George turned down British honour

It has been revealed that in 2000, George Harrison turned down an OBE after his band mate Paul McCartney was awarded a knighthood.

Every member of the Beatles was awarded an MBE in 1965, but Lennon returned his as a protest about British foreign policy. Lennon wrote: “Your Majesty, I am returning my MBE as a protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against ‘Cold Turkey’ slipping down the charts. With love. John Lennon of Bag”

John Lennon of Bag

Documents revel that the Beatles guitarist was put forward for the honour due to his contribution to the music industry. Surprisingly, his charitable causes such as famine relief for Bangladesh and Romanian Angel Appeal seems to have gone unnoticed by the royals, as well as his revival of the British motion picture industry through his Hand Made Films company. The OBE is the level just above MBE.

But journalist Ray Connolly, who knew The Beatles, said Harrison would have been insulted at such an offer after McCartney receieved a knighthood three years previously.

«Whoever it was who decided to offer him the OBE and not the knighthood was extraordinarily insensitive,» he said.

«George would have felt insulted – and with very good reason.»

George Harrison died on 29 November 2001, aged 58.

Source: Huffington Post

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4 Responses

  1. Martin says:

    The Queen and the Royals have nothing to do with who chooses the honours list. It is the British government who does such things. Anyway, good on George for telling them to shove it. David Bowie also turned down a knighthood, and Charlie Watts (after the knighting of 'Sir' Mick Jagger) said that he (Watts) would never accept anything off Tony Blair….

  2. David Brailsford says:

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Unknown says:

    Honours committees are made up of senior civil servants (‘official members’) and people who are independent of government (‘independent members’). All honours committees have a majority of members who are independent

  4. Brian Fried says:

    Not surprising. Anthology has moments where it's clear George dislikes being pushed to the background by Paul — and has been like that since 1970, when he wanted attention as a solo artist. To get a lesser honour would have irked him, even if he wasn't in Paul's league at the time.

    What I mean by that last bit is that, if you look at both the eighties and nineties, George had done only a few rare appearances, preferring to be away from the public eye — and his biggest contribution to Britain was a film company who's output wasn't really enticing people to get to the UK. McCartney, by comparison, was active in a number of causes including vegetarianism (where he helped launch a frozen food company), did more charity events in recent years, had helped form LIPA, and was never really leaving anyone any doubt that he was a Brit and was proud to say that.

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