Elizabeth My Dear
Tear me apart and boil my bones
I'll not rest till she's lost her throne
My aim is true
My message is clear
It's curtains for you, Elizabeth my dear
John Squire (guitar)
Ian Brown (vocals)
Paul Schroeder (sample of gun with a silencer)
The Stone Roses (0.59)
The Stone Roses (10th Anniversary Edition) (0.58)
First live performance:
Copenhagen Patrol (15th May 1990). Elizabeth My Dear became a feature of The Stone Roses' live sets in May 1990, being used as an intro to I Am The Resurrection. It was an initial part of the Roses' acoustic set on the Second Coming tour, but was subsequently dropped.
God save the Queen
The fascist regime
They made you a moron
God save the Queen
She ain't no human being
There's no future
In England's dreaming
Sex Pistols, God Save the Queen (1977)
"We're all anti-royalist, anti-patriarch. Cos it's 1989. Time to get real. When the ravens leave The Tower, England shall fall, they say. We want to be there shooting the ravens."
(Ian Brown speaking to Melody Maker, 3rd June 1989)
"It's not a free society. You're not even allowed to say exactly what you want - you can get locked up for it. We've got a monarchy, which makes us like a toytown. We've got a family that we're paying to keep in riches, while a lot of their subjects sleep in cardboard boxes. It's a hypocritical country. It's a country that's probably embarrassed because of what it's done round the world. The previous generations of English have been round the world slaughtering other people. They set up the first concentration camps in India. They've had half the globe under English domination. They've seen the English empire collapse. They're embarrassed because of what their forefathers have done. It's made them tense, it's made them uptight, it's made them arrogant. And they don't realise that people are people, and just because it's a little island doesn't make it any more special than anywhere else. And they're scared of the European Community because they know that their own traditions and cultures will break down. And we want the tunnel to be built as quick as possible, because we believe the more cultures, the more traditions that bleed together, the better for everybody."
(Ian Brown's 'What a Trip' interview, 22nd November 1989)
"This song's dedicated to those parasites down the road (in London)... celebrating 60 years of tyranny."
(Ian Brown introduces Elizabeth My Dear at Heaton Park, 29th June 2012, the month of the Diamond Jubilee, which marked 60 years of the Queen's reign)
Top left: The ravens of the Tower of London. Legend has it that if the ravens leave, the monarchy and the Tower will fall, bringing disaster to England. To ensure this does not happen, the ravens have their wings periodically clipped by the Yeoman Warders.
Top right: Johnny Rotten, one of the monarchy's fiercest critics in the music sphere.
Middle left: Sex Pistols publicly sign to A&M Records at a press ceremony held outside Buckingham Palace (the real signing had taken place the day before), March 1977.
Middle right: The Virgin release of 'God Save the Queen' had been timed to coincide with the height of Queen Elizabeth's Silver Jubilee celebrations. By Jubilee weekend, a week and a half after the record's release, it had sold more than 150,000 copies, and on 7th June, Malcolm McLaren and the record label arranged to charter a private boat and have the Sex Pistols perform while sailing down the River Thames, passing Westminster Pier and the Houses of Parliament. The event, a mockery of the Queen's river procession planned for two days later, ended in chaos. Police launches forced the boat to dock, and constabulary surrounded the gangplanks at the pier. While the band members and their equipment were hustled down a side stairwell, McLaren, Vivienne Westwood, and many of the band's entourage were arrested.
Bottom: The Channel Tunnel, that Ian speaks of in the extract above, commenced operation on 6th May 1994. It is a 50.5-kilometre undersea rail tunnel linking Folkestone, Kent (near Dover) in the UK with Coquelles, Pas-de-Calais (near Calais) in northern France, beneath the English Channel at the Strait of Dover. The project, organised by Eurotunnel, began construction in 1988.
"And at Liverpool the royal family had a boat moored permanently in case the Germans won, so they could evacuate to Canada. It was all set up. And still you get working people waving Union Jacks on the corner. I can't understand it."
(John Squire speaking to Melody Maker, 3rd June, 1989)
And who do you despise?
Mani: "Maggie and the Royal Family. Six hundred years of piss-taking is long enough, don't you agree ?"
Ian: "The Queen Mother. Because she seems so aware of the hypocrisy of what she's doing. I think that's so patronising."
(The Stone Roses speaking to NME, 23/30 December 1989)
Elizabeth My Dear's medieval melody is borrowed from a 16th century ballad, 'Scarborough Fair', popularised by Simon and Garfunkel on 'Scarborough Fair / Canticle'. Like The Stone Roses after them, the duo attached the melody to a political statement, in their criticism of the Vietnam war. Paul Simon learned it in London, in 1965, from Martin Carthy, and set it in counterpoint with Canticle, a reworking of Simon's 1963 song, 'The Side Of a Hill'. It opened the 1966 album, 'Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme', and was released as a single after featuring on the soundtrack to 'The Graduate' in 1968. Prior to Simon learning the song, Bob Dylan borrowed the melody and several lines from Carthy's arrangement to create his 'Girl from the North Country', which appeared on 'The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan' (1963). The closing track of Side A, Bye Bye Badman, was an attack on the authorities in France for their insensitive treatment of student protests; the opening track of Side B, the Republicanist Elizabeth My Dear, continues the revolutionary theme, switching focus from the streets of Paris to Buckingham Palace, London, the residence of England's Royal Family. The Royal Family's privileged status was a dominant talking point in the band's interviews. Comprised of one stanza, one acoustic guitar and one 'gunshot', Elizabeth My Dear is a one-minute anti-royalist song, fantasizing about killing the Queen, disguised by its tranquil delivery. Elizabeth became Queen of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) upon the death of her father, George VI, on 6th February 1952. She is one of the longest-reigning monarchs of the UK or any of its predecessor states, ranking behind Victoria (who reigned over the UK for 63 years), George III (who reigned over Great Britain and subsequently the UK for 59 years), James VI (who reigned over Scotland for 57 years), and Henry III (who reigned over England for 56 years). Since 1947, the Queen has been married to Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, born a prince of Greece and Denmark, but after naturalisation known as Philip Mountbatten and subsequently created Duke of Edinburgh. Elizabeth My Dear veers from the playfulness of 'Her Majesty' by The Beatles, or the sardonic 'The Queen Is Dead' by indie predecessors, The Smiths, and speaks from the viewpoint of one intent on the murder. Morrissey broke into the palace "with a sponge and a rusty spanner"; Ian has a gun with a silencer (see Q9 of TITD Paul Schroeder interview).
Her very Lowness with her head in a sling
I'm truly sorry but it sounds like a wonderful thing
So I broke into the palace
With a sponge and a rusty spanner
She said, "Eh, I know you and you cannot sing"
I said, "That's nothing, you should hear me play piano"
The Smiths, The Queen Is Dead (1986)
'Cause I'm coming down off amphetamines and I'm in jail 'cause I killed the queen...
Clockwise from bottom-right:
Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (1966) by Simon and Garfunkel.
The Queen Is Dead (1986) by The Smiths.
Morrissey onstage at the G-Mex Festival of the Tenth Summer, July 1986. The Smiths would walk onstage to the strains of 'Dance of the Knights' from Prokofiev's 'Romeo & Juliet'; The Stone Roses, perhaps taking their cue from this, closed their gig at Manchester Hacienda in February 1989 with an atmospheric piece such as this. If anyone can identify what piece of music is being played during the coda of I Am The Resurrection at this gig, please email me at Paul@Thisisthedaybreak.co.uk.
For a Guardian newspaper commission in 2010, John Squire created a portrait of Prince Charles, composed entirely of stamps bought from the local post office at a cost of £250. Squire wanted the heir's hair to be green, but it was too expensive, and he opted for blue instead: "The wealth and power enjoyed by our royal family should be hard-earned, not inherited, so my initial reaction to the brief involved a guillotine and wicker basket. But I went for the more measured and sinister option you see here. The stamps underline the monarchy's hereditary nature. Yet another descendant of Princess Sophia of Hanover waits and wonders whether he will ever be King." In 2010, a series of classic album covers were issued as a set of stamps by Royal Mail. Conspicuous by its absence was The Stone Roses' debut LP, which contains the anti-monarchic Elizabeth My Dear. Its omission, however, may have been attributable more to the typography-heavy content of the cover, which perhaps loses some of its aesthetic appeal when shrunk down to stamp size.
"I'd like to see him (Prince Charles) dead. I'd like to shoot him. He owns acres and acres of land, with big houses, that he's never seen. And there are people living in squalor in some of those places. No sympathy at all."
(Ian Brown speaking to Melody Maker, 3rd June 1989)
"We’ve already had The Sun on our backs. They were outside me mam’s house all week tapping on the window because of what we said about the Royal Family nine months ago in an interview. I said there wouldn’t be a revolution in England unless someone put a bag over the Queen Mother’s head. And I said I’d do it. I think Buckingham Palace should be turned into flats for old people who live in cardboard boxes because that’s common sense. So The Sun knocked on our neighbours' door and said 'D'you know that lad Ian Brown that lives next door ? Well he wants to kill the Queen...'."
(Ian Brown speaking to Smash Hits, 26th December 1989)
Speaking to Stone Roses fanzine, Until The Sky Turns Green, Ian explained how these comments about the Queen Mother originated. "I'd seen this thing on Clive James where it said if there was going to be a revolution in England, someone would have to kill the monarchy, 'cause obviously that's the first step. The lynchpin and all that. But he wasn't having it that any Englishman would put a blanket over the Queen Mother's head, in the room, in the cellar. So I said 'I would. On the big day I'll step out. I will.'" Comments of this nature outraged Tory MP Geoffrey Dickens, who called for the Roses to be banned from Top Of The Pops. He called for a viewing boycott if the band did appear on TOTP: "If viewers switch off, the BBC won't put these idiots on again." (Daily Star Newspaper, 27/07/89). Ian often in interviews expresses a deep dislike of the Royal Family - he is strongly comparable to Johnny Rotten in his outspokenness on the subject - and is well read on their history. Speaking to Melody Maker in June 1989 about the Royal Family, Ian said, "Willie Hamilton and The Sex Pistols are the only people who've had a go. And Morrissey, in his own little way." Willie Hamilton, (1917 – 2000) was a Scottish Labour Member of Parliament in Fife, with stridently anti-royalist views; he branded the Queen "a clockwork doll", Princess Margaret "a floozy", and Prince Charles "a twerp". Years later, Noel Gallagher echoed Ian's comments by saying on Italian radio that he thought "the royal family should be shot." On the 2012 Stone Roses reunion tour, Ian would frequently preface Elizabeth My Dear with a dedication to "Queen Elizabeast." Introducing the song at T In The Park in 2012, Ian called England's royal figurehead, 'Queen witch'. The singer's dislike of royalty also found expression in fashion; Paul Smith designed a 'money shirt' for Ian, featuring notes bearing the Queen's head on fire (For The Stone Roses' reunion tour, Ian sported a 'burning green' shirt of another variety, with this cannabis-infused design). Here is Ian Brown speaking in 1998 about the Royal Family's activities circa World War Two:
"They changed their name in 1915*, from Sachsen-Coburg-Gotha to Windsor. When Hitler went into France, he knew exactly which way to go because he was told by King George VI where the troops were. There was a documentary about this time last year - there's two ways he could have gone into France, and it was one border where all the troops were. There was one area where he wasn't expected to go through, and the message came from George VI. That's why George VI was sent to the Bahamas** - not for protection but to have him out of the way because he was one of the top Nazis !"
(Ian Brown speaking to Kirsten Borchardt, March 1998)
Top left: King George VI and Queen Elizabeth visit the Canadian Pavilion at the World's Fair, 1939. Ian is confusing George VI with King Edward VIII, in the above extract.
Top right: Ian Brown in August 1989, wearing his 'money burning' shirt, designed by Paul Smith. In 1991, The Stone Roses found themselves billeted to Bluestone, an isolated rehearsal studio owned and maintained by Noreen Vaughan in Pembrokeshire. Gareth Evans went about trying to extricate the band from their contract with Silvertone, hoping that his charges would get their heads together in the country. Instead, the band whiled away their time destroying any symbols of the establishment, including a photograph hanging on the wall of Noreen shaking hands with Princess Anne. This horseplay would continue in their subsequent residences, including a shared house in Marple, near Stockport, in early 1993, which the group borrowed from a local millionaire, Derek Bull. Bull had a large collection of royalty books - such as one detailing the dresses of Diana, Princess of Wales - and the band proceeded to spit on every page.
Bottom: On 31st August 1997, Diana, Princess of Wales died in a car crash in the Pont de l'Alma road tunnel in Paris along with her then boyfriend, Dodi Al-Fayed, and the acting security manager of the Hôtel Ritz Paris, Henri Paul, who was their chauffeur. Primal Scream's Victoria Park show was due to clash with her funeral, and a statement issued by the band set themselves strongly against the public outpouring of grief: "We have no respect whatsoever for Diana Spencer or any member of the English Royal Family. We are totally opposed to the Monarchy. With regard to the London shows, the police refused to police the event, which meant the council would revoke the licence. We wanted to play."
* It was actually in 1917, not 1915, that the German-sounding title, Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was replaced by Windsor, as the former was deemed unpatriotic during World War I.
** Ian is getting confused here with the Duke of Windsor who, as King Edward VIII, abdicated from the throne in 1936.
Top: In October 1937, the Duke and Duchess visited Nazi Germany, against the advice of the British government, and met Adolf Hitler at his Obersalzberg retreat. The visit was much publicised by the German media. During the visit, the Duke gave full Nazi salutes. The former Austrian ambassador, Count Albert von Mensdorff-Pouilly-Dietrichstein, who was also a second cousin once removed and friend of George V, believed that Edward favoured German fascism as a bulwark against communism, and even that he initially favoured an alliance with Germany. Edward's experience of "the unending scenes of horror" during World War I led him to support appeasement. Hitler considered Edward to be friendly towards Nazi Germany and thought that Anglo-German relations could have been improved through Edward if it were not for the abdication. Fellow Nazi Albert Speer quoted Hitler directly: "I am certain through him permanent friendly relations could have been achieved. If he had stayed, everything would have been different. His abdication was a severe loss for us." The Duke and Duchess settled in France. On the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, they were brought back to Britain by Lord Mountbatten on board HMS Kelly, and the Duke, although an honorary field marshal, was made a major-general attached to the British Military Mission in France. In February 1940, the German Minister in The Hague, Count Julius von Zech-Burkersroda, claimed that the Duke had leaked the Allied war plans for the defence of Belgium. According to the son of William Edmund Ironside, 1st Baron Ironside, the Duchess continued to entertain friends associated with the fascist movement, and leaked details of the French and Belgian defences gleaned from the Duke. When Germany invaded the north of France and bombed Britain in May 1940, the Duchess told an American journalist, "I can't say I feel sorry for them." This invasion of France prompted the Windsors to flee south, first to Biarritz, then in June to Spain. In July, the pair moved to Lisbon, where they lived at first in the home of Ricardo de Espírito Santo, a Portuguese banker with both British and German contacts. The Germans unsuccessfully attempted to persuade the Duke, via agents in Spain and Portugal, to support the German effort while residing in a neutral or German-pacified territory. During the occupation of France, the Duke asked the German forces to place guards at his Paris and Riviera homes, and they duly obliged. A "defeatist" interview with the Duke that was widely distributed may have served as the last straw for the British government: Prime Minister Winston Churchill threatened the Duke with a court-martial if he did not return to British soil. In August, a British warship dispatched the pair to the Bahamas, where, in the view of Churchill, the Duke could do the least damage to the British war effort. Many historians have suggested that Hitler was prepared to reinstate Edward as King, in the hope of establishing a fascist Britain. The Duke's sympathies with Nazi Germany are illustrated by his comments in 1940 that "In the past ten years, Germany has totally reorganised the order of its society ... Countries which were unwilling to accept such a reorganisation of society and its concomitant sacrifices should direct their policies accordingly." Lord Caldecote wrote to Winston Churchill just before the couple were sent to the Bahamas, "[the Duke] is well-known to be pro-Nazi and he may become a centre of intrigue." The Allies became sufficiently disturbed by the German plots that U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered covert surveillance of the Duke and Duchess when they visited Palm Beach, Florida, in April 1941. Duke Carl Alexander of Württemberg (then a monk in an American monastery) had convinced the Federal Bureau of Investigation that the Duchess had been sleeping with the German ambassador in London, Joachim von Ribbentrop, had remained in constant contact with him, and had continued to leak secrets. After the war, the Duke admitted in his memoirs that he admired the Germans, but he denied being pro-Nazi. Of Hitler, he wrote: "[the] Führer struck me as a somewhat ridiculous figure, with his theatrical posturings and his bombastic pretensions." However, during the 1960s he said privately to a friend, Patrick Balfour, 3rd Baron Kinross, "I never thought Hitler was such a bad chap."
Second row: The Duke of Windsor chatting with Joseph Goebbels, Reich Minister of Public Enlightenment and Propaganda.
Third row: The Duke of Windsor reviewing a squad of SS with Robert Ley, 13th October 1937.
Rows four & five: The Duke and Duchess of Windsor in Nassau, Bahamas, 1941. Ascending to the throne in January 1936, Edward caused a constitutional crisis only months into his reign by proposing marriage to the American socialite Wallis Simpson, who had divorced her first husband and was seeking a divorce from her second. The prime ministers of the United Kingdom and the Dominions opposed the marriage, arguing that the people would never accept a divorced woman with two living ex-husbands as queen. Additionally, such a marriage would have conflicted with Edward's status as head of the Church of England, which opposed the remarriage of divorced people if their ex-spouses were still alive. Edward knew that the government led by British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin would resign if the marriage went ahead, which could have dragged the King into a general election and ruined irreparably his status as a politically neutral constitutional monarch. Rather than give up his affair with Simpson, Edward chose to abdicate, and was succeeded by his younger brother Albert, who chose the regnal name George VI. With a reign of 326 days, Edward was one of the shortest-reigning monarchs in British and Commonwealth history. He was never crowned. After his abdication, he was created Duke of Windsor. He married Wallis Simpson in France, on 3rd June 1937, after her second divorce became final. Later that year, the couple toured Nazi Germany. During the Second World War, he was at first stationed with the British Military Mission to France but, after private accusations that he held pro-Nazi sympathies, moved to the Bahamas after his appointment as Governor. After the war, he was never given another official appointment and spent the remainder of his life in retirement in France.
Modal analysis (by Steve Davidson):
It's in B Aeolian mode for the main, with a modal change to B Dorian. Here are the notes:
B Dorian (B C# D E F# G# A B)
B Aeolian (B C# D E F# G A B)
Here are the chords: B minor, A major, D major, E major, G major. The E major chord is the one that changes it to B Dorian. It could be argued that the main part of the song is in B Dorian, and changes to B Aeolian for the G major chord. This is because all the chords except the G major can be constructed from the Aeolian mode. But to my ears, it sounds mostly like the Aeolian mode.
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