Costello was awarded the O.B.E. in Queen Elizabeth II’s 2019 Birthday Honors List, which was publicly announced Friday. Academy Award-winning actor Olivia Colman and television adventurer Bear Grylls also received honors.
The 64-year-old Costello explained in a missive posted on his website how he was “happy to accept” the “very surprising” title, given how some of his music has taken aim at the political establishment.
“To be honest, I’m pretty tickled to receive this acknowledgment for my ‘Services To Music,’ as it confirms my long-held suspicion nobody really listens to the words in songs or the outcome might have been somewhat different,” he wrote.
Costello’s 1989 song “Tramp the Dirt Down,” for instance, imagines him dancing on the grave of the then-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.
Check it out here:
Costello, who last year was forced to cancel a number of tour dates following surgery after a cancer diagnosis, revealed in his letter that he’d initially planned to refuse the accolade.
He was convinced otherwise following a long chat with his mother, and by the fact that both his grandfathers fought in World War I.
“So, it is in memory of those two British Army soldiers and because my Mam told me to do it, that I can proudly accept this award,” he added.
Costello reserved his ding at Trump for the penultimate paragraph of the note:
It would be a lie to pretend that I was brought up to have a great sense of loyalty to the Crown, let alone notions of Empire. I used to think a change might come but when one considers the kind of mediocre entrepreneur who might be foisted upon us as a President, it’s enough to make the most hard-hearted “Republican” long for an ermine stole, a sceptre and an orb.