The Beatles’ guitarist George Harrison turned down an OBE before his death, it has been revealed.
According to the Mail on Sunday, Cabinet Office papers obtained under the Freedom of Information Act disclose that Harrison turned down the “insensitive” offer of an OBE – after Paul McCartney was awarded a knighthood.
Harrison, who passed away in 2001, rejected the chance to be included in the New Year's Honours List in 2000.
The OBE was recommended by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, to acknowledge Harrison’s significant contribution to the music industry.
The citation read: “He was a member of a band that many people would say is the best thing that Britain has ever produced, and possibly the best in the world, The Beatles.”
However, journalist Ray Connolly, who knew The Beatles, said Harrison would have viewed the offer of an OBE as a snub in comparison to McCartney’s 1997 knighthood.
“Whoever it was who decided to offer him the OBE and not the knighthood was extraordinarily insensitive,” he said. “George would have felt insulted – and with very good reason.”
Harrison, along with the rest of The Beatles, was awarded an MBE in 1965, but John Lennon later sent his back as a peace protest.
Musicians pick their favourite albums of 2013
Musicians pick their favourite albums of 2013
1/15 Felix White from The Maccabees chose 'More Light' by Primal Scream
I love that Primal Scream can write a song like 'It’s Alright, It’s OK' on their 10th album. Its motif - that it’s forgivable to make mistakes - I find genuinely reassuring, like the only teacher at school you like taking you aside and telling you something that you’ll remember forever. 'Walking with the Beast' is one of the best things they've ever done. Great album sleeve too.
2/15 Dan Smith from Bastille chose 'Pure Heroine' by Lorde
I think Lorde employs some of the most engaging, witty and interesting lyrics of the year, but they’re totally backed up by good songwriting and subtly brilliant hooks. Joel Little’s production is spacious when it needs to be but lush and complex at points as well, complementing the album’s laconic feel. Even though it’s really obvious to mention her age, it’s undeniably impressive to hear what she’s achieved and exciting to imagine what she might come up with next.
3/15 Anna Calvi chose 'Push the Sky Away' by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
There’s a hymnal quality to this record, it’s hypnotic and calm in a way that seems incredibly new for the Bad Seeds. Cave's lyrics seem like streams of consciousness, the sort of stories you might imagine as you drift into sleep. I love the production of this record too, it sounds like an amazing band, in a room, playing beautiful music together. Which is what it is.
4/15 Yannis Philippakis from Foals chose 'Demos' by Jai Paul
My album of the year is the collection of songs by Jai Paul that surfaced online earlier this year. The confusion surrounding the release does nothing to diminish the power and vision of the music. It sounds simultaneously exotic and British, timeless and futuristic. His voice and production skills are inimitable and each track is a pop gem.
5/15 Conor O’Brien from Villagers chose 'The Double EP: A Sea of Split Peas' by Courtney Barnett
This is music which is so completely unpretentious. It's recorded perfectly and the band really adds to the songs. Courtney opened up for us on our last Australian tour and it’s been a real pleasure to watch her slowly come to the attention of the world and the universe and beyond.
6/15 Dan Reynolds from Imagine Dragons chose 'Lonerism' by Tame Impala
Not only is this album incredible sonically and melodically, but it also is just a glimpse at how amazing Tame Impala’s live show is. The band and I went and saw them recently and were blown away. They are wonderful dudes as well which is a plus. My close second place goes to James Blake’s 'Overgrown'. His voice is one of the best of this generation in my opinion.
7/15 Antony Hegarty from Antony and the Johnsons chose 'Disquiet' by Paul Corley
This environmental record has worn its way into my heart. A series of lilting piano melodies move amorphously through subtle soundscapes. It’s the kind of thing I can leave on all afternoon, it settles around me like a mist. It’s just beautiful; a balm for the mind.
8/15 Ed Harcourt chose 'Modern Vampires Of The City' by Vampire Weekend
I know this is an obvious choice and Ezra Koenig sometimes writes lyrics that can seem a little too clever, but here they’re witty and poetic; the production is so inventive and modern and it seems like they've shaken off the Paul Simon obsession and come into their own. A truly lovely record.
9/15 Ben Little from Wild Beasts chose 'Yeezus' by Kanye West
Initially I was a little confused by the rawness and sparseness but eventually really grew to appreciate the concept of the record, a man wanting to be the controller rather than the controlled. Clearly not intended as background music but instead demanding full attention, Yeezus is full of confrontation, ignorant wit and balls-out confidence.
10/15 Frank Turner chose 'By The Lamplight' by Larry and His Flask
I spent the end of last year and the start of this touring with this band around the release of this album but I genuinely think it’s a thing of wonder. It captures the sheer insanity, the mad energy rush, of their seven-piece punk-bluegrass live show, but also lets the subtlety of their songwriting and harmonies come to the fore. 'The Battle for Clear Sight' is the song of the year for me by some distance.
11/15 Ghostpoet chose 'Pull My Hair Back' by Jessy Lanza
I liked a lot of albums this year. The album I enjoyed listening to the most would probably be this one. I’m in love with her voice, the production throughout and it's on [record label] Hyperdub. What’s not to love?
12/15 Rufus Wainwright chose 'Sing Me The Songs: Celebrating The Works of Kate McGarrigle'
Not just because I’m biased (Kate McGarrigle was my mother) but also because I believe these are some of the best songs ever written. Performances by Norah Jones, Linda Thompson and Antony Hegarty to name but a few make this collection a singer’s paradise.
13/15 Miles Kane chose 'Victim Of Love' by Charles Bradley
This album has been the soundtrack of my year; travelling around on tour and in the dressing room. The song 'Love Bug Blues' when played loud always get me in the mood to go out on stage and have it. A great soul voice and lyrics that come from the heart - you just can’t beat it.
14/15 Amir Amor from Rudimental chose 'Tribute' by John Newman
It’s refreshing to see someone carrying the torch for Northern Soul, and it’s not style over substance here. He has written some truly powerful music and has the voice of an old soul. It’s definitely one of my favourite records. He’s come a long way since we met him in a pub a few years back.
15/15 Jan Scott Wilkinson from British Sea Power chose 'Pearl Mystic' by Hookworms
They remind me a little of The Jesus and Mary Chain and Velvet Underground which is nice but it does'’t sound like it's been made from a clever list of influences or belongs in the past - it just sounds like they're having a wonderful time playing. When I hear it, I think, 'blimey, this is pretty groovy for Leeds', then feel slightly jealous and wish I could join in the fun.