The Sex Pistols famously called out Queen Elizabeth II as “not a human being” and the enabler of “a fascist regime” on their 1977 song “God Save the Queen,” but at least one member of the legendary punk group seems to have mellowed about the subject with age.
Singer John Lydon posted a respectful message on Twitter following Elizabeth’s death yesterday at age 96, writing, “Rest in Peace Queen Elizabeth II. Send her victorious.” The message included a portrait of the Queen that had previously been pasted over with words on the “God Save the Queen” cover art back in the ’70s.
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Rest in Peace Queen Elizabeth II.
Send her victorious.
— John Lydon Official (@lydonofficial) September 9, 2022
Two other members weren’t quite as polite. Guitarist Steve Jones tweeted the same image adorned with lyrics from “God Save the Queen” and a punk-style safety pin piercing the Queen’s lips, topped by the question, “How do you feel?” Bassist Glen Matlock commented on the post with the reply “God save the king — hope he’s not a silly old thing.”
Only nine vinyl copies of the “God Save the Queen” single are thought to exist, as the rest were destroyed after a contract dispute with A&M Records. The Pistols were dropped from the label six days after they signed, after allegedly wreaking havoc in the company’s London office. Nearly 25,000 copies of the single had already been pressed but were then destroyed when A&M cut ties with the group.
The Pistols weren’t the only group with an axe to grind against the British monarchy. Behold, The Queen Haters, live on SCTV:
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