In the week following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, songs about the late monarch have seen a rise in popularity on streaming platforms.
As reported by Billboard, The Smiths’ 1986 song ‘The Queen Is Dead’ saw the biggest uptick in streaming numbers. While it received an average of 6,000 streams in the US on Wednesday September 7, the song racked up more than 114,000 hits a day later – Thursday September 8 being when the Queen’s death was made public – marking a rise of 1,687 per cent.
Also returning to the spotlight was the Sex Pistols’ 1977 hit ‘God Save The Queen’, which went from less than 11,000 streams to more than 81,000 (a boost of 650 per cent). Tailing that are The Beatles’ 1969 song ‘Her Majesty’ and The Stone Roses’ 1989 song ‘Elizabeth My Dear’, which rose by 269 per cent (from around 1,000 streams to 3,000) and 224 percent (from around 500 to 1,500), respectively.
Part of the Sex Pistols’ numbers could be attributed to controversy, after John Lydon distanced himself from the band and accused them of trying to “cash in” on the Queen’s death. In a Twitter thread, Lydon’s current band Public Image Ltd explained that former Pistols singer disavows any alleged “commercial” activity linked to the famed punk song.
“In John’s view,” they wrote, “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.”
Lydon had initially shared the same portrait of Elizabeth II that was used for the cover of ‘God Save The Queen’, minus the artistic modifications, to pay his respects to the late monarch.
Other tributes to the Queen have come from the likes of David Attenborough, Pearl Jam, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Dolly Parton, Toyah Willcox and Robert Fripp, Duran Duran, Shirley Manson of Garbage, James Corden, Paul McCartney, Harry Styles and Elton John.
The Queen’s funeral takes place on Monday. UK cinemas are set to either close or offer free screenings of the event. Several events have been cancelled due to the proceedings, including the Overflo Festival, this weekend’s edition of Boiler Room London, BBC Radio 2’s Live In Leeds concert, and in-store performances from Suede.