Film and TV

The Sex Pistols explained the true meaning of ‘God Save the Queen’

45 years after the original release, we have finally heard what the Sex Pistols meant with their hit track, God Save the Queen.

Today, if a song is number 1, it’s either a viral sensation or something that many can feel connected to. For God Save the Queen, which got to number 1 exactly, as the Queen celebrated her Silver Jubilee in 1977, it was treated quite differently. It was banned. Something that actually is fitting in regard to the Sex Pistols’ entire ethos.

“We’re the flowers in the dustbin!” sang, or should I say screamed John Lydon, all those decades ago.

pistol tv show
Picture: Miya Mizuno/FX – Pistol, directed by Danny Boyle

Now as we celebrate the Platinum Jubilee, Sex Pistols drummer, Paul Cook, finally explained the song’s meaning.

Cook told NME: “When we released ‘God Save The Queen’ originally, like John said, it wasn’t really about calling the Queen a moron – as you know, in the lyrics we’re not calling the Queen a moron. John was just commenting on what was going on at the time. Like John said, you don’t write a song like that because you hate the Queen, but because you love the British people, and he is spot on there.” It was John who also sang in the song, “We love our Queen!”

The name, The Sex Pistolshas been around since their inception in 1975. However, today, it’s being spoken in relation to a new Danny Boyle, six episode series, named, Pistol. Inspired by Pistols guitarist, Steve Jones’ autobiography, Lonely Boy, the series further explores what led to the bands’ formation, their impact and untimely demise.

Speaking to NME on the book’s inspiration, Boyle said: “It was really important to start with it because I couldn’t see a way into the Pistols… the edifice is so intimidating and hostile, principally because of John but also because of all of them falling out with each other. But then the book is like a little secret passageway in. He’s the guy who started it all, it’s his band.”

Naturally, all members of the Sex Pistols have reacted differently to the series. Lydon made headlines when he called the series a “middle-class fantasy,” while Jones is proud of what has been captured. Both Cook and Matlock are indifferent, though interested.

Having been together only 2.5 years and releasing just one album, The Sex Pistols’ anger, rebellion and beauty are still vibrant and much needed today. Pistol may help keep it alive and even now, nothing will silence them.