Singer Morrissey has been honoured for "his amazing contribution to music and for being an inspiration to others" at the annual Silver Clef awards.
Morrissey received his honour from punk band the New York Dolls
Jazz star Jamie Cullum, US soul artist George Benson and Pop Idol winner Will Young were also honoured at the event.
Heavy metal veterans Iron Maiden were given a special achievement prize at the event held at the Inter-Continental Hotel in London's Park Lane.
The awards were presented in London by music therapy charity Nordoff-Robbins.
Morrissey's award follows his return to the spotlight with a new album - his first for seven years - and tour.
On Monday Morrissey opened his curatorship of this year's Meltdown Festival on London's South Bank with the first of three shows at the Royal Festival Hall.
Kelli Young, Michelle Heaton and Jessica Taylor from Liberty X
Morrissey received his award from punk band the New York Dolls, who played a one-off reunion gig on Wednesday as part of Meltdown.
The singer, a diehard fan of the band, was once president of their UK fan club.
"God bless everybody," he said as he accepted his honour.
Benson received his international award from UK soul singer Beverley Knight, while DJ Paul Gambaccini gave Cullum the HMV Best New Music gong.
"I've been involved in the industry for about two years and I've seen the ugly and the beautiful side," said the 24-year-old as he took the prize.
"This is the beautiful side. It's about people getting involved in music, not
because they want to be on Parkinson or on magazine covers, but for this stuff
and because they like it."
Beverley Knight presented an award to soul singer George Benson
Young was unable to attend the event due to tour commitments.
The event also featured an auction to raise money for the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Centre in north London.
Lots included jewellery from TV drama Footballers' Wives, artwork from David Bowie's Reality album and a guitar signed by Justin Hawkins of rock group The Darkness.
Celebrities at the awards included former Atomic Kitten member Jenny Frost, Nick Rhodes from Duran Duran and Beyonce Knowles' parents, Tina and Matthew.