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David Bowie dead: The time the legend turned down a CBE

The singer declined the Queen's offer of a CBE, saying "I seriously don't know what it's for"

Siobhan Fenton
Monday 11 January 2016 10:23 GMT
Golden years: David Bowie
Golden years: David Bowie (Getty)

David Bowie, who has died at the age of 69, displayed his characteristic rebellious streak when he twice refused honours from the Queen during his career.

In 2000, the pop star turned down the offer of a CBE, or Commander of the Order of the British Empire title, which the Queen awards to those who have made “a distinguished, innovative contribution to any area” of British life.

Whilst many would have been flattered by the honour, Bowie snubbed the award, explaining at the time: “I seriously don’t know what it’s for.”

In 2003, the musician was also offered a knighthood in recognition of “having a major contribution” to British life which was “inspirational and significant… over a long period of time.” He again refused the honour.

The musician was known for challenging social conventions throughout his career, through his colourful lyrics and bold aesthetics, including his alter-ego Ziggy Stardust. He first shot to attention with the release of Space Oddity in 1969. His maverick and flamboyant style soon came to be defining characteristics of the glam rock period.

He is regarded as one of the most influential men in rock and won two Grammy awards as well as having nine albums go platinum in the UK.

David Bowie Dead

It was confirmed this morning that he had died aged 69 following an 18-month-long battle with cancer.

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