Mick Jagger, the rock’n’roll rebel and former scourge of the British establishment, said Saturday he was delighted with his latest accolade — a knighthood for his services to music. The 58-year-old artist, who was the bad boy of rock in the 1960s and 1970s, was one of several artists to win honors announced Saturday.
The Rolling Stones singer will be officially known as Sir Michael Philip Jagger after he is formally invested with the title at a knighthood ceremony expected to take place later in the year. “I don’t think it will change me that much,” said Jagger, whose band is still performing 40 years after it was formed. “I don’t see any great changes in friends who have had similar things happen to them.”
Elton John was knighted in 1997, and Paul McCartney was knighted in 1996 for his contribution to British music and society, including the charitable and educational causes he supports. They were honored despite the fact that John has admitted using cocaine in the past and McCartney has acknowledged using marijuana.
The knighthood for Jagger, who has a drug conviction and a reputation as a womanizer, could reopen the debate about who is suitable for the queen’s honors list, even though the award comes long after the Stones helped lead the anti-establishment movements of the 1960s and 70s. However, few people would deny that Jagger and the Stones have been among the country’s most valuable musical exports for 40 years.
The government chooses most of the honors that Queen Elizabeth II bestows twice a year. Saturday’s honors were announced to coincide with her officially recognized birthday. The queen’s real birthday is April 21, but it is officially celebrated on a Saturday in June with an ornate parade, the Trooping of the Color. Also on Saturday’s list of honorees were painter Peter Blake and directors Trevor Nunn and Jonathan Miller. Playwright Harold Pinter received the prestigious companion of honor award.
Jagger, who is preparing for a U.S. fall tour with the Rolling Stones, said his 4-year-old son Gabriel was a bit confused about the knighthood. He said Gabriel told his class that his father was going to be knighted, and when the teacher asked, “What does that mean?” Gabriel said: “Well, he goes to the castle to see the king and gets to be a knight, and, from then on, gets to wear armor all the time.”
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