Sir Paul McCartney Honored, By Napoleon

Sir Paul McCartney (PatrickMcMullan.com via AP Images)

Well, sort of. It seems everyone’s favorite living Beatle (guitar division) is set to receive a prestigious Légion d’Honneur medal in Paris, this Saturday (September 8). The award is France’s highest public distinction, having been created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802.

Previous honorees include Clint Eastwood (big fans of Every Which Way But Loose, the French) and Liza Minelli.

Brilliantly, the medal itself has to be paid for by the honoree, so Sir Paul will have to pay around somewhere between 170 and 700 euros (£211 to $875, or thereabouts) to have his struck by a local jeweller.

According to some historians, Napoleon was insistant that this award, which replaced all civic honors after the French Revolution, was vital to the morale of his soldiers. He is quoted as saying: “You call these baubles, well, it is with baubles that men are led….Do you think that you would be able to make men fight by reasoning. Never. That is only good for the scholar in his study. The soldier needs glory, distinctions, and rewards.”

And when you look at the highly decorated career of Sir Paul, a man who has taken over the world, culturally if not militaristically you can sort of see what he means.

Fraser McAlpine

Fraser has been writing and broadcasting about music and popular culture for over 15 years, first at the Top of the Pops website, and most recently for the NME, Guardian and MSN. He also wrote BBC Radio 1's Chart Blog and reviews albums for BBC Radio 2.

He is Anglophenia's current resident Brit, blogging about British slang and running around the Mall taking snaps of the crowd at the Royal Wedding, as well as reigniting a childhood passion for classic Doctor Who and cramming as much music in as he can manage.

Fraser invites you to join him on Twitter: @csi_popmusic

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