Sir Elton John and Dame Olivia Newton-John are among several stars to receive the New Year Honours for 2020, which were announced today (Dec. 27).
Each year, the British honors system recognizes 1,097 new members by designating orders of chivalry, according to Deadline. John, who received his knighthood (hence his “Sir” title and “CBE” post-nominal letters) in 1998 from Queen Elizabeth II, was upgraded to Companion of Honour for his contributions to music and charity. His full name is now Sir Elton Hercules John, CH, CBE, but he can choose to use the new post-nominal letters “CH”, according to Metro UK.
Metro UK also reported that the Order of the Companions of Honor only allows 65 members total, and the Rocketman biopic inspiration clocks in as the 62nd member. Sir Paul McCartney is also part of this exclusive organization.
According to The Guardian, John received the highest acknowledgment out of any industry-specific household name recognized.
Additionally, Newton-John received her damehood for “her services to charity, cancer research and entertainment,” according to Metro UK. The 71-year-old Grease star is currently battling breast cancer for the third time in her life and started the Olivia Newton-John Cancer and Wellness Centre in Melbourne, Australia back in 2008.
“I am extremely excited, honoured and grateful beyond words to be included with such an esteemed group of women who have received this distinguished award before me,” said the British-born Australian singer-actress. “As a girl born in Cambridge, I am very proud of my British ancestry and so appreciative to be recognised in this way by the United Kingdom.”
Her new full name is Dame Olivia Newton-John, AC, DBE, but the post-nominal letters “AC” stem from the Companion of the Order of Australia, which she was awarded in June 2019.
Others recognized for their musical efforts by the New Year Honours list include Queen’s drummer Roger Taylor (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire — OBE), Billy Ocean (OBE), Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody (OBE) and Peter Saville (Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire — CBE), who was the designer of the album artwork for Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures.