The Nov. 10 Marshall Classic Rock Roll of Honour event kicked off with a performance from Florida's Alter Bridge, who flew in from Amsterdam for the event and brought Guns N' Roses legend Slash onstage to play guitar on their hit "Rise Today."
Hosts Alice Cooper and TV presenter Sarah Cawood began by presenting the Union (featuring former members of hard rock band Thunder) with best new band. Irish singer Imelda May took best breakthrough act. Film maker Julian Temple took best film for his Dr Feelgood documentary "Oil Street Confidential."
Neil Schon of Journey took event of the year for the band's "Don't Stop Believin'," revitalized by "Glee."
"This is a long time coming," he said. "The future looks bright for us."
Ronnie Wood turned up to accept best reissue for "Exile On Main Street" (although he was not in the Rolling Stones at the time).
AC/DC - a band who brought their own stage to Download festival in the summer - delivered a video message to thank fans for voting them band of the year. Frontman Brian Johnson explained that they were taking a break and that he was busy racing cars, but that they appreciated the award because it was voted for by fans.
A typically top-hatted Slash thanked the voters, management, Classic Rock, Roadrunner, drummer Josh Freese, his wife and kids "and you guys" for the album of the year award for his self-titled solo debut, which was launched in conjunction with the magazine when it was sold as a 'fan pack' with a special issue in May. It was later given a standard release by Roadrunner.
Cheap Trick announced that they had "never gotten an award for anything, and we're probably too dumb to quit so we're sticking around" when they were presented with classic album for "Cheap Trick at Budokan."
Rick Wakeman took the 'spirit of prog' award, telling the audience, "When I last won an award like that it was 1973, I came third with a composition called 'You Might Call My Willie Nelson Cos He's Only Got One Eye.'"
Deep Purple's Glenn Hughes took an award for his charity work with Childline, and Wendy Dio, the widow of Rainbow and Black Sabbath vocalist Ronnie James Dio who died of cancer in May, gave a moving and emotional speech for her late husband's Tommy Vance inspiration award. She announced that she has formed the Stand Up And Shout cancer charity, adding "let's celebrate Ronnie's life."
Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page presented Killing Joke with the innovators award, calling the band "inspirational." Michael Schenker took the Marshall Award, asking the audience to "Keep on rocking," before Black Sabbath's Tony Iommi took to the stage to "give this to one of my oldest and best friends," presenting his bandmate Geezer Butler with the metal guru award.
Wizzard took classic songwriter for "I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day," and booking agent John Jackson, one of the creators of Sonisphere festival, was presented with the VIP Award.
Led Zeppelin's John Paul Jones arrived to take the outstanding contribution award before the final award for living legends was handed out to Rush, with Alice Cooper describing frontman Geddy Lee as "the whiniest bassist with the fattest sound." The evening came to a suitably noisy end with a glittery set from Cheap Trick.
Six of the awards - band of the year, reissue of the year, album of the year, event of the year, best new band and film of the year - were voted by readers. A further 11 awards were chosen by the magazine's awards panel.