Elton John, Olivia Newton-John and Billy Ocean among Queen's New Year's Honours list

27 December 2019, 22:30 | Updated: 14 October 2020, 22:21

Billy Ocean, Olivia Newton-John, Elton John and Roger Taylor
Billy Ocean, Olivia Newton-John, Elton John and Roger Taylor. Picture: Getty

By Tom Eames

Olivia Newton-John has been named a Dame in Her Majesty The Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.

The British-born Australian singer was awarded in recognition of her services to charity, cancer research and to entertainment.

The Grease icon was born in Cambridge, before her family emigrated to Australia when she was six. In recent years, she has been a leading cancer charity advocate, having battled the condition herself.

Sir Elton John has been made an Order of the Companions of Honour for services to music and charity.

What's the difference between a CBE, MBE and OBE?

The rare order is limited to only 65 people at a time, and Elton joins the likes of Dame Maggie Smith, Sir David Attenborough and Sir Paul McCartney as other living people with the high honour.

Queen drummer Roger Taylor has been named an OBE, along with Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody.

Elton and Olivia in 1978
Elton and Olivia in 1978. Picture: Getty

Taylor joins his bandmate Brian May, who was previously given an CBE, while Freddie Mercury was never recognised during his lifetime.

Billy Ocean - best known for his 1980s hits such as 'When the Going Gets Tough' and 'Caribbean Queen' - has been awarded an MBE, as has Searchers member Mike Pender.

Meanwhile, Skyfall director Sam Mendes has been given a Knighthood, and there are also honours for chef Ainsley Harriott, EastEnders actor Rudolph Walker, cricketer Ben Stokes, Bake Off star Nadiya Hussain and naturalist Steve Backshall.