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Arise, Sir Paul: All the rock and pop stars who were honored by Queen Elizabeth II

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The passing of Queen Elizabeth II is likely to hit some of the world’s most famous musicians hard because during her reign, she bestowed royal honors on many of them, including knighthoods. 

While some famous artists turned down knighthoods or other honors, including The Rolling Stones Keith Richards, David Bowie and ex-Beatle George Harrison, most were more than happy to make the trip to Buckingham Palace to receive their medals from either the queen herself or a high-ranking member of the royal family, such as then-Prince Charles or Prince William.

Here’s a list of all the rock and pop stars who’ve received such honors, starting with the highest one, a knighthood.

 

Knighthoods

1986 — Bob Geldof, organizer of Live Aid [honorary knighthood, cannot be called “sir” because he’s Irish]

1995 — Iconic British pop star Cliff Richard [also received an OBE, Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire]

1996 — Beatles producer George Martin [now deceased]

1997 — Ex-Beatle Paul McCartney [also received an MBE, Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire]

1998 — Elton John  [also received a CBE, Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, and the Order of the Companions of Honour]

2002 — Mick Jagger of The Rolling Stones

2006 — Tom Jones [also received an OBE, Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire]

2007 — Bono of U2 [honorary knighthood, cannot be called “sir” because he’s Irish]

2016 — Van Morrison [also received an OBE]

2016 — Rod Stewart [also received a CBE]

2017 — Ray Davies of The Kinks [also received a CBE]

2018 — Barry Gibb of the Bee Gees [also received a CBE]

2019 — Ex-Beatle Ringo Starr [also received an MBE]

CBE (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire)

2003 — Sting [ex-The Police]

2004 — Roger Daltrey of The Who

2004 — The Bee Gees [Barry, Robin and Maurice Gibb]

2005 — Brian May of Queen

2009 — Robert Plant [ex-Led Zeppelin]

2021 — Rick Wakeman of Yes

2022 — Bernie Taupin, Elton John’s songwriting partner

OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire)

1994 — Eric Clapton

2011 — Annie Lennox of Eurythmics

2017 — Ed Sheeran

2019 — Elvis Costello

2020 — Jeff Lynne of ELO

2020 — Roger Taylor of Queen

2021 — Alan Parsons of Alan Parsons Project [also record producer]

2022 — Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues

MBE (Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire)

2013 — Adele

2019 — M.I.A. (“Paper Planes” singer and rapper)

2022 — Mel B of The Spice Girls (for her charity work)

 

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