God Save The Queen

Queen Elizabeth II will make a brief stop in the U.S. tomorrow (July 6, 2010) as she visits NYC for the first time since 1976.

In 1977, a band called the Sex Pistols released the song “God Save The Queen,” from the album Never Mind The Bollocks, Here’s The Sex Pistols. That year was also the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, marking the twenty-fifth anniversary of her reign. On June 7 of that year, Malcolm McLaren, the manager of the Sex Pistols, along with the band and the band’s record label, Virgin Records, thought it would be a good idea to cruise London’s River Thames and share some music, notably the new single, “God Save The Queen.”

The following account is from George Gimarc, in his book Punk Diary: The Ultimate Trainspotter’s Guide to Underground Rock, 1970-1982.

“The Sex Pistols and Virgin Records invite some close and rambunctious friends out for an evening cruising down the Thames to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee. Invited guests are to assemble at the Charing Cross Pier to board the Queen Elizabeth at 6:15 this evening [June 7, 1977]…The boat left, the banners proclaiming the new single unfurled and the party was underway.

Meanwhile, the boat’s owner, feeling that he’s gotten his boat into something more than he bargained for called the local authorities to report the goings on…The atmosphere was quickly broken with the blaring strains of ‘Anarchy In The UK.” Next up on the list was ‘God Save The Queen,’ ‘I Wanna Be Me,’ “Pretty Vacant,’ ‘No Feelings’ and ‘Problems.’

By this time, the Queen Elizabeth had been joined by six police boats which were pulling up next to the party boat and demanding it pull over to the nearest pier. The band then asked for requests and launched into a venomous version of Iggy Pop’s ‘No Fun.’ The band played on while the boat was boarded and finally the power to the amplification was pulled.

At the pier the River Police were joined by the Metropolitan Police who then, in a very rough and surly manner, cleared the boat. Cameras were smashed, party-goers pummeled, punched and dragged away to the waiting police vans…”


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