Home Music Music Lists

The Queen’s Next Rock Royalty?

We ponder the chances of Thom Yorke, Morrissey, Damon Albarn and more accepting a knighthood

bowie knight


The British government has released a list of 277 dead people – including notable actors, writers, musicians, scientists and politicians – who had rejected the chance to become knights and dames between 1951 and 1999. The list features several major cultural figures such as Aldous Huxley, C.S. Lewis, Alfred Hitchcock, Roald Dahl. David Bowie, still very much alive, declined in 2000, saying that "I seriously don't know what it's for."

Though Bowie refused knighthood, many of his rock star peers, such as Elton John, Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney, have been knighted by the Queen of England. (John Lennon was as well, but eventually returned the honor in 1969 in protest against his country's involvement in violence and war.)

A new generation of British rock icons are likely to be considered as future knights and dames in the coming years. Here are our guesses as to whether or not these artists will accept or decline a title from the Order of the British Empire.

– By Matthew Perpetua

thom yorke

Shirlaine Forrest/WireImage

Thom Yorke

The Radiohead frontman has become increasingly venomous in his lyrical assault on the rich and powerful in Britain and in the Western world in general, so there is very little chance that he would accept a knighthood. That said, "Sir Thom Yorke" has a great ring to it.

noel and liam gallagher

Morena Brengola/Getty Images

Liam and Noel Gallagher

Oasis' Liam and Noel Gallagher have always been glory hounds, so odds are even that they would both happily accept a knighthood. We just hope that if this ever happens, it is only one title, and they would be forced to share it.

jarvis cocker

Samir Hussein/Getty Images

Jarvis Cocker

Pulp's Jarvis Cocker made his name poking fun at the foibles of the rich and privileged, so there's some doubt that he would embrace official recognition from the Royals. Nevertheless, it's pretty easy to imagine that he would take the title and have a bit of self-deprecating fun with it.

damon albarn

Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Damon Albarn

Though Blur and Gorillaz leader Damon Albarn has taken a very critical view of the British government over the years, there's a very good chance that he would accept a knighthood, even if he would probably end up making light of it.

pete doherty

Europa Press/Europa Press via Getty Images

Pete Doherty

There's very little chance that the Order of the British Empire would ever wish to honor Doherty, a man more notorious for his substance abuse issues and run-ins with the law than his actual music with the Libertines and Babyshambles, but if it were to happen, we just cross our fingers that the inevitably hilarious ceremony would be televised.


Kevin Mazur/WireImage


Adele is a bit young to be awarded the title of Dame, but it seems inevitable, doesn't it? At the rate she's going, she may just end up getting adopted into the Royal Family by the time she's 26.

robbie williams

Dave M Benett/Getty Images

Robbie Williams

Robbie Williams has never made much of a dent in the U.S. charts, but he's a Justin Timberlake-level pop icon in Britain. He will almost certainly get offered a knighthood down the line, and would probably accept it with great enthusiasm.

lily allen

Eric Ryan/Getty Images

Lily Allen

Lily Allen is probably just as amused by the idea of "Dame Lily Allen" as we are. Which is to say, if she is ever offered the honor, she'd probably take it and spend the rest of her life making witty remarks about it.

victoria beckham

Dave M Benett/Getty Images

Victoria Beckham

Former Spice Girl and current tabloid staple Victoria Beckham probably isn't quite respected enough as an artist to be offered Dame status, but that won't stop her from behaving as if she already has the honor.

keith flint

Patrick Ford/Redferns

Keith Flint

There is pretty much zero chance that the Prodigy's Keith Flint will ever be offered a knighthood, but we can dream, right?