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Beatles legend Ringo Starr gets French honour

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Beatles legend Ringo Starr gets French honour
Beatles legend Ringo Starr, after being made a Commander of France's Order of Arts and Letters, in a ceremony in Monaco on September 24th. .Photo: Valery Hache/AFP
13:18 CEST+02:00
Ringo Starr, former drummer for The Beatles, this week became the latest in a series of English-speaking icons from the world of art and culture to be appointed a Commander of France's Order of Arts and Letters, in a ceremony in Monaco.

Starr was handed the award by Hugues Moret, French ambassador to Monaco, where an exhibition featuring two of the rock star's paintings is taking place.

He joins a club that already features Chinese film director Wong Kar Wai, Scottish actor Sean Connery, singer David Bowie and the late Irish poet Seamus Heaney.

The award ceremony took place in front of the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco, which is holding an exhibition that showcases the hidden passion for art of various famous people including Starr, Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan.

"I'm a drummer, but I can do other things. Like painting, living, breathing," the 73-year-old quipped while posing for photos in front of the museum, which coincidentally has on display an old, bright yellow submarine.

Starr, who was born Richard Starkey in Liverpool in 1940, accepted the award without any controversy on Tuesday, in contrast to the recent debacle surrounding a similar honour for his 1960s peer, American folk legend Bob Dylan.

Back in May, The Local reported how the man in charge of deciding who gets the Legion d'Honneur, France's highest award, had turned his nose up at the prospect of including Dylan in the exclusive club.

According to reports, Jean-Louis Georgelin, a French army general and Great Chancellor of the Légion d’honneur, had rejected the folk-singer's nomination on account of Dylan's weed smoking and opposition to the Vietnam war.

A month later, however, the awards committee had changed its tune, confirming that Dylan would indeed by given the honour, after reviewing he "chaotic life and lyrics of an exceptional artist who is recognized in his own country and throughout the world as a major singer and a great poet,” Georgelin told Le Monde.

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