Sir Paul McCartney has received an honorary Doctor of Music degree from the prestigious US university Yale.

The former Beatle is an incomparable songwriter and has given a fresh sound to "rock, roll, rhythm and blues", said the university's president Richard Levin at Monday's ceremony.

"Here, there and everywhere, you have pushed the boundaries of the familiar to create new classics," he said at the Connecticut ceremony, at which British astronomer Martin Rees was among those given an honorary degree.

"From the energy of I Want to Hold Your Hand to the melancholy of Yesterday, to the spirituality of Let It Be, you have played every chord, touched every emotion," Mr Levin added.

"We admire your musical genius and your generous support of worthy causes."

The 65-year-old did not make a speech at the Commencement ceremony, during which 3,117 students received their degrees.

Former British prime minister Tony Blair was also in town during the ceremony, as his son Euan is currently studying international relations at the Ivy League college.

He told students at the university's Class Day that Sir Paul had reminded him that the first record company the Beatles had approached had "rejected them as a band no one would want to listen to", the Yale Daily News reports.

"Be prepared to fail as well as to succeed, and realise it is failure, not success, that defines character," he added.

27/05/2008 15:33:45