The Beatles' George Harrison refused OBE before his death, say reports

Guitarist snubbed honour in 1999

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The Beatles guitarist George Harrison refused an OBE before his death, it has been revealed.

The Mail On Sunday says that documents they obtained from the Cabinet Office via the Freedom Of Information Act show that Harrison, who passed away in 2001, turned down the chance to be included in the New Year's Honours List in 2000.

The OBE was recommended by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport who said that Harrison should be recognised for his contribution to the music industry. The citation read: "He was a member of a band that many people would say is the best thing that Britain has ever produced, and possibly the best in the world, The Beatles."

However, a journalist acquaintance of The Beatles named Ray Connolly says that Harrison could have seen the offer as an insult as it was a lesser accolade than the knighthood that his bandmate Paul McCartney received in 1997. "Whoever it was who decided to offer him the OBE and not the knighthood was extraordinarily insensitive," said Connolly. "George would have felt insulted - and with very good reason."

Earlier this month, a collection of The Beatles' rarities and bootlegs were released exclusively through iTunes. The 59 tracks from 1963 were released by the band's label in an effort to beat the bootleggers and stop the songs falling out of copyright and becoming accessible to a rival record label.


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