Singer/songwriter Elvis Costello has been awarded an honorary doctorate from the oldest independent school of music in the U.S.

The Oliver's Army hitmaker picked up his diploma from the New England Conservatory in Boston, Massachusetts, at a special ceremony on Friday (25Oct13), following in the footsteps of music icons Miles Davis, Aretha Franklin and Quincy Jones.

Costello took part in a 90-minute career retrospective, where he took questions from the audience and discussed his collaborations with Sir Paul MCCartney, his latest album Wise Up Ghost and modern music devices including the iPod.

According to, Costello also revealed that he only recently discovered his mother Lilian's involvement in a "minor smuggling ring" - she helped bring jazz albums to England from the U.S. when records were scarce in the aftermath of World War Ii.