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Musicians who denied honors of the British Empire

Keith richards John Lennon Paul Weller


Musicians who denied honors of the British Empire

Many famous artists are invited to become a CBE – “Commander of the Order of the British Empire”, an honor of the British Empire. Despite being a huge privilege for many, there are rockstars who see this honor as an insult to their ethics. In the article below se some famous musicians that refused the title given by the Queen.


Paul Weller

JAM legend was named among those who would receive the CBE title in the New Year list of 2007. A spokesman announced that he declined the title by saying: “Paul was surprised and flattered, but it was not really for him” .

Humphrey Lyttelton

The late jazz musician and broadcaster turned down the knighthood in 1995. For non-jazz fans he was known to have worked on “Life In A Glasshouse” with RADIOHEAD.

Ringo Starr

Despite being an MBE (Order of the British Empire Member), the BEATLES drummer stated that he doesn’t want to become a “Sir”, joking that he prefers to be a prince or duke. In his 2003 track “Elizabeth Reigns,” Ringo sings at the end “There goes my knighthood.”

David Bowie

The rock chameleon declined the CBE title in 2000, and three years later refused to become a knight. Explaining why he did not become a “Sir” in 2003, Bowie told The Sun: “I’ve never had any intention of accepting anything like that, I honestly don’t know why it’s such a thing. .”. He also declined to comment on Mick Jagger’s decision to accept becoming a knight: “It’s not for me to make Jagger’s judgment, it’s his decision, but this is not for me.”

Keith Richards

When Sir Mick Jagger accepted his appointment as a knight at Buckingham Palace in 2002, Richards accused his bandmate of “selling himself.” Keeping what he said, Richards turned down the CBE title for his services to music.

Hank Marvin

Cliff Richard’s solo guitarist, THE SHADOWS, was named on the Queen’s Queen’s Honor Roll in 2004 as one of the people to be awarded the OBE (“Officer of the Order of the British Empire”). Unlike Cliff, he refused that honor.

John Lennon

The Beatle returned it’s MBE insignia in 1969 in protest of British involvement in the Nigerian Civil War and against US support in the Vietnam War.

Benjamin Zephaniah

The poet and musician refused his OBE in 2003. Unlike other musicians on the list who declined politely, Zephaniah made strong criticisms of the title. He explained to The Guardian that he refused the honor because the British Order reminded him “how his ancestors were raped and how his ancestors were brutalized.”

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I am a Brazilian journalist, a Classic Rock and Heavy Metal lover. Music has always been part of my life, helped me through tough moments and was with me to celebrate the good ones. When I became a journalist I knew I wanted to write about my passions. After college I did a postgraduate degree in digital communication. This has helped me to make the website better and bring the best of classic rock to the world! MTB: 0021377/MG

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