Brian May Explains Queen Drummer Roger Taylor’s British Honor Achievement
For his services to music, Queen drummer Roger Taylor was recently appointed OBE, or Officer of the Order of the British Empire, in the 2020 New Year Honours list granted by the British monarchy. Helping to shed some light on that achievement, Queen guitarist Brian May — an order of chivalry recipient himself — took to social media last week (Dec. 28) to fill fans in on Taylor's prestigious award.
Those familiar with referring to the former Beatles bassist and singer as "Sir" Paul McCartney might have a decent idea of the types of awards within the British honors system. Somewhat similar to the Presidential Medal of Freedom in the United States — often awarded to musicians for their service to the country — top musicians born in the United Kingdom may find themselves bestowed with an order of merit from the Crown.
In an Instagram post congratulating Taylor, the Queen guitarist explains that the "letters stand for 'Order of the British Empire' — a traditional honour presented to people who have achieved worthy things in the eyes of... well, the British Monarchy, under advice. It's the beginning of a whole spectrum of honours. Next one up is the MBE — 'Member of the British Empire' — and above that is the CBE — 'Commander of the British Empire.' The next level of the game is a KBE — a Knighthood — which entitles the recipient to be known as 'Sir.'"
May continues, "I received a CBE some years ago. It doesn't change your life very much apart from giving you some letters to put after your name in correspondence! The award which really moves you to a different place in Society is when they make you a Lord - which entitles you (or requires you) to sit in the House of Lords, participating in the passing of British laws and policies." Read the rest of the primer toward the bottom of this post.
As reported by Metro, fellow musicians Elton John (already a CBE) and Olivia Newton-John joined Taylor on the 2020 New Year Honours list. More than 1,000 others were also recognized, as the BBC pointed out.
This month, it emerged that Queen still dominated the rock charts in 2019. Earlier this year, Taylor combatted some bad reviews of the band's recent biopic, Bohemian Rhapsody. Before that, the group blocked President Donald Trump from using its iconic song "We Will Rock You" at his campaign rallies.
See Queen in the Top 70 Hard Rock + Metal Albums of the 1970s