Stop Making Rock And Roll Uncool Please

Jimmy Page should not be knighted   16-Nov-11

Stop Making Rock And Roll Uncool Please
Sir Jimmy? // CC // Dana Wullenwaber

News of Jimmy Page's potential knighthood started in the UK, and spread outwards across the globe. For any non-UK residents, a knighthood here essentially involves meeting the Queen, having a sword come dangerously close to your face, and then being known as "Sir Your Name Here" for the rest of your life.

Mr antiestablishment himself, Mick Jagger already has a knighthood, and now Conservative party minister, Louise Mensch has taken to Twitter to rally support for the knighthood of Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page:

“I’ve proposed Jimmy Page. Waiting to see if that finds favour with Honours Directorate. I hope so.”

There are two basic problems with this whole notion; first is the fact that a knighthood is not exactly synonymous with rock and roll. This is Jimmy Page, the man accused of being satanic, the man who was feared by the parents of 70s teenagers for rumours that he was in some bizzare cult.

The second problem is that the suggestion of Page's knighthood comes from none other than a member of Britain's mainstream right-wing party. For our American cousins, imagine if Sarah Palin suddenly put forward Nikki Sixx for the role of ambassador.

Her father is from a line of Catholic gentry, and she writes self professed "Chick Literature" for a living. Not that I have anything against Louise, her job, or even her policy (she is one of my favourite Tories, but I use the word 'favourite' very lightly... very lightly), but she is not a pillar of rock and roll iconography, no politician ever will be, not even Tony Blair and he was in a rock band.

As guitarists, I think we all view the 70s as somewhat of classic era for our music. Some will disagree (and please do), but I'd like to think that some of today's teenagers still think Led Zep and Hendrix are cool. If you suggest to them that Dizzie Rascal and Dappy will one day be Sir Dizzie and Sir Dappy (think I just inadvertently came up with an incredible name for a potential hip-hop duo), then they'd probably laugh at you.

My point is that sometimes things should remain the way they are, don't make our rock and roll stars knights. I don't want to go and see a reunion of Sir Led Zeppelin... maybe they'd cover Muse's 'Knights Of Cydonia'.

The position of Louise's husband (Peter Mensch) might be some saving grace in all of this, the man is Muse's manager, and has had previous connections to Jimmy Page. This makes everything just a little bit seedy though, one of the most powerful 'behind-the-scenes' men in rock music, might just well have had a hand in persuading his wife to put forward Jimmy Page for tea and cupcakes with the Queen.

Perhaps I'm just jealous, I will certainly never be knighted! We probably should take into account Jimmy's existing OBE (Order of the British Empire) for his charity work, which is admirable. There are many good charitable people who work hard all their lives and don't receive an OBE though, and there are many who have rejected the award because they don't want to be associated with the 'Empire' due to its awkward history.

Is Louise putting Jimmy forward for knighthood because of his charitable nature? I don't know, but it would seem that it might be a factor. This statement from Mensch doesn't make it any clearer:

“Clearly there is nobody more worthy of a knighthood, and I am glad to say I have gathered support from every major record label in the U.K.” 

Whatever your stance on all this, you can all picture Jimmy Page in your head; he's on stage in his early twenties, dragons on his trousers, wearing his Les Paul down low whilst rocking out the most incredible solo you've ever heard in your life. Theres a rumour going round that the night before he had an orgy in a bath tub full of baked beans.

That man should never be a Sir.


(Additional image courtesy of Creative Commons, Author - Dina Regine)

Rich Beech



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