The Sword in the Rock
In medieval times, prior to someone becoming a knight, he had to take a bath the night before. Then they had to kneel at an altar upon which their weapons were arrayed all night long. The actual tapping with a sword—not on the shoulders back then as much as it was to the neck, presumably indicating that the person performing the ceremony could stick it to the person becoming the knight—is called an accolade.
On March 11, 1997, 25 years ago, Paul McCartney received an accolade, as he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth.
On May 24, 2003, McCartney played in Red Square. According to the BBC’s reporting of that day in Sir Paul’s history:
“Hours before the event, McCartney and his wife Heather took tea in the Kremlin with President Putin.
“Mr. Putin, who was a KGB agent when the Fab Four topped the charts around the world, admitted to his guest that The Beatles had been ‘a breath of fresh air’ during Soviet times.
“He said Beatles music ‘was considered propaganda of an alien ideology.’
“Mr. Putin said that while Beatles’ music was not banned by the Communist regime, ‘the fact that you were not allowed to play in Red Square in the 1980s says a lot.’
“McCartney said he gave President Putin a private performance of The Beatles’ song ‘Let It Be.’”