Platinum Jubilee: Sex Pistols’ God Save the Queen hits number one spot after 45 years

The notorious hit was recently reissued for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

Sex Pistols 1977 Live

Image: Pictorial Press Ltd / Alamy

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Sex Pistol fans have gotten in on the Platinum Jubilee weekend action, sending the band’s notorious anti-monarchy anthem God Save the Queen to the top of the charts, 45 years after being denied number one.

Re-released last Friday (3 June) for Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee, the track became the UK’s best-selling single exactly 45 years after it was denied the top spot.

The hit, which takes its title from the British national anthem, was first released in 1977 to coincide with the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations. Despite being banned from radio or television airplay, the track reached number one on the NME chart and number two on the official UK singles charts, where it was listed as a blank — for the only time in history — to avoid causing offence. Rumours persist that the record had actually qualified for the top spot, and that the chart was rigged to prevent a spectacle.

Sex Pistols guitarist Steve Jones once said of the 1977 hit: “I’ve never had any connection to the monarchy, to be honest. It meant nothing to me, still doesn’t. So to me it was just a laugh, it was a giggle. I didn’t realise it would offend a lot of English people. They took it personally. It was a stab against the Queen.”

On Saturday (4 June), as the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations continued, the song became the biggest-selling single of the day for the very first time. The punk band has also released a commemorative God Save the Queen coin and NFT to celebrate the song’s anniversary.

Speaking to TalkTV in a recent interview, lead singer John Lydon said that he was “really, really proud of the queen for surviving and doing so well.”

Describing the song as “anti-royalist, but it’s not anti-human”, Lyon said: “I’ve got to tell the world this. Everyone presumes that I’m against the royal family as human beings, I’m not.”

“I’m actually really, really proud of the Queen for surviving and doing so well. I applaud her for that, and that’s a fantastic achievement. I’m not a curmudgeon about that,” he added.

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