OBE for hard-living rockers delighted at status quo


CONFIRMING THAT conformity comes with longevity, Status Quo’s ageing rockers Rick Parfitt and Francis Rossi have joined the establishment – accepting OBEs in today’s new year’s honours list.

Still rockin’ all over the world at 61 and 60 respectively, the men behind one of Britain’s most successful, and hard-living, bands for the past four decades have been recognised for services to music and to charity.

Yesterday, abandoning any rock’n’roll pretensions, they admitted they were absolutely delighted. “Us, of all people!” said Rossi, lead singer. “I’m not sure that we deserve it, but f*** it, I’m so made up it’s ridiculous. You hear about people refusing them because it’s not rock’n’roll, but that’s a dickhead approach. My partner [Parfitt] is even more excited about it – he’s probably blubbing. You start off rebellious, a teenager in a band, but you end up being part of the establishment.”

After more than 40 years, 22 British top 10 singles, 32 album hits and over 118 million record sales worldwide, the band that bequeathed to the nation a distinctive, hernia-inducing, thumbs-in-belt dance, are still lauded as Britain’s hardest working band, playing to 250,000 fans at 27 arenas in 2009 alone. They have also raised millions for charity.

Given decades of notoriously wild living, Parfitt doubted he could be a suitable candidate for an honour. “I’d kind of given up hoping. Particularly with my wild past – if they’d reviewed some of my old newspaper cuttings . . .” said the lead guitarist and singer, who has survived a quadruple heart bypass and a cancer scare.

Elsewhere in the honours list there was a knighthood for Patrick Stewart (69), the actor famous for his roles in Star Trekwho, most recently, has been on stage with the RSC as Hamlet’s father, Claudius. Nicholas Hytner, the National Theatre’s director, is also knighted for services to drama, including his bringing to life new works by Alan Bennett, such as The History Boys, as well as spawning West End hits such as War Horse.

Scottish rugby international turned Lions coach Ian McGeechan (63) was also knighted, and the 2009 Formula One champion Jenson Button (29) has been awarded an MBE.

Elsewhere in sport, Beth Tweddle, Britain’s most successful gymnast, received an MBE, and former England football captain Jimmy Armfield gained a CBE for his community work.

The co-founders and chefs of the Michelin-starred River Cafe restaurant, in west London, Rose Gray and Ruth Rogers, have received MBEs for their services to the hospitality industry.

– ( Guardianservice)