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The Queen Is Dead. How Do You Feel?

The Queen

The Queen of England has died and it has been interesting to read the reactions of musicians online. I thought it was trendy to hate the Queen but some of our most popular rockers have been knighted by Elizabeth II and actually adore her. After the news of the Queen’s passing, Sir Paul McCartney, who became a knight in 1997 when he was 54 years old, honored her royal highness with a “God bless Queen Elizabeth II. May she rest in peace, Long live The King” on his social media. Mick Jagger also posted the respectful: “For my whole life Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II has always been there. In my childhood, I can recall watching her wedding highlights on TV. I remember her as a beautiful young lady, to the much-beloved grandmother of the nation. My deepest sympathies are with the Royal family,” and The Rolling Stones posted their own condolences: “The Rolling Stones extend their deepest sympathy to the Royal family on the death of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, who was a constant presence in their lives as in countless others.”

I could also add Def Leppard’s statement: “Dignity. If there’s ever one word to describe this wonderful lady & monarch it’s dignity. We will never see the likes of this again,” and Ozzy Osbourne’s homage: “I mourn with my country the passing of our greatest Queen.  With a heavy heart, I say it is devastating the thought of England without Queen Elizabeth II.” Elton John, who was also knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1998, also posted a long and heartfelt tribute: “Along with the rest of the nation, I am deeply saddened to hear the news of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth’s passing. She was an inspiring presence to be around and led the country through some of our greatest and darkest moments with grace, decency and a genuine caring warmth. Queen Elizabeth has been a huge part of my life from childhood to this day, and I will miss her dearly.” Rod Stewart, also knighted in 2016, posted: “It has been a devastating 48 hours. My brother Don passed on Tuesday at 94 and today Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at 96. Like Don, the Queen has been a presence all through my life as a great unifier. A shining star that will never fade in our hearts and souls.”

These are very dignified declarations, and it’s probable we will also hear from Bono, also knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 2007 despite being Irish. These may be sincere but how can you say something bad about the queen when she rewarded you with the highest honor? Mick Jagger’s declaration was rather generous since the Queen didn’t want to knight the rocker because of his anti-establishment views, so she had Prince Charles do the honors at Buckingham Palace. The Queen thought Jagger was “not suitable,” because of his massive personal fortune, disinterest in charitable causes, outrageous behavior, drug use, and his tendency to escape paying taxes in his own country because of living abroad.

Rock & roll used to be about anti-establishment, but you really don’t get much of it here. Rock & roll may be dead too. You have to look at Steve Jones’s social media to find something a bit less reverent: he posted Jamie Reid’s famous illustration of the Sex Pistols’ “God Save the Queen/She ain’t no Human being” with the caption: ”How do you feel?” I would like to know how Steve Jones feels. This week, a lot of people will probably give a spin to this oldie, with the well-known contemptuous lyrics: “God save the Queen/The fascist regime/They made you a moron/A potential H bomb.”

Of course, you will find the most aggressive lyrics, the most anti-royalty lines in Morrissey/The Smiths repertoire, and the album du jour has to be “The Queen is Dead” which finally comes to reality 36 years later. With lines like “Her very Lowness with her head in a sling/I’m truly sorry, but it sounds like a wonderful thing,” there is no room for pity and condolences on this day of mourning.

There has not been a Morrissey show without an irreverent photo of the Queen, the art cover for his album “Low in High School” was showing a kid holding a sign “Axe the Monarchy,” and he is the author of a large collection of anti-monarchy quotes: he has called the Royals the “most dysfunctional family” and “mentally defective”… but so far, no statement from Morrissey! However, his guitarist and collaborator Alain Whyte has surprisingly paid his respect on his social with a respectful: “R.I.P Queen Elizabeth II. Now you know why Teddy Boys loved her. Here she is meeting Bill Haley. The royal I grew up with.”

In the end, I have the feeling that “God Save the Queen” and “The Queen is Dead” will make a strong comeback in the charts. Sorry for all the Morrissey haters but he has the last word on this one.

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