Robbie Williams said he was "genuinely chuffed" after being honoured as a pop idol at a music awards bash - and then handed a gong out to two of his own heroes.
The singer, sporting a new distinctive silver stripe in his hair, landed the prize at the annual Q Awards, where he was also on hand to give the Outstanding Contribution to Music prize to his pals the Pet Shop Boys.
Speaking on the red carpet before he accepted his award, Williams said he did not know "what it means to be an idol these days".
He said: "I just know that I went on tour this year and the audience threw so much love at me I've never enjoyed my job so much".
Williams joked organisers created his prize simply to get him to show up, telling guests: "Of all the made-up awards to get a celebrity to an awards show."
However he added: "I'm genuinely chuffed. I'm 40 next year and I've been around for loads and loads of years, and people still deem me important enough to roll me out and get me here and give me an award, and for that I'm very, very grateful."
He was described by Pet Shop Boys frontman Neil Tennant as "Freddie Mercury-esque but more down to earth".
Tennant, who accepted his group's award with musical partner Chris Lowe, thanked "everyone who has ever dipped into and out of our careers, especially those who've stuck with us".
The day's biggest loser was David Bowie who was nominated for six awards but won none.
Host Al Murray joked the veteran, who broke an almost decade-long silence this year to release The Next Day, had gone to "Kew" instead by mistake.
Winners included Happy Mondays whose LP Bummed was named classic album, with singer Shaun Ryder telling bandmate Bez: "I'll take this home - you'll lose it."
Tim Burgess gave the "poet laureate" prize to "sweary revolutionary" John Cooper Clarke, while other stars including Tinie Tempah, Ronnie Wood and Sophie Ellis-Bextor handed out gongs at the ceremony at the Grosvenor Hotel in central London.
The show saw Williams named a Q Idol, Biffy Clyro pick up Best Album for Opposites and Ellie Goulding win Best Solo Artist.
Foals beat Arctic Monkeys to the title of Best Live Act, but the Sheffield band won Best Track for Do I Wanna Know?
Vampire Weekend were named the Best Act in the World and Suede were given the Q Icon award.
Q magazine's senior editor Matt Mason said: "It's been a privilege to celebrate another brilliant year for music. We keep being told that these are tough times for the industry, but the evidence here suggests the opposite.
"The artists honoured today reflect the variety and richness of the current musical landscape. From Jake Bugg to John Cooper Clarke, they give us everything we ask for from rock and pop stars: outstanding, inventive music delivered with absorbing attitude and character.
"We're particularly delighted to salute evergreen artists such as Robbie, the Pet Shop Boys and Suede, who've all made excellent new music over the last 12 months."
The awards are voted for by readers and staff at Q. The 2013 winners were:
Best New Act: Jake Bugg
Best Track: Arctic Monkeys - Do I Wanna Know?
Poet Laureate: John Cooper Clarke
Classic Songwriter: Chrissie Hynde
Best Event: Glastonbury Festival
Best Video: Manic Street Preachers - Show Me The Wonder
Spirit of Independence: Belle and Sebastian
Classic Album: Happy Mondays - Bummed
Best Live Act: Foals
Best Album: Biffy Clyro - Opposites
Q Icon: Suede
Best Solo Act: Ellie Goulding
Best Act in the World Today: Vampire Weekend
Q Idol: Robbie Williams
Outstanding Contribution to Music: Pet Shop Boys