France to award Paul McCartney Legion of Honour

PARIS Mon Sep 3, 2012 2:30pm EDT

Former Beatle Paul McCartney watches the athletics events during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium August 4, 2012. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Former Beatle Paul McCartney watches the athletics events during the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Olympic Stadium August 4, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach

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PARIS (Reuters) - French President Francois Hollande is scheduled to decorate former Beatle Paul McCartney with a Legion of Honour award, the president's office told Reuters on Monday.

In the ceremony scheduled for September 8, McCartney will be made an officer of the Legion of Honour, France's highest public distinction which has been awarded to the likes of actor Clint Eastwood and singer Liza Minnelli.

No one at McCartney's office was available for comment.

Created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, and symbolized by a red lapel thread, the Legion of Honour has three grades, Chevalier, Officer and Commander.

The honour carries social status but no money, and recipients have to buy their own medal from a licensed jeweler, with prices ranging from 169 euros to 700 euros ($210 to $880) for the highest rank.

McCartney, 70, is the most influential songwriter in the history of popular music. He has already been awarded a knighthood by Britain's Queen Elizabeth, whom he recently serenaded along with tens of thousands of spectators at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

He first rose to international fame with The Beatles, co-authoring songs such as "Yesterday" and "Hard Day's Night" alongside bandmate John Lennon, then went on to forge a solo career, forming the band Wings with his first wife Linda.

He and Ringo Starr are the only remaining members of The Beatles.

($1 = 0.7933 euros)

(Reporting By Vicky Buffery and Elizabeth Pineau, editing by Paul Casciato)

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