Best Covers of the Sex Pistols song, God Save the Queen
March 2, 2019
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Today we’re taking a look at some of the best covers of the legendary Sex Pistols song “God Save The Queen” from 1977. It was a UK number 1 song that wasn’t an official number 1! As the song was mocking the UK monarchy and it became number 1 just as it happened to be the Queen’s Jubilee there was no way it could be allowed so it was simply crossed out on the number 1 spot. The song was later released on their debut album Never mind the bollocks.
Amongst some of the musicians/acts who have covered God Save the Queen either officially or live to date are Motörhead, Whiskey Daredevils, Anthrax, Foo Fighters, Slash. Before we get to those, let’s remind ourselves what the original sounds like so you can better compare.
Sex Pistols – God Save the Queen (1977)
Sex Pistols – God Save The Queen
This is the original version which was a number 1 in the UK charts but not an official number 1. Originally titled “No Future” but was deliberately changed to “God Save the Queen” in time for the Queen’s Jubilee. Factory workers refused to press the record & radio stations banned the song. This was punks crowning moment.
Sex Pistols : God Save The Queen (HQ) 1996 Phoenix Festival
After lead singer John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) called it a day in 1978 it wasn’t till 1996 when the Sex Pistols properly returned. This was a performance of the song from the 1996 Phoenix USA Festival from their “Filthy Lucre Tour”. They did play in London during that tour but decent footage of that isn’t available so you’ll have to make do!
Onto the covers. Each brings their musical genre/style & and puts their own unique mark on it.
1. Motörhead (2000)
Motörhead "God Save the Queen" (Sex Pistols Cover)
This cover is special simply because it’s Lemmy & Motörhead! As far as covers go it’s pretty true to the original with a few different parts thrown in. The video sees Lemmy & co traveling around London in an open top red London bus along with a woman made up to look like her majesty. It’s all very fitting.
Whiskey Daredevils – God Save The Queen – Sex Pistols
America’s finest country punkabilly band that you’ve maybe not heard of but they’ve been around a good while. This is the mellowest cover on this list with its laid back acoustic approach & unique delivery of the lyrics. Giving the song a new level of clarity.
3. Anthrax (1985)
Anthrax God save the queen
Back in their early days, not long after they released their debut album, heavy metal outfit Anthrax covered this & it was released on the EP Armed and Dangerous. The biggest change they made to the song was the guitar solo which they rewrote & it works well, adding more depth to it than the original.
The next 2 are live covers & haven’t been recorded as actual covers by the groups.
4. Foo Fighters (2007)
Foo Fighters – God save the queen (live, 3 guitars)
Foo Fighters did a shortened cover of God Save the Queen at the EMA Awards in 2007. A 3 guitar assault on the classic with Dave Grohl shouting most of the lyrics.
5. Slash (2011)
Slash @ Road Recovery — Sex Pistol's "God Save the Queen"
Slash has been known to cover this in various forms when playing live. Joined by Richard “Handsome Dick” Manitoba on vocals and Duff McKagan on bass and a few other guests they look like they are having a whale of a time. A 4 guitar assault on the song this time! Slash even breaks a string but plays on regardless. The song starts 2 mins into the video.
That’s it for now of our look at God Save the Queen cover versions. Which is your favourite?
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