Pink Floyd's David Gilmour said: "It's nice to be loved and for one's contribution to be recognized in some way.
"I suppose I agree that we have had an influence on modern popular music."
The honor given to the late rock DJ John Peel was accepted by his wife, Sheila, after an introduction from Blur and Gorillaz frontman Damon Albarn.
Steve Winwood and former Guns N' Roses guitarist Slash played Hendrix tunes and Alanis Morissette sang a tribute to Bob Dylan.
Jamie Cullum sang a tribune to Motown queen Aretha Franklin and the Eurythmics performed a medley of their hits.
The ceremony was taped for broadcast over the BBC's Channel 4.
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