Remember when the Sex Pistols “ruined” Queen Elizabeth II’s jubilee

Since they appeared near the end of the 70s, the Sex Pistols became banners of the British punk movement, which in addition to having fast and frenetic rolls, sought to reflect the discontent of the working class and those who had less in the United Kingdom. Loved by many, hated by others, but they were very important to a generation of misunderstood young people who were looking for a voice to represent them.

Of course within their slogans, there was criticism of the monarchy, whom they considered as people who did not contribute anything to society and were just there, occupying palaces and leading a life of luxury at the expense of others. That was very clear in several songs, such as “God Save the Queen”, but it was not enough to put all that in a song and publish it. Nope, the band went one step further and sang it all to the family at the Windsor House across from them.

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The Sex Pistols demonstrated against Queen Elizabeth II in her own palace

On June 7, 1977, Queen Elizabeth II was celebrating her silver jubilee, as she had already led the British crown for 25 years. That is why, as a tradition, a huge celebration was organized in his honor. However, both she and those close to the royal family they did not expect that the Sex Pistols would arrive to “ruin” the party… or something like that, playing a couple of songs.

The same day, Johnny Rotten, Steve Jones, Paul Cook and Sid Vicious got on a boat with their instruments and together with artists, writers and a film crew, They sailed through the waters of the River Thames until they approached the Royal Palace of Buckingham. There, everyone stopped and out of nowhere, they started to blow up their amps violently hitting the drums, guitars and bass. Not to mention the voice, which was the one that made his message more evident.

Let's remember when the Sex Pistols "they ruined" the jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II
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The band shocked everyone and even ended up arrested

The Sex Pistols perfectly expressed their discontent with the celebration, the monarchy and the figure of Queen Elizabeth II. That time they only played three songs, “Pretty Vacant”, “Problems” and “God Save the Queen”, but they were more than enough to make some angry and move others with their act. However, what was striking was that managed to drive the British authorities out of their boxes.

In a matter of minutes, the boat where the band was giving their impromptu show –who curiously or not, was called Queen Elizabeth– was surrounded by several London police speedboats, who through megaphones, threatened to hurt them and do all the procedures they were supposed to carry out. But the response of the group and its companions was to shout fascists at the people who are in charge of citizenship.

To cut a long story short, the Sex Pistols returned to the riverbank and upon landing, the police arrested the band and all their companions. after an altercation with a cameraman. They were imprisoned for a few hours, but not committing a real crime, they were released. This act caused Johnny Rotten and company to impact British society and the media, since it was at this presentation in the middle of the jubilee for the 25 years of Queen Elizabeth II at the head that her faces appeared on the covers and from from there, punk became famous.

“God Save the Queen”, an antihymn to the monarchy

Interestingly, days before all this happened, on May 27, 1977, the Sex Pistols released “God Save the Queen” as a single (second in his career and that would be one of the first previews of his spectacular debut album, Never Mind the Bollocks). Of course, since its premiere, they made a lot of people angry and scandalized, because it was not a song to honor the Queen but quite the opposite, it was to criticize both her and the monarchy and the state.

As it was expected, both the BBC and the other UK private broadcasters refused to play this track. However, it was not necessary for it to be heard everywhere, since the rumor spread by word of mouth and many young people bought the single in the few record stores that sold it. So much so reached number 2 in the British charts (There are those who say that it was in position 1 but they lowered it to avoid fights).

Despite his rejection and courage against the monarchy, at every jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, the Sex Pistols reappear in the conversation with “God Save the Queen”. Especially because at these parties, they reissue the single or do something “special”. But after so many years, this song lost its revolutionary focus a bit. It is no longer a song to insult the royal family, because for the old British punk guard, now it means a nostalgic theme of those years of youth and rebellion.