Some British pop singers have shown sympathy for the British people following the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. This week, for example, Elton John held a concert in which he paid respect to the queen. On the other hand, tensions between British pop and the late queen have been simmering for a long time. Before the 1970s, the Queen of England appeared in British pop songs, mostly in minor cameo roles.
After “God Save the Queen” was released by The Sex Pistols in 1977, attitudes shifted. The punk band produced the song in honor of the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, and it compares the monarchy to a right-wing tyranny. McEwan claimed that many songs released in the 1980s – a time of high unemployment and impermeable socioeconomic disparities in the UK — continued to criticize the monarchy because of her symbolic role.
During the 1990s, McEwan claims, white people’s economic prospects improved, and with that came a decline in the popularity of anti-monarchy music. However, the economic hardships and racial discrimination endured by the country’s numerous residents with ancestry in Britain’s former colonies persisted virtually unabated. Hip-hop artists in the UK, such as slowthai and Bob Vylan, have recently released a fresh wave of songs aimed at the queen. These songs go to the point, even more so than their punk and alternative rock forebears.
“Nothing Great About Britain” by Slowthai and “England’s Ending” by Bob Vylan are scathing in their condemnation of the monarch’s avarice. The lead singer for the band Bob Vylan, Bobby Vylan (the drummer also goes by Bob Vylan), has stated that the late king still owes money to the country’s Black and brown households.