Blur and Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn has been made an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s New Year Honours list, which recognises British citizens for their achievements in public life and service to the United Kingdom.
47-year-old Albarn receives an OBE for his services to music. The honour tops a good year for the hyper-productive singer-songwriter, composer and producer, with 2015 marking the successful return of Blur, which released The Magic Whip -- its eighth studio album and first in over a decade -- in April.
The reunited band also embarked on a well-received world tour to accompany the album, including dates at New York’s Madison Square Garden and Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl, as well as headlining the Isle of Wight Festival and London’s Hyde Park.
The past year also saw Albarn collaborate with Moira Buffini and Rufus Norris on Wonder.land, a new musical based on Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, which had its premiere at the Manchester International Festival and is currently on show at London’s National Theatre.
Other music figures to be honoured in the New Year list include pioneering jungle and drum and bass DJ and producer Goldie, real name Clifford Price, who received an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to music and young people in recognition of his charity work.
Meanwhile, David Joseph, chair and CEO of Universal Music U.K. and Ireland, received the honour of Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to the British music industry.
A total of 1,196 people are on the New Year Honours list, with actors Idris Elba and Imelda Staunton, screenwriter Peter Morgan and sports stars AP McCoy and Denis Law among the famous names recognised. While they inevitably dominate the headlines, the vast majority of recipients are people recognised for outstanding work that they have done in their local community.