40 Years Ago: SEX PISTOLS Sign to A&M for 6 Days and Don't Release God Save the Queen


You don't write "God Save The Queen" because you hate the English race. You write a song like that because you love them, and you're fed up with them being mistreated.

The SEX PISTOLS staged the iconic signing on this day in 1977. The band joined A&M after their two-year, £40,000 contract with EMI was terminated after three months:

In a statement, the company said: "EMI feels it is unable to promote this group's records in view of the adverse publicity generated over the past two months."
The move follows the group's appearance on ITV's Today programme six weeks ago in which they used strong language.
Reports that they had sworn at Heathrow Airport staff and spat at each other while waiting to board a plane for the Netherlands yesterday proved to be the final straw.
- BBC, 1977

The EMI contract resulted in the Anarchy in the UK single. A&M couldn't manage that. The deal was cancelled within a week.

It did lead to one of the rarest (and naturally most expensive) records in British music. A&M pressed 20-25,000 copies of God Save the Queen, but after cancelling their contract destroyed the stock. Very, very few were salvaged and have made their way onto the 'market' over the years selling for £8000-10,000 and more.

The b-side of A&M's God Save the Queen was "No Feeling" (an early version of "No Feelings" from Never Mind the Bollocks...)

Kick you in the head when you get down to kneel and pray. Do you pray to you God?

In May the PISTOLS signed with Virgin Records. The controversy continued but they eventually released God Save the Queen on 27 May 1977 and the album in October.