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Queen Elizabeth II ('God Save the Queen')

10 of 10 portraits by Peter Grugeon

Art Fund Popular Portraits Collection. Photo: © National Portrait Gallery, London

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Queen Elizabeth II ('God Save the Queen')

by Jamie Reid, after Peter Grugeon, for The Sex Pistols
vinyl record and sleeve, 1977
6 7/8 in. x 6 7/8 in. (175 mm x 175 mm) overall
Purchased with help from The Art Fund, 2018
Reference Collection
NPG D48055

Sitterback to top

Artistsback to top

  • Peter Grugeon, Photographer. Artist associated with 10 portraits.
  • Jamie Reid (1947-), Graphic designer. Artist associated with 1 portrait, Sitter in 1 portrait.
  • The Sex Pistols. Artist associated with 1 portrait.

This portraitback to top

Formed in 1975, the Sex Pistols was one of the first punk bands in the UK. Their single 'God Save the Queen' was released in 1977 to coincide with HM Queen Elizabeth II's silver jubilee, celebrating twenty-five years of her reign. The song railed against the lack of opportunities for young people, the so-called 'fascist regime', and heralded the arrival of punk on the mainstream music scene. The sleeve created for the single disc featured a defaced version of Peter Grugeon’s official silver jubilee portrait of the Queen. The respect that royal images usually commanded made this particularly shocking; the single was banned by the BBC and high street shops such as Woolworths and W.H. Smith refused to stock it. Despite this, it reached No. 2 in the official UK singles chart.

Events of 1977back to top

Current affairs

In celebration of her 25th year as Queen, Elizabeth II tours the British Isles visiting communities and schools in 36 counties, before touring the commonwealth. Across the country people held street parties to celebrate the occasion; there were 4,000 street parties in London alone.

Art and science

British punk rockers, The Sex Pistols, release the single, God Save The Queen to coincide with the Silvery Jubilee celebrations. The single reached Number 2 in the charts among claims that it was being kept off the top spot for political reasons. The band was arrested for trying to perform the song from a boat on the Thames during the Queen's Royal Progress trip down the river.

International

Elvis Presley dies of a heart attack aged 42. His body was discovered collapsed on the bathroom floor of his Graceland mansion in Memphis by his fiancée Ginger Alden. Rumours that the star is actually still alive but in hiding continue to perpetuate among diehard fans.

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