bit as commercial and driven by the record labels as the disco we were all supposed to despise. It isn’t that the punk rockers ’sold out’, just that the music business is an industry like any other and is motivated by profit above all else. Even with a single teetering on the No.1 spot, we thought that the Sex Pistols represented a new era of honesty in music.
Thirty years on, I’m pretty sure we were wrong. Even so, there is little that can touch the best punk rock for sheer energy. I may be cynical about the industry, but God Save the Queen will always fill me with the urge to pogo.