Van Morrison joined an elite group of musicians Friday, one that includes Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney and Bono. The Belfast-born singer-songwriter was awarded an honorary knighthood by Britain’s Queen Elizabeth during her annual Birthday Honours celebration. The newly-titled Sir George Ivan Morrison was selected to receive the highest honor for an individual in the United Kingdom for his “services to the music industry and to tourism in Northern Ireland.”
“Throughout my career I have always preferred to let my music speak for me, and it is a huge honor to now have that body of work recognized in this way,” Morrison said in a statement responding to the news, the BBC reports.
On June 18th, Morrison is also scheduled to receive the Johnny Mercer Award at the Songwriters Hall of Fame Gala in New York City. The two new distinctions join many others for the 69-year-old musician, who has also won six Grammys, a Brit Award, and an induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
In March, Morrison released Duets: Re-Working the Catalogue, an album that revisits deep cuts from albums spanning the course of his career with help from the likes of Steve Winwood, Bobby Womack and Mavis Staples. In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, he joked about the hardship of dealing with the vast output of his prolific creative life. “I didn’t know I was going to have this body of work,” he said. “It was probably the Nineties when it started to become unmanageable [laughs]. It’s even more unmanageable now. But the more you create, the more you have to manage later on. Because I’m the only one who knows what it is.”