Sex Pistols are infamous for a number of reasons. One of them is their scathing takedown of Queen Elizabeth II and the monarchy in their song “God Save the Queen.” However, it appears singer John Lydon (fka Johnny Rotten) has taken a different stance on the late royal.

Following news of the death of Queen Elizabeth II at age 96, Lydon’s Twitter account shared, “Rest in Peace Queen Elizabeth II. Send her victorious.” This differed significantly from the reaction of guitarist Steve Jones. He shared the infamously defaced image of the Queen with a safety pin going through her lips along with the caption, “How do you feel?”


RELATED: Sex Pistols Issue 'God Save the Queen' Coin Before Queen's Jubilee

Lydon went on to share a Twitter thread critical of the surviving band members saying, “John Lydon wishes to distance himself from any Sex Pistols activity which aims to cash in on Queen Elizabeth II’s death. The musicians in the band and their management have approved a number of requests against John’s wishes on the basis of the majority court-ruling agreement.”

The thread continued, “In John’s view, the timing for endorsing any Sex Pistols requests for commercial gain in connection with ‘God Save The Queen’ in particular is tasteless and disrespectful to the Queen and her family at this moment in time.”

The thread concluded, “John wrote the lyrics to this historical song, and while he has never supported the monarchy, he feels that the family deserves some respect in this difficult time, as would be expected for any other person or family when someone close to them has died.”


In response to Lydon’s statement, a Sex Pistol spokesperson issued the following to Loudwire: “We cannot understand what he would be referring to. Other than a couple requests for use of imagery or audio in news reports on The Queen and her impact on culture, there’s nothing new relating to ‘God Save The Queen’ being promoted or released in any way.”

This isn’t the first awkward moment between surviving members of the Sex Pistols in recent years. Jones and drummer Paul Cook took Lydon to court in 2021 over issues pertaining to the FX biographical miniseries Pistol. Lydon lost in court. He claimed in an interview with The Telegraph the lawsuit cost him “millions” and left him “in a state of financial ruin.”

British Musicians React to the Death of Queen Elizabeth II

  • Elton John

    “Along with the rest of the nation, I am deeply saddened to hear of 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.”

  • Paul McCartney

    “On the sad occasion of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, my memories came flooding back and I would like to share these with you…” – Paul

  • The Rolling Stones

    “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.”

  • Mick Jagger

    “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.”

  • Ozzy Osbourne

    “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.”

  • Sharon Osbourne

    “Love and prayers for Our Queen.”

  • Geezer Butler

    “Sad to hear of The Queen passing. I remember the street celebrations when she was crowned Queen. Always a staple of growing up in England. GSTQ- RIP.”

  • Def Leppard/Joe Elliott

    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. She has transcended eras with good grace and service to her country that is unparalleled anywhere or by anyone. Thank you your Majesty for a lifetime of great memories and leadership.”

    -Joe Elliott”

  • John Lydon (Sex Pistols)

    “Rest in Peace Queen Elizabeth II. Send her victorious.”

  • Ringo Starr

    “God bless Queen Elizabeth. Peace and love to all the family. Peace and love.”

Erica Banas is a rock/classic rock news blogger who's well-versed in etiquette and extraordinarily nice. #TransRightsAreHumanRights

Sign me up for the 102.9 WMGK At Work Network email newsletter!

Join WMGK's At Work Network and get the latest rock news, exclusive presales, contests and more straight to you inbox.

By clicking "Subscribe" I agree to the website's terms of Service and Privacy Policy. I understand I can unsubscribe at any time.