Jimmy Page says it feels "brilliant" to be an inspiration to new musicians.
The Led Zeppelin rocker, who was honoured with a special one-off award, the Rock'N'Roll Soul Award, at the 2015 NME Awards in London tonight (18.02.15), was thrilled to receive the accolade from British rock duo Royal Blood because he considers it a privilege to pass the baton on to younger artists.
Speaking at the star-studded ceremony at the O2 Academy Brixton, the 71-year-old guitarist told BANG Showbiz: "It does mean a lot [to win this award] especially in context. To have this award, and have Royal Blood present it is brilliant, because they're really good.
"I know I have inspired a lot of musicians with the spirit of music, but that's how I learnt, listening to rock and roll and blues and all of that. It's just great, its like a baton in a relay race, I'm passing it on [to the new musicians]."
It was also a memorable night for the 'Figure It Out' hitmakers, who opened the ceremony and later won Best New Band and Best Live Band.
Other big winners included Suede, who have released six acclaimed albums and successfully reformed in 2010, as they were named Godlick Genius.
But frontman Brett Anderson blasted the state of modern rock compared to his group's Brit-pop heyday.
Speaking on the red carpet, he said: "I think rock 'n' roll, now, has become a style, a look rather than an attitude. Rock 'n' roll is about taking risks, doing unusual things rather than wearing leather trousers and thinking you're Jim Morrison."
The group closed the ceremony with a six-song set.
Meanwhile, Kasabian, who led the charge with eight nominations, were "very humbled, privileged and proud" to pick up three prestigious gongs - Best British Band, Best Album and Best Quote.
It was also a successful night for Jamie T, who won Best Track, Best Video and Moment of the Year.
But it was a bad year for 5 Seconds of Summer as they were named Worst Band, and politician Nigel Farage won Villain of the Year.
Full Winners List:
Godlike Genius Award
Rock'n'Roll Soul Award
Best British Band supported by Marshall Amplification
Best International Band supported by Austin, Texas - The Live Music Capital Of The World
Outstanding Contribution to Music
Teenage Cancer Trust
Best Solo Artist supported by Pilot Frixion
Best New Band supported by REPLAY
Best Live Band supported by Dead Crow Spirit Flavoured Beers
Kasabian - '48:13'
Best Track supported by Tito's Handmade Vodka
Jamie T - 'Zombie'
Jamie T - 'Zombie'
Philip Hall Radar Award
Best TV Show
'Game Of Thrones'
Best Music Film
'Pulp: A Film About Life, Death And Supermarkets'
Reissue Of The Year
Manic Street Preachers - 'The Holy Bible'
Iggy Azalea feat. Charli XCX - 'Fancy'
5 Seconds Of Summer
Villain Of The Year
Hero Of The Year
Music Moment Of The Year
Jamie T's comeback
Best Fan Community
Small Festival Of The Year
Liverpool Psych Fest
Book Of The Year
Viv Albertine - 'Clothes, Clothes, Clothes. Music, Music, Music. Boys, Boys, Boys'.
Best Band Social Media
Liam Gallagher's Twitter
Happyness - "I'm wearing Win Butler's hair/There's a scalpless singer in a Montreal rock band somewhere."
Kasabian - "Five records, ten years. We've earned our shot." - Serge Pizzorno, (talking about Glastonbury headline slot)