The lyrics refer to "God Save the Queen", by beginning each verse "God save...", followed by many, often unsavoury, characters, starting with the Sex Pistols themselves. They refer to Bill Grundy, the television host who started a great controversy two years earlier when Steve Jones swore on his live show (egged on by Grundy), as well as Martin Bormann and "Nazis on the run". Notorious child murderers Myra Hindley and Ian Brady, are mentioned, along with politicians and the police (referred to as "pigs"), Idi Amin, and finally Biggs himself. The chorus goes,"Ronnie Biggs was doing time, until he done a bunk, now he says he's seen the light, and he's sold his soul for punk." (In UK slang, to "bunk", or "do a bunk", is to leave without permission; most frequently used to indicate skipping school or work, here it refers to Biggs' escape from the police.)
The final lines of the last verse are "God save the good samaritan and God save the worthless creep". Associating all the characters together, both good and bad (including themselves) while claiming that "no one is innocent" is exemplary of the nihilistic attitude of the Sex Pistols.
Bormann, prankishly pictured as the band's uniformed bass player on the 12" pressing, is also mentioned in Biggs' recording of the earlier Pistols song "Belsen Was A Gas", another song which makes light of the Holocaust ("No One is Innocent", while calling Brady "horrible", dismisses the Nazis as "only having fun"). Fleeing prosecution for war crimes following World War II, Bormann was for years thought to have escaped, like Biggs, to Brazil.
The title of the song was originally supposed to be "Cosh the Driver", a reference to the near-fatal beating that the train driver took in Biggs' robbery years before. Virgin Records vetoed the idea, and the song eventually appeared as "No One Is Innocent (A Punk Prayer by Ronnie Biggs)". On the 12" pressing, the title became "The Biggest Blow", but subsequent releases on albums reverted to the original title.
The song reached number six on the UK pop charts, and appears on the albums The Great Rock 'n' Roll Swindle and Flogging a Dead Horse. The B-side of both the 7" and 12" pressings was Sid Vicious' famous rendering of Frank Sinatra's "My Way".