WFrom admiration to rebellion, the Queen has inspired a multitude of songs over the course of her 70-year reign.
On 6 February 2022, Queen Elizabeth II marked seven decades as head of the British royal family – the longest reign by a British monarch in history.
During this period, Elizabeth has been at the center of many pop culture phenomena, from cheesy biopics to musical compositions.
Next week, as Elizabeth celebrates her platinum anniversary with a weekend of celebrations, street festivals across the country will be in search of the perfect royal playlist.
Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline’ was recently voted the song the nation wants to sing to mark the anniversary, with the 1969 anthem seemingly becoming a popular British classic during Euro 2020.
However, for those not so keen on the idea of a monarchy, there is a plethora of other songs that offer alternative approaches to the subject.
Here are 10 of the most controversial songs about the Queen, including tracks by The Beatles and The Sex Pistols…
The Beatles, “Her Majesty” (1969)
With at the end of 1969 abbey road Album “Her Majesty” is one of the few songs in countercultural pop music that portrays the Queen in a halfway positive light. The text describes the Queen as “pretty nice girl” but adds that “she doesn’t have much to say”. Paul McCartney who wrote the song called: “It was quite funny because it’s basically monarchist, with a slightly irreverent tone, but it’s very ironic. It’s almost like a love song for the Queen.”
Sex Pistols, “God Save The Queen” (1977)
The most notorious anti-monarchy anthem of all, “God Save The Queen” underscored a nation’s discontent on the day of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. Against a backdrop of Union Jack flags and images of the Queen with her eyes and mouth covered, the Sex Pistols created a song of rebellion with lyrics like, “God save the Queen / She ain’t no human being.”
Leon Rosselson, “On Her Silver Jubilee” (1979)
Singer-songwriter Leon Rosselson may not have taken the music charts by storm with the satirical folk song “On Her Silver Jubilee,” but it’s an amusingly sardonic take on the polarizing royal institution. “Though she’s royally rewarded for the things she doesn’t do / With palaces and estates and to keep her happy / Her wages of a point seven million pounds a year,” sings Rosselson, who released the song, as the Queen had done it for more than 25 years on the throne.
The Exploited, “Royalty” (1981)
From the album Punks are not dead, this track is a monarch bashing number in true punk style. More critical than The Beatles’ “Her Majesty,” the lyrics are followed by a chaotic series of laughter and screams. When lead singer Wattie Buchan sang the lyrics “Show me a picture of the Queen now / Dirty Little B****, F***ing Little Cow”, it was clear the Edinburgh band weren’t afraid to speak their mind .
The Smiths, The Queen Is Dead (1986)
Utilizing Morrisey’s scathing lyrics and relentlessly cynical perspective, The Queen is Dead is a poetic fantasy that envisions the deaths of the royals. Morrisey’s voice tells of a figure breaking into Buckingham Palace “with a sponge and a rusty wrench.” Later, the lyrics “The Queen is dead, boys / And it’s so lonely on a limb” show an alternate reality in which the royals are being stripped of their power.
The Stone Roses, “Elizabeth My Dear” (1989)
This one-minute interlude from The Stone Roses’ debut LP of the same name is based on the tune of the traditional nursery rhyme “Scarborough Fair”. The lyrics, “Rip me apart and boil my bones/ I will not rest until she has lost her throne/ My purpose is true/ My message is clear/ There are curtains for you Elizabeth my dear,” presents a violent fantasy about the fall of the monarchy. There’s even a gunshot at the end of the song – if the lyrics weren’t clear enough.
The Pet Shop Boys, Dreaming of the Queen (1993)
In “Dreaming of the Queen” Neil Francis Tennant stages tea drinking with the Queen and “Lady Di”. The band paid tribute to the late Princess Diana by performing the song on their Fundamental Tour in 2006, backlit by projections of their hearse on stage. But the refrain of the refrain (“So there are no more lovers left alive”) is meant to be a commentary on the AIDS crisis and its impact on the gay community. Although the song has many meanings, the focus of the narrative is on the queen.
Manic Street Preachers, “Rerun (Stars And Stripes)” (1992)
This chorale-like track isn’t exactly opaque in its meaning. The lyrics “I’ve seen that before / This is a message from occupied England” are followed by a cutting refrain: “Repeat after me, damned Queen and Country”. The Manics’ scathing assessment of the monarchy and its power in one fell swoop.
Frank Turner, “Long Live the Queen” (2008)
“Long Live the Queen” was released as a benefit single for the Breast Cancer Campaign in honor of a close friend of Turner’s who died from the disease. The lyrics of the song, “You’ll live to dance another day / It’s just now you’ll have to dance for the two of us / So stop looking so damn depressed / And sing with all your heart that the Queen is dead.” “. based on what his dying friend told him.
Cheat Codes, “Queen Elizabeth” (2016)
A surprise song released by American electronic trio Cheat Codes, “Queen Elizabeth” is another love song dedicated to “the girl next door” Elizabeth. The lyrics “Oh, Queen Elizabeth, You’re the one that I wanna be with” pine for the Queen in a tale of unrequited love. The prospect of being married to the Queen sells pretty well too; “When I’m with her, I feel like royalty.” Still, the house-influenced pop track has a catchy refrain: “I will go down on my knees, down on my knees.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/music/queen-songs-jubilee-best-b2086105.html Platinum Jubilee: 10 Controversial Songs About The Queen