When Eric Clapton was made Commander of the Order of the British Empire last month, he joined an elite group of British rockers, including Sting, Ray Davies and David Gilmour, who have received the royal honor. Generally awarded to scientists, civil servants and journalists, the CBE is one step below knight, which allows Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger and Elton John to use “Sir” in front of their names.
Considered the ultimate stamps of approval by high society, these citations haven’t always been received well in the rock world. When Jagger was knighted last year, Keith Richards said he reacted with “cold, cold rage,” and, if offered a knighthood, he would “tell them where they could put it.” David Bowie refused his CBE in 2000. Following the ceremony, Clapton said, “As a kid, I would not have been able to accept this. I was against the establishment. Now I have grown up — I really think it is an important thing to be able to set an example of some kind.”
The betting experts at William Hill Bookmakers, a British firm that puts odds on everything from horse races to U.S. presidential elections, predict which rock stars are likely to follow in the footsteps of Sir Mick and Commander Clapton in the next decade.
Odds: 4 to 6
“He’s proved himself at the highest level of rock music over a good long period,” says firm spokesman Graham Sharpe.
Odds: even money
“Frankly, we were amazed he didn’t have a CBE or higher honor already.”
2 to 1
“He’s conducted himself in a dignified manner throughout the Stones’ career.”
Odds: 4 to 1
“He’s suggesting he’s going to give all future royalties to charity. But there are a few black marks.”
Odds: 8 to 1
“He hasn’t always been pro-government. And his Irish background could well not help his chances.”
John Lydon (a.k.a. Johnny Rotten)
Odds: 50 to 1
“Not a chance!”