Peter Gabriel honoured at Prog music awards

By Tim Masters
Arts and entertainment correspondent, BBC News

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionGabriel says he was not always comfortable with the "prog rock" tag

Peter Gabriel has been honoured at the annual Progressive Music Awards for a music career that has spanned five decades.

The former Genesis singer picked up the "prog god" award at the event at Shakespeare's Globe in London.

Others winners on the night included keyboard legend Rick Wakeman, Dream Theater and Camel founder Andy Latimer.

The ceremony, now in its third year, was hosted by BBC news presenter and prog rock fan Gavin Esler.

After receiving his award from comedian Bill Bailey, Gabriel said: "Despite prog probably being the most derided musical genre of all time there were - as today - a lot of extraordinary musicians trying to break down the barriers to reject the rules of music."

He told the BBC backstage that he was "a lot more comfortable" with the prog label now than earlier in his career.

media captionPeter Gabriel on the Kate Bush show: "I love the boldness of the ambition"

"It was genuinely pioneering at time. We didn't always get it right, but when it did work we could move people and get some magic happening.

"I see it all as a very healthy part of growing up."

'Creative boundaries'

Gabriel, who left Genesis in 1975, enjoyed massive commercial success as a solo artist with his 1986 album, So, which featured the hit singles Sledgehammer and Don't Give Up.

To mark the album's 25th anniversary he has been on a two-year Back To Front tour - ending in December 2014 - which features many of the musicians who played on the original recording.

A well-known human rights activist, Gabriel was behind OD2, one of the first online music download services, and co-founded of the world music festival Womad.

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionProg rocker Rick Wakeman and author Ian Rankin were among the guests at the awards

"From a groundbreaking eight years with Genesis to a solo career that has now stretched almost 40 years, few artists have striven to push back the creative boundaries, generating a body of work that in its very nature progresses ever onwards," said Jerry Ewing, editor of Prog Magazine, who founded the awards in 2012.

"From massive worldwide hits through startling experimentation and pioneering work with world music, as well as his fantastic work outside of music and an astute grasp of technology, it really is an honour to pay tribute to Peter in this way."

The live event award went to 2012's "prog god" Rick Wakeman for his Journey To The Centre Of The Earth 40th anniversary tour.

The ceremony on Thursday opened with a performance by 2014 album of the year winners, Transatlantic - whose members include Marillion bassist Pete Trewavas.

'Various roots'

He told the BBC: "It's a bit daunting playing in front of Peter Gabriel and Rick Wakeman - heroes from my youth - but there are lots of good things happening in prog and it's nice to have a ceremony that shows that.

"There are lots of current bands like Elbow and Coldplay who have various roots in progressive music.

"It's never going to be mainstream - it's a bit like jazz was in the 50s and 60s - but it has a place."

Dream Theater, who celebrate their 30th anniversary in 2015, were named band of the year.

The award for album design, named after the late Storm Thorgerson, went to ex-Marillion singer Fish's A Feast of Consequences, designed by Mark Wilkinson.

The lifetime achievement award was accepted by Andy Latimer, one of the founder members of prog rock band Camel, who formed in 1971, and have released 14 studio albums and continue to tour.

"At a time when Kate Bush is playing live, a new Pink Floyd album and a King Crimson tour are also helping push progressive music into the public spotlight, a night like tonight really shows the diversity and far reaching appeal of this music," Ewing said.

The 2014 Progressive Music Award winners in full:

  • Limelight: Messenger
  • Live Event: Rick Wakeman - Journey To The Centre Of The Earth 40th Anniversary Tour
  • Breakthrough: Syd Arthur
  • Anthem: Anathema - Anathema
  • The Storm Thorgerson Grand Design: Fish - A Feast of Consequences
  • Album of the Year: Transatlantic - Kaleidoscope
  • Band of the Year: Dream Theater
  • Outer Limits: Uriah Heep
  • Virtuoso: Kef Arjen Lucassen
  • Guiding Light: Sonja Kristina
  • Visionary: Robert John Godfrey
  • Lifetime Achievement: Andy Latimer
  • Prog God: Peter Gabriel

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