100 songs that changed history

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Time Out explores the music that changed the course of world events

  • 6

    ‘God Save the Queen’ – Sex Pistols (1977)

    If England had been generally viewed as a nation of forelock-tugging, Union flag-waving royalists, then sneering Johnny Rotten and his determinedly ill-behaved Pistols changed all that in the politically malcontent summer of 1977, during the Queen’s Silver Jubilee celebrations.

    The Pistols’ infamous boat launch on the Thames saw them belting out their number-two single (they were pipped at the post by Rod Stewart) as they chugged past the Houses of Parliament. Over a backdrop of ramalama punk, they rowdily declared the monarchy to be a ‘fascist regime’ and – with a little help from Jamie Reid’s insurrectionary graphics – made anti-royal sentiment both incredibly popular and very fashionable. One was presumably not amused.


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