Elton John Receives Inaugural Brits Icon Award

Joseph Guay

Elton John

Rod Stewart on Monday night presented Elton John with the inaugural Brits Icon award during a gala event and concert here.

The event, which ITV taped at the London Palladium for later this month, marked John's return to the stage after surgery for appendicitis.

The six-time Grammy winner and Oscar recipient received the new honor from British music industry trade organization BPI. It is designed as an extension of the annual BRIT Awards ceremony, which is the U.K.'s largest music awards show. The new award is dedicated to artists who have made a "lasting impact."

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The BBC reported on Tuesday that John received the award from his friend Stewart, who quipped that John was "the second-best rock singer ever."

John said he was "flattered" by the award before playing a selection of his hits, including "Your Song" and "Tiny Dancer," according to the BBC. Stewart joined him for a duet -- closing song "Sad Songs (Say So Much)."

The report said that video messages from the likes of Bill Clinton, Ringo Starr and tennis legend Billie Jean King were played at the John award ceremony.

The concert was attended by such celebrities as Liz Hurley, Take That star and X Factor U.K. judge Gary Barlow and James Blunt.