"I am happy to accept this very surprising honour"
Elvis Costello has been awarded an O.B.E for “services to music” in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
The award, which will recognise Costello as an “Officer of the Order of the British Empire”, was announced last night (June 7) with Costello later responding to the news in a blog post announcement on his website.
“I am happy to accept this very surprising honour”, Costello said, adding: “To be honest, I’m pretty tickled to receive this acknowledgement for my ‘Services To Music’, as it confirms my long held suspicion nobody really listens to the words in songs or the outcome might have been somewhat different.”
Costello went on to reveal how he called his mother after receiving the news, asking her for advice about whether to accept the award or not.
Costello said: “I thought for a while, then folded the document and slept on the news until the morning when I could place a call to England and speak to my mother, Lillian MacManus.
“Lillian is almost the same age as Her Majesty, so I regard myself as immensely fortunate that I am still able to seek her counsel. She suffered a severe stroke last year, just two days before my 64th birthday, but thanks to the prompt attention of an incredible NHS specialist ward and the sustained dedication and kindness of her home care team, she has recovered her wits and words to a truly remarkable degree.
“I began my call by telling my Mam that the Prime Minister, Mrs. May, had put my name forward for an O.B.E. ‘But she’s rubbish,’ Lillian cut in before I could complete the news. Well, that aside, I said, ‘Of course, I won’t be accepting the award.’ I didn’t get much further with that statement either. I listened carefully to my mother’s argument that if something is deserved then one must be gracious in acceptance.
“So, as a good lad, who likes to do what will make his Mam most proud, I knew that I must put old doubts and enmities aside and muster what little grace I possess…Even so, it is hard to receive anything named for the ‘British Empire’, and all that term embodies, without a pause for reflection.”
Costello released a new album, ‘Look Now’ last October. It was the first record the new-wave icon has made with the Imposters since the 2008 release, ‘Momofuku’.
It also marked Costello’s first album since 2013’s ‘Wise Up Ghost’, his collaboration with The Roots. Two of the songs on his new album were co-written with Burt Bacharach.
Costello, who had been teasing the album for a while, said last year that he felt it was time to return to the studio whilst on the ‘Imperial Bedroom & Other Chambers’ US tour last summer.
Meanwhile, other musicians honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List included frontman of The Undertones Fergal Sharkey, who received an OBE.
MIA, Anna Meredith and Andrew Roachford all received MBEs, whilst songwriter Mitch Murray received a CBE.
Speaking about the award, Roachford told the Press Association: “To be recognised for the work you’re doing, which is also your passion, from such a high level, is indeed an honour.”