10 Royalty Songs

Dutch King Willem Alexander on stage with Dutch DJ's and Queen Maxima in Chicago 2015 (nos.nl)

Dutch King Willem Alexander on stage with Dutch DJ’s and Queen Maxima in Chicago 2015


Today is King’s Day in The Netherlands. A great occasion to compile a royalty list.

Queen’s Day/King’s Day

The Dutch King’s Day tradition stems from the first Princess Day that took place on August 31, 1885. The day celebrated princess Wilhelmina’s 5th birthday. The first edition was organized in the city of Utrecht, with more cities, towns and villages following every following edititon. After the death of Wilhelmina’s father, King Willem III, in November 1890, Princess Day was replaced by the very first Queen’s Day in 1891, even though Wilhelmina wasn’t officially Queen yet (she was coronated on August 31, 1897, her 18th birthday). Queen’s Day was celebrated every August 31 until 1948.

After Queen Juliana had taken over her mother Wilhelmina’s position in 1948, Queen’s Day was rescheduled to April 30, Juliana’s birthday, in 1949. During the first years after WWII Queen’s Day was a regular workday, but after time more and more people were granted a day off, ultimately resulting in a national holiday. When Queen Juliana transferred her scepter on April 30, 1980, to Queen Beatrix, the day of Queen’s Day remained April 30. In 2013 the last Queen’s Day (for now anyway) was celebrated when Queen Beatrix abdicated and her son Willem Alexander took the throne. His birthday is on April 27, so since 2014 The Netherlends celebrate King’s Day on April 27.

Top 10

King’s Day is a nice occasion for compiling a list of songs containing a ‘royal’ reference in its title. This is a 100% random list and could have been 10 times as long. Please, feel free to add to the list in the comment section at the bottom of this article.


Queen - Killer Queen (dutchcharts.nl)

Queen – Killer Queen

October 1974

My first introduction to the Queen phenomenon. It wouldn’t take long for the band to become my ultimate favorite. That changed when I started high-school. It was then that I truly realized that an entirely different musical universe existed beyond the borders of the charts.

Also see Queen: my very first music love.


ABBA - Dancing Queen (single) (ultratop.be)

ABBA – Dancing Queen

August 1976

The big dilemma in my younger years wasn’t the ‘battle’ between The Beatles and The Rolling Stones, but the one between ABBA and Queen. I liked both. To me, ABBA was a singles band. Many of the songs on the albums were considerably less for me. Queen, on the other hand, was a true album band. Many of the album tracks were better than what was released as a single.

Then again, Dancing Queen alone is capable of turning the complete Queen body of work into muzak. A perfect pop song.

Also see Evening of Sinterklaas day 1976 & ABBA’s Dancing Queen.


Sex Pistols - God Save The Queen Sex Pistols - God Save The Queen (single) (sexpistolsofficial.com)

Sex Pistols – God Save The Queen

May 1977

Next to Anarchy In The UK probably the best known Sex Pistols song, that held the number 1 position on the British charts at the time of Queen Elizabeth II’s 25 year jubilee.

The song is a punk anthem, attacking the British monarchy. The song was boycotted by the BBC due to the controversial lyrics, resulting in a broadcast ban on radio and televison.

God save the queen
The fascist regime

Also see Never Mind The Bollocks Here’s The Sex Pistols.


Simple Minds - King Is White And In The Crowd (recordcity.jp)

Simple Minds – King Is White And In The Crowd

November 1982

Released as the B-side to Someone Somewhere In Summertime. Great Simple Minds song off their best album.

Also see Simple Minds – New Gold Dream (81-82-83-84).


RUN-D.M.C. - King Of Rock (discogs.com)

RUN-D.M.C. – King Of Rock

January 1985

The first single culled from the album with the same title, the second album by RUN-D.M.C. Heavy guitars combined with hip-hop rhythms and rap. At the time an almost explosive combination. A precursor to Walk This Way, the worldwide hit the group and Aerosmith had in 1986?


The Smiths - The Queen Is Dead (spotify.com)

The Smiths – The Queen Is Dead

June 1986

Morrissey and the monarchy was an unhappy marriage. In this song Morrissey addresses his discomfort in his own unqiue way. The lyrics are funny:

And 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 closing phrase, which is sung repeatedly, just before the musical coda where Marr shows he can also play aggressive guitar parts, is Morrissey weltschmerz to the hilt:“Life is very long, when you’re lonely”.

Also see The Smiths release their third masterpiece: The Queen Is Dead.


Prince And The New Power Generation - My Name Is Prince (dutchcharts.nl)

Prince And The New Power Generation – My Name Is Prince

September 1992

While going through an artistically challenging phase in his career, Prince did come up with the superb My Name Is Prince:

In the beginning God made the sea
But on the seventh day he made me
He was tryin’ to rest y’all when He heard the sound
Sound like a guitar cold gettin’ down
I tried to bust a high note, but I bust a string
My God was worried ’til he heard me sing

My name is Prince and I am funky
My name is Prince the one and only

Also see Prince And The New Power Generation – O(+>.


Pavement - No More Kings (discogs.com)

Pavement – No More Kings

April 1996

A cover version culled from the Schoolhouse Rock! Rocks album, a tribute to the American TV show, that introduced children to all kinds of scientific subjects. To promote the album a single was released that also contained No More Kings, performed by indie-darlings Pavement.

A considerable amount of the album’s revenue was donated to the Children’s Defense Fund.


Felix Da Housecat - We All Wanna Be Prince (discogs.com)

Felix Da Housecat – We All Wanna Be Prince

May 2009

Felix Da Housecat wrote the song with Alex Croisy as a tribute to Prince: “Prince is one of the most brilliant, talented and influential musicians of all time, and without him, many contemporary musicians would be nowhere”. The song started off as a joke, but it turned into a great song.

By and large, the song’s lyrics are a combination of bits and pieces stemming from original Prince lyrics with the intent of creating a new lyric. It’s unclear/unknown what Prince thought of the song, but going by the text below, he would undoubtedly have had his reservations.

I miss The Revolution, First Avenue, Uptown

And yet, the chorus We can’t help ourselves, we all wanna be Prince is a great line.


Kendrick Lamar - King Kunta (dutchcharts.nl)

Kendrick Lamar – King Kunta

March 2015

So, why should we, as older people, listen to current music? One of the answers is Kendrick Lamar. This is the n-th time he proves that great music will always be made. A definite highlight in hip-hop and modern music.

By the time you hear the next pop
the funk shall be within you


In closing

What songs are missing? There must be many, let me know!

This story contains an accompanying video. Click on the following link to see it: Video: 10 Royalty Songs. The A Pop Life playlist on Spotify has been updated as well.

Compliments/remarks? Yes, please!