Sex Pistols have topped the U.K. music streaming charts with “God Save the Queen,” 45 years after its initial release, and the re-entry of the song is particularly sweet timing for the band.
In this, the year of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee celebration, it’s fitting that the Sex Pistols are once again back in the spotlight. After all, it was 1977 when the band made headlines when both the BBC and International Broadcasting Authority refused to play the song that had been written as an attack on the “fascist regime.” The band famously then tried to play the song aboard a boat named the Queen Elizabeth on the River Thames on the Silver Jubilee holiday, leading to their arrest.
The group’s career was relatively short-lived and supremely chaotic, leading to a longtime public fascination with the punk icons. And that fascination has been stoked of late with a number of Sex Pistols-centric items pushing them back into the spotlight.
For one, the FX Pistol series, airing on Hulu in the U.S. was inspired by guitarist Steve Jones memoir, and led to a court dispute over the licensing of their music between singer John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) and Sex Pistols members Jones and Paul Cook. Lydon, who ended up losing his battle to keep the music from being used in the series, has been very vocal about his displeasure.
In addition, Lydon has also denounced a reissue compilation that’s been released coinciding with the Pistol series, and it’s the compilation that has brought about the revisiting of “God Save the Queen,” complete with a new video (seen below).
Meanwhile, both the series and the compilation just happen to have butted up against the period in which the Platinum Jubilee Concert celebration honoring Queen Elizabeth II’s lengthy service took place in England this past weekend.
The re-release of “God Save the Queen” came on June. 3, with the song shooting up to the top of the U.K. streaming chart, and it’s reportedly headed into the Top 5 of the Official U.K. Singles chart.
Interestingly enough, Lydon recently shared his pride in the Queen’s longevity of service while speaking with Piers Morgan Uncensored. Speaking about the original song, he claimed, “It’s anti-royalist, but it’s not anti-human.”
“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,” said Lydon, while also raising his hand to his brow with a salute. “I applaud her for that and that’s a fantastic achievement. I’m not a curmudgeon about that.”
That said, he defended his stance in the song, stating, “I just think that if I’m paying my tax money to support this system I should have a say so in how it’s spent.”