Charity also honors Bob Geldof.
U2 picked up the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 30th anniversary of the annual charity Nordoff-Robbins O2 Silver Clef Awards Lunch, held today (June 17) in London.
When presenting the four band members with the award, former Beatles producer George Martin said, "Their music alone deserves the highest accolade, but [they] have been teaching the leaders of the world how to behave."
Frontman Bono said that receiving an award from Martin "was a humbling experience. The Beatles and The Who mapped the terrain for U2." He also paid tribute to his bandmates: "I'm standing here as the lucky member of a great band."
Bono also invited the audience to support Live 8, the new initiative from Bob Geldof targeting Africa's debt relief. "I don't think it's the pop stars or the musicians that the politicians are afraid of, it's the audience. They are young people and they can change things," he said. U2 are due to perform two gigs at London's Twickenham stadium June 18-19.
Geldof was also honored with the Raymond Well International Award, accepted by his fellow Live 8 partner, former Ultravox frontman Midge Ure. "Bob can't be here today, he's in Paris organizing another bloody Live 8," joked Ure.
The Silver Clef Awards Lunch raises funds for the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy charity, which uses music to heal and improve the quality of life of impaired adults and children. This year's event raised the £710,000 ($1.3 million) through direct donations from sponsors and individuals, an auction and a raffle.
HMV Group COO Brian McLaughlin, who is chairman of the NRMT fundraising committee, told Billboard.biz he was very pleased with the result: "My personal target was £610-620,000 ($1.11-1.13 million) and we exceeded £700,000 ($1.27 million). I am very impressed by the level of people who were in the room."
Other artists present included Roger Daltrey, who accepted the Robertson Taylor 30th Anniversary Award on behalf of the Who; Sony BMG pop singer Natasha Bedingfield (Heart 106.2FM female artist of the year); labelmate Lemar (Heart 106.2FM male artist of the year); Universal U.K. pop band McFly (HMV best new music award pop); Universal British rock act Razorlight (HMV best new music award rock); and Universal Classics mezzo soprano Katherine Jenkins (PPL classical award).