Ray Davies to Be Knighted
Queen Elizabeth II’s annual New Year Honours list was released today. Of the nearly 1,200 people who will be rewarded for their contributions to British society, one classic rocker made the cut: Ray Davies of the Kinks. Davies had been named a CBE — Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire — by the Queen in 2004.
“Initially I felt a mixture of surprise, humility, joy and a bit embarrassed but after thinking about it,” he said. “I accept this for my family and fans as well as everyone who has inspired me to write.”
Davies joins Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Elton John, Van Morrison, Cliff Richard, Tom Jones and Rod Stewart, who received his knighthood this summer, as other rock musicians to be so honored by the House of Windsor. Knighthoods were also awarded this year to tennis star Andy Murray, opera singer Bryn Terfel and Academy Award-winning actor Mark Rylance. Victoria Beckham of the Spice Girls was awarded an OBE — Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire — albeit for her work as a fashion designer.
The Beatles were the first rockers to be honored by the Queen when she named them Members of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 1965, which caused several previous honorees to return their medals in protest at the idea of a pop group receiving such an award. Four years later, John Lennon returned his to, as he wrote, “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.”
See the Kinks and Other Rockers in the Top 100 Rock Albums of the ’60s