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Song Stories

“God Save the Queen”

The Sex Pistols | 1977

The Sex Pistols were unhappy with the rosy picture that the British government was painting to outsiders amid the country’s turmoil-filled mid-1970s period, and they sought to set the record straight by penning their own version of the British Commonwealth anthem "God Save the Queen." In the Pistols documentary The Filth and the Fury, Johnny Rotten explained, "You don't write 'God Save The Queen' because you hate the English race, you write a song like that because you love them; and you're fed up with them being mistreated." Despite being banned by the BBC, "God Save the Queen" still reached Number Two on the U.K. singles chart (Rod Stewart's "I Don't Want to Talk About It" held down the top spot).

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Song Stories

“Money For Nothing”

Dire Straits | 1984

Mark Knopfler wrote this song with Sting, and it wasn’t without controversy. The Dire Straits frontman's original lyric used the word “faggot” to describe a singer who got their “money for nothing and their chicks for free.” Even though the slur was edited out in many versions, the band, and Knopfler, still took plenty of criticism for the term. “I got an objection from the editor of a gay newspaper in London--he actually said it was below the belt,” Knopfler told Rolling Stone. Still, "Money For Nothing," undoubtedly augmented by its innovative early computer-animated video, stayed at Number One for three weeks.

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