British rock band Genesis has been honored at the first Progressive Music Awards held in London, alongside other bands including Pink Floyd and Rush.
Genesis members Mike Rutherford and Tony Banks picked up the Lifetime Achievement Award at a ceremony at Kew Gardens last night (September 5).
Keyboard legend and ex-Yes member Rick Wakeman was given the Prog God Award.
The awards, created by Prog Magazine, were hosted by presenter Gavin Esler.
Prog rock, which grew out of 1960s psychedelia, was originally associated with 70s bands including Pink Floyd, Genesis, Yes and King Crimson.
Such bands generally eschewed traditional song structures and drew influences from classical, jazz, and world music.
The prog genre flourished again in the 80s with bands such as Marillion, while acts such as Porcupine Tree and Muse have helped carry it into the 21st Century.
The inaugural event on Wednesday night brought together prog pioneers from the 1970s, and newer acts like progressive metal band TesseracT, who won a newcomer award – having released their debut album One in 2011.
“All of us are massive Pink Floyd fans, so to be acknowledged by people of a similar school is quite surreal,” said TesseracT’s bass player, Amos Williams.
“We’re just this tiny little band from England who’ve travelled far, but were still at the beginning of what we hope is a long career.”
Jerry Ewing, editor of Prog Magazine, told the audience that the music genre was “in a rude state of health”.
“These awards have been a long time coming. But certainly, when one considers the enormous amount of success that progressive artists have garnered over the past four decades, and perhaps more importantly, the enjoyment they have given millions of fans over the years, it felt only right that we give something back.”
The magazine, which launched in 2009, sells 25,000 copies a month.
After picking up the lifetime achievement award for Genesis with Mike Rutherford, keyboard player Tony Banks said: “Our own music has varied over the years. We’ve been fairly broad, we’ve done some stuff you’d call progressive and some you’d call more mainstream. But we love writing.”
Genesis formed at Charterhouse School in 1967 and has sold an estimated 150 million albums. Among their best-known works from the 1970s are Foxtrot, Selling England by the Pound, and The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.
The band also enjoyed massive success in the 1980s with more commercial offerings like Duke, Abacab and Invisible Touch.
Past members of the band include Peter Gabriel and Steve Hackett.
Among the 10 awards given out on the night, Emerson, Lake and Palmer drummer Carl Palmer was given the Virtuoso Award celebrating a career spanning more than 40 years.
The Guiding Light Award, for an inspirational musician who is “pushing the boundaries”, went to Steven Wilson, best known as founder member of Grammy-nominated British band Porcupine Tree.
Steven Wilson said that bands like Radiohead and Muse had helped change negative mainstream attitudes towards progressive music.
“I think now progressive is once again something desirable – it’s good to have on your CV – I honestly never thought I’d live to see the day.”
Steven Wilson, who started Porcupine Tree as a solo project in his bedroom in the late 1980s, thanked his late father for introducing him to Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon when he was a boy.
He added: “When you discover progressive music you feel special – it makes you part of a very exclusive club.”
Canadian rock band Rush’s latest concept album, Clockwork Angels, was named Album Of The Year.
With its dystopian steampunk theme, the three-piece’s 19th studio album has earned rapturous reviews, even in the mainstream press.
Describing it as Rush’s “most solid and compelling set of songs in years”, The Guardian went on to say: “Those who worship at the temple of Rush will be in raptures; for those who remain agnostic, there may well be enough here to justify a leap of faith.”
The Anthem Award went to the title track from Squackett’s album A Life Within A Day. The album is the work of ex-Genesis guitarist Steve Hackett and Yes bass player Chris Squire.
Rick Wakeman said of his Prog God Award: “I’ve always believed that these days there is hardly a band or musician anywhere who haven’t used some element of prog in their music.
“It’s all about freedom of expression, which in my case is often in seven different time signatures! I am genuinely very, very proud to get this award.”
Award Winners – Full List:
New Blood: TesseracT
Live Event: Anathema
Grand Design: Pink Floyd’s Immersion Reissues
Anthem: Squackett’s A Life Within A Day
Album Of The Year: Rush’s Clockwork Angels
Visionary: Peter Hammill
Lifetime Achievement: Genesis
Virtuoso: Carl Palmer
Guiding Light: Steven Wilson
Prog God: Rick Wakeman