Queen Elizabeth, music and songs inspired by Her Majesty: from the Beatles to the Sex Pistols

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There Queen Elizabeth, who died on 8 September 2022 at the age of 96 (THE SPECIAL), was a music lover but was not always loved by music. Over the decades she has appeared, in a more or less veiled way, in several songs and it would have been interesting to know how she lived the situation. Because mostly they were artists who were critical of her work and, more broadly, of the monarchy. Here I will tell you a bit of the history of some songs that have hosted The Queen among the notes.

The Beatles, “Her Majesty” (1969)

It is the song that closes the epic album Abbey Road. She has hints of tenderness as she defines Queen Elizabeth as a pretty nice girl. The text is signed by Paul Mc Cartney and is unusually ironic.

Sex Pistols, “God Save The Queen” (1977)

It is not perhaps the representation of a revolution, the latest in the musical field, but certainly this piece is the anthem. In the words of the bard Shakespare, this song tells the season of our discontent. In the background the English flag, the queen with blindfolded eyes and covered mouth… for the band of Johnny Rotten and Syd Vicious she is not a human being. Let’s not forget that another court-scornful work by the band was Anarchy in the UK.

Leon Rosselson, “On Her Silver Jubilee” (1979)

The song is almost unknown to us. She jokes about Elizabeth’s possessions, her annual “salary” and the fact that she is rewarded for the things she doesn’t do with her. It should be noted that when Rosselson released the song, the Queen had been on the throne of England for over a quarter of a century.

The Exploited, “Royalty” (1981)

We are at the end of punk but not for this Scottish band, to be exact from the resistant (to the monarchy) Edinburgh. The text is on the verge of contempt, full of insults, laughter and verses. They replaced Braveheart’s sword with blazing music.

The Smiths, “The Queen Is Dead” (1986)

Morrissey with this song not only attacks the Queen but the crown of England. There is a moment an almost witch-like figure bursts into the Palace armed with a rusty sponge to reach a finale where the message that filters through is the subtraction of power from the Royal House, regardless of who sits on the throne.

The Stone Roses, “Elizabeth My Dear” (1989)

When Ian Brown, the frontman of The Stone Roses (this is their debut album, by the way) sings that “these are the curtains for my dear Elizabeth”, we understand that behind this sepulchral image there is the desire to kill the monarchy. In the true sense of the word as the piece ends with a shot.

The Pet Shop Boys, “Dreaming of the Queen” (1993)

This song is different from the others because the queen is a co-star. Neil Francis Tennant imagines a tea-time where in addition to Elizabeth there is Lady Diana, the true protagonist of the piece. So the queen remains in the background and her is a cumbersome presence.

Manic Street Preachers, “Repeat (Stars And Stripes)” (1992)

When it is said not to know diplomacy: “Repeat after me, f *** queen and country” is quite explicit in expressing the thought of the band. The contrast between the harshness of ideas and a music that is sometimes similar to a dirge is interesting.

Frank Turner, “Long Live the Queen” (2008)

It is a beneficial song, created to support the campaign against breast cancer, a pathology of which an acquaintance of the artist was the victim. To cheer up the singing friend, who seemed very sad about the situation, the patient becomes a motivator inviting him to stop being depressed and “sing with all your heart that the queen is dead”.

Gary Barlow, “Sing” (2012)

The song was written by Take That with the collaboration of British composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and performed by artists called by Gary Barlow from across the Commonwealth for the purpose of commemorating the Diamond Jubilee.

Cheat Code, “Queen Elizabeth” (2016)

Here the Queen even becomes the girl next door who makes him feel like a king and for whom he would walk on his knees, ready to be his first knight at any time of the day.