Paul McCartney decorated with France's highest award

PARIS Sat Sep 8, 2012 12:49pm EDT

French President Francois Hollande (L) speaks with Paul McCartney during a decoration ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris, September 8, 2012. Hollande decorated the former Beatle with a Legion of Honour award, France's highest public distinction which has been awarded to the likes of actor Clint Eastwood and singer Liza Minnelli. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer

French President Francois Hollande (L) speaks with Paul McCartney during a decoration ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris, September 8, 2012. Hollande decorated the former Beatle with a Legion of Honour award, France's highest public distinction which has been awarded to the likes of actor Clint Eastwood and singer Liza Minnelli.

Credit: Reuters/Philippe Wojazer

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PARIS (Reuters) - Former Beatle Paul McCartney received France's highest public distinction for his contribution to music on Saturday when President Francois Hollande made him an officer of the Legion of Honour in a short ceremony at the presidential palace.

Shortly after the private ceremony during which Hollande joked with McCartney he had preferred the Rolling Stones to the Beatles, the British rock star gave a thumbs up and tweeted his thanks to France.

Created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802, the Legion of Honour has three grades - chevalier, officer and commander. It carries social status but no money, and recipients have to buy their own medal from a licensed jeweler, with prices ranging from 169 to 700 euros ($210 to $880) for the highest rank.

McCartney, 70, one of the most influential songwriters in the history of popular music, follows in the footsteps of U.S. actors Clint Eastwood and Robert De Niro, and singers Liza Minnelli and Lenny Kravtiz, who have also been decorated with the Legion of Honour.

The musician has already been awarded a knighthood by Britain's Queen Elizabeth. He recently performed in front of the queen and tens of thousands of spectators at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.

He first rose to international fame with The Beatles, co-authoring songs such as "Yesterday", "A Hard Day's Night", "Hey Jude", "Let it be" alongside bandmate John Lennon.

He then went on to forge a solo career and formed the band Wings with his first wife Linda. He and Ringo Starr are the only surviving members of the Beatles following the deaths of Lennon and George Harrison.

(Reporting By John Irish; Editing by Sophie Hares)

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Comments (1)
TFarrell60 wrote:
John Irish: I detect a note of cynicism in your report. First, was important to note that the French President joked that he prefers the Rolling Stones? But ok, that’s an interesting lead. But Paul co-authoring his biggest songs with fellow band mate John Lennon? It is widely accepted that Paul wrote “Yesterday” (even admitted by John Lennon in multiple interviews), “Let it Be” and “Hey Jude” by himself, even though the official credit is given to “Lennon and McCartney.” Next, that Paul “Recently performed in front of the queen and tens of thousands of spectators at the opening ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games.” How about tens of millions watched worldwide? Are you really a reporter or did you just graduate from college, which is it?

Sep 08, 2012 1:47pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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