On this day: Queen Elizabeth honours The Beatles 34



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On October 26, 1965 – exactly 50 years ago – The Beatles were awarded MBEs

The band was on set filming their second film, Help!, when their manager Brian Epstein showed up. “I’ve got some news for you – the Prime Minister and the Queen have awarded you an MBE”

“What’s that?” responded Paul.
“It’s a medal!”

As Ringo later recounted in The Beatles Anthology: “We all thought it was really thrilling: We’re going to meet the Queen and she’s going to give us a badge!”

“I thought: This is cool!

Paul, George and Ringo were all quite bemused and honoured at the strange idea of a rock band getting the royal treatment. The famously rebellious John Lennon, however, couldn’t shake the idea that he’d somehow sold out by accepting.

Brian persuaded him on the grounds that “if you don’t accept, nobody will know you rejected it”.

“I was embarrassed”, said John.”It was hypocritical of me to accept it, but I’m glad, really, that I did – because it meant that four years later I could use it to make a gesture”.

In 1969, John returned his medal to Buckingham Palace with the following letter:

Your Majesty,

I am returning this M.B.E. in protest against Britain’s involvement in the Nigeria-Biafra thing, against our support of America in Vietnam and against [my latest record] Cold Turkey slipping down the charts.

With love, John Lennon

Take a trip down memory lane below below, and tell us: what’s your favourite Beatles memory? 

Starts at 60 Writers

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  1. I loved the Beatles, John was my favourite.

    6 REPLY
  2. Imagine a world without the Beatles 🙂 our generation sure would have missed them. I still play their songs today and so does my son

    2 REPLY
    • Oh Libbi it was the best most exciting time to be a young person. I loved them so much.i thought John was one of the very few musicians. Who actually got even better and grew. I loved the music he did after the Beatles. The World was robbed of such a great talent

  3. A band above all bands, John was always vocal but they all played a big part in the bands existence. There’s never been another to overshadow them.

  4. John Lennon was definitely the number one Beatle. There was much more to the man than pop music. Did a popular group deserve an MBE? Well, normally I would say no, but thinking about the effect they had on music and the whole 60’s culture I would say they probably did. John was a rebel at heart and his displeasure didn’t surprise me.

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