Ceremony at Brixton Academy also dishes out prizes to Pulp, Florence + The Machine and the Smiths
Former Oasis guitarist Noel Gallagher was declared a godlike genius at the NME Awards on Wednesday night.
The magazine's editor, Krissi Murison, hailed him as "a man who has written more anthems in the last two decades than anyone else".
Taking to the stage at Brixton Academy in south London to collect his honour, the rock star behind a string of hits including Wonderwall and Don't Look Back In Anger paid tribute to his fans.
He said: "To all the people up there who bothered to buy a ticket, a CD or a T-shirt – because that's what fucking counts, the merchandise – thank you."
Singer Paul Weller, Kinks frontman Ray Davies and comic Russell Brand paid homage to the Mancunian songwriter, with Brand calling him "a hero to a generation".
Fellow 90s Britpop act Pulp were recognised for their outstanding contribution to music and frontman Jarvis Cocker dedicated the award to "all the people who came to see us last year".
The Sheffield-born singer, whose band reunited for a series of gigs in 2011, said: "A concert without an audience is just a very long soundcheck."
Other big winners included Florence + The Machine, who beat Adele to the title of best solo artist despite admitting "it's never been clear whether I am a solo artist", and Kasabian, who scooped the best British band award.
The Leicester rockers dedicated their prize to the Monkees lead singer Davy Jones, who died on Wednesday, bursting into an impromptu version of the group's theme song on stage.
Arctic Monkeys won the accolade for best live band, while the Stone Roses reunion was declared the year's greatest music moment.
Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, whose band got the award for best reissue for the complete re-release of their albums, said he was "really, really happy people still like those songs because we really liked making them".Pop and rockNMEAwards and prizesNoel GallagherPulpThe SmithsFlorence and the MachineBeatrice Woolfguardian.co.uk © 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds