Video Of The Day (Throwback Thursday Edition): God Save the Queen

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Something happened this week in 1977, something which helped vault the already simmering punk scene in the U.K. onto the map.  It’s one of several key events which did exactly what the punk/underground movement needed to do: grab the attention of the establishment, and tip it over onto its side.

“God Save The Queen,” released as the second single by the Sex Pistols on May 27, 1977, was banned on May 31st.  Lyrics referring to the monarchy as being a “fascist regime” helped fuel the shock of older generations while simultaneously serving as a rallying cry for younger ones.

The BBC considered the song — the release of which coincided with Queen Elizabeth’s Silver Jubilee celebrations — to be “in gross bad taste,” and refused to play it.  The Independent Broadcasting Authority (pretty much England’s version of the FCC at the time) issued a warning to all radio stations stating that playing the single would be in breach of Section 4:1:A of the Broadcasting Act.

But as we’ve all come to know in the digital age, bad press is sometimes the best press.  In no time at all, the single reached #2 on the UK chart.

Incidentally, many still believe (the facts of which have never been confirmed nor denied) that while the track checked in at #2 on the chart behind “I Don’t Want To Talk About It” by Rod Stewart, it actually was the biggest selling single in the UK.  Fearing a backlash, the BBC suits who produced the chart just refused to list it that way.


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Tim Pogo is at times a radio dj, a tv host, a music lover, a photographer and a traveler.