God Save the Queen – he means it, man. John Lydon has said he will “sorely miss” Britain’s monarch when she dies. The Sex Pistols/Public Image Ltd singer was appearing on the Quietus video hour when conversation turned to the topic of the recently published plans for the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
Host John Doran, a Guardian music contributor, asked Lydon if he was worried about how the Sex Pistols’ God Save the Queen might be used. After saying the song was “about a political situation and the demand for obedience to a monarchy I don’t believe in”, Lydon moved on to the question of the Queen as a person, and said: “I would sorely miss her as a human being on planet Earth.”
He said: “It’s not her fault she was born into a gilded cage. … Can I just correct this, just slightly? Because it’s important. ‘I will miss her’ sounds ominous and I don’t want that. Long may she live. I don’t know about the “reign” part, but long may she live.”
He also added that he enjoyed the pomp and circumstance that surrounds the royal family. “I love all the pageantry, too. I loved that last wedding. Oh, when the planes flew over the palace? It reminded me of world war two and all those films, and how grim it was fighting Nazis. For me, it was a reintroduction to history, lest we forget.”
God Save the Queen, the Pistols’ second single, was banned by both the BBC and the Independent Broadcasting Authority, but still reached No 2 in the singles chart, amid accusations that it was kept from No 1 in the Queen’s silver jubilee week.