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Paul McCartney Awarded French Legion of Honour

Presented with France's highest award for his contribution to music

France's president Francois Hollande shakes hands with Sir Paul McCartney after awarding him as officer of the Legion d'Honneur, the French hightest award on September 8, 2012 in Paris.
PHILIPPE WOJAZER/AFP/Getty
September 8, 2012 2:30 PM ET

Paul McCartney became an officer of France's Legion of Honour on Saturday, the Guardian reports. In a private ceremony at the Élysée Palace in Paris, French president Francois Hollande presented the former Beatle with the award in appreciation for his contribution to music.

"It is such an honor to be awarded this," McCartney said. Hollande joked that he preferred the Beatles to the Rolling Stones, and McCartney over bandmate John Lennon.

While the Legion of Honor, France's highest public decoration, is usually reserved for French nationals who have served the country in a military or civil capacity, several other international entertainers, including Liza Minnelli, Lenny Kravitz, Laurence Olivier and Miles Davis have received the award.

The Liverpool-born singer and songwriter is no stranger to elite national honors. As a member of the Beatles, McCartney was presented with a Member of the British Empire medal in 1965; In 1997, he received a knighthood from Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. 

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