School of Rock: Five Rock Stars with Doctorates

"Music has so much power across so many avenues. To be in a position to do the thing you’re best at, which is making music, and bringing joy and pleasure to other people, it can’t be much better than that."

So said Jimmy Page, or Doctor Jimmy Page, to give Led Zeppelin’s guitarist his proper title, as he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Music degree from the Berklee College Of Music last month. He joins a select list of rock stars who can officially be called Doctor Rock.

Tony Iommi

Tony Iommi was appointed as Coventry University’s Visiting Professor of Music this year, after being made a Doctor of Arts in November 2013 in recognition of “his role as one of the founding fathers of heavy metal music and his status as one of the industry’s most influential figures.” Iommi has already started giving lectures at the university: academia has never sounded so appealing.

Bruce Dickinson

Iron Maiden’s polymath frontman added the title Doctor Of Music to his already ridiculously impressive CV, when Queen Marys, University of London bestowed an honorary degree upon him in 2011. Did everyone else know that Bruce Dickinson’s real first name is Paul? Well, if you didn’t you do now.

Brian May

Having abandoned his studies in the 1970s in favour of focussing on his little rock band Queen, big-brained Brian returned to the study of Astrophysics and his doctoral thesis in 2006. Already a recipient of honorary degrees from the Universities of Hertfordshire, Exeter and Liverpool John Moores, May’s writing on Motions of Interplanetary Dust earned him his a PhD degree from Imperial College, London, in 2007. The guitarist now holds the honorary position of Chancellor Emeritus at Liverpool John Moores. Fancy.

Gregg Graffin

The smartest man in punk rock, Bad Religion’s frontman earned a PhD in zoology from Cornell University in 2007: he later lectured at the prestigious US college. Between Bad Religion tours, Graffin now teaches Life Science 1 at UCLA: find him tweeting about evolution, anarchy and, very probably, the crappy state of UK motorway service station food at @DoctorGraffin.

Paul Brannigan
Contributing Editor, Louder

A music writer since 1993, formerly Editor of Kerrang! and Planet Rock magazine (RIP), Paul Brannigan is a Contributing Editor to Louder. Having previously written books on Lemmy, Dave Grohl (the Sunday Times best-seller This Is A Call) and Metallica (Birth School Metallica Death, co-authored with Ian Winwood), his Eddie Van Halen biography (Eruption in the UK, Unchained in the US) emerged in 2021. He has written for Rolling Stone, Mojo and Q, hung out with Fugazi at Dischord House, flown on Ozzy Osbourne's private jet, played Angus Young's Gibson SG, and interviewed everyone from Aerosmith and Beastie Boys to Young Gods and ZZ Top. Born in the North of Ireland, Brannigan lives in North London and supports The Arsenal.