Her Majesty - The Beatles

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"Her Majesty" - The Beatles (1969)

On first reading, “Her Majesty” seems to be a simple genre parody. On the surface, the hard-edged vernacular conveys and unassuming man’s absurd love for the sovereign.

Professor Thomas MacFarlane asserts that the track itself is relatively straightforward but shows signs of the fusion of musical hall and country-western styles, adding:

“It’s evident in the transportation from piano to acoustic guitar seems to have afforded McCartney the opportunity to add some subtle brushstrokes to the work.”

MacFarlane points out that one is struck by an unexpected degree of poignancy that is increasingly evident on the level of deep structure. Although the narrator at first seems irreverent, it gradually becomes clear that he actually does love his queen.

He writes:

“Her apparent reticence combined with the social distance between them helps create a touching portrait that moves effortlessly from personal affection to patriotic devotion. The speaker exhibits a kind of cagey reticence- but when the song ends, it’s eminently clear that he really does love his queen!”

One should take note of the additional distancing McCartney’s achieves by placing feelings of patriotic devotion within the context of a slight little ditty about unrequited love. Within the Beatles, he was reputedly the one who tended to resist any over references to politics and was reputedly alarmed by the increasingly militant stance taken by John Lennon in the late 1960s. He seemed to believe that part of the Beatles’ essential strength lay in their remaining fundamentally apolitical.

MacFarlane wonders then if “Her Majesty” could perhaps be viewed as an anti-protest song in which the composer is attempting to obscure royalist sentiment by couching it in an essential irreverence.

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