NME Awards: Florence Welch, Noel Gallagher, Pulp Triumph (WINNERS LIST, PHOTOS)
The flamboyant singer also won Best Track for Shake It Out, while Noel Gallagher was declared a "Godlike Genius" at the ceremony.
The former Oasis frontman took to the stage at the Brixton Academy to collect his honour.
The magazine's editor Krissi Murison said he was "a man who has written more anthems in the last two decades than anyone else".
The audience saw tributes from Paul Weller, Kinks frontman Ray Davies and comic Russell Brand who said the songwriter was "a hero to a generation".
The former Oasis guitarist paid tribute to his fans, saying: "I'd like to start by saying to all the people up there who bothered to buy a ticket, a CD, or a T-shirt because that's what ****ing counts the merchandise, thank you."
Also picking up an honorary award were Pulp who were recognised for their Outstanding Contribution to Music.
Frontman Jarvis Cocker dedicated the award to "all the people who came to see us last year".
The Sheffield-born frontman said: "A concert without an audience is just a very long soundcheck."
Kasabian opened the show and won Best British Band with the Foo Fighters picking up the international equivalent.
The Leicester rockers dedicated their award to Davy Jones and burst into an impromptu version of The Monkees theme on stage.
The night included performances by Florence + The Machine, The Horrors and The Vaccines who were voted Best New Band.
Arctic Monkeys won the accolade of Best Live Band.
Best Album went to The Horrors for Skying and Katy B's Broken Record was named Dancefloor Anthem.
Host Jack Whitehall saw his own show, student comedy Fresh Meat, named Best TV Show.
The reunion of the Stone Roses was declared the year's Greatest Music Moment and fellow Mancunians The Smiths got the nod for Best Reissue for the complete re-release of their albums.
Their guitarist, Johnny Marr, paid tribute to his old bandmates and said: "I'm really, really happy people still like those songs because we really liked making them".
Muse frontman Matt Bellamy was named Hero 0f The Year while Justin Bieber was declared Villain Of The Year for the second time in a row.
He also picked up the Worst Album gong for Under The Mistletoe.
X-Factor losers One Direction were named Worst Band.
NME editor Krissi Murison said more than 10 million votes had been cast for the annual awards on the magazines website.
Highlights from the show will be broadcast on Channel 4 on Saturday.
PHOTOS: See the NME Awards red carpet photos and the full winners list below
Here are the NME Awards 2012 winners in full:
Best British Band supported by Sonos
Best International Band supported by T4
Best Solo Artist supported by Rekorderlig
Florence + The Machine
Best New Band supported by Boxfresh
Best Live Band supported by Carling
Best Album supported by HMV
The Horrors - Skying
Best Track supported by Fender
Florence + The Machine - Shake It Out
Dancefloor Anthem supported by NME Radio
Katy B - Broken Record
Best Video supported by NMEVideo.com
Hurts - Sunday
Best TV Show
Best Music Film
Back and Forth - Foo Fighters
Greatest Music Moment
The Stone Roses Reunite
The Smiths - Complete Re-Issues
Noel Fielding - The Scribblings of A Madcap Shambleton
Hero Of The Year
Villain Of The Year
Justin Bieber - Under The Mistletoe
Best Album Artwork
Friendly Fires - Pala
Best Band Blog or Twitter
Best Small Festival
Most Dedicated Fans
Jared Leto - 30 Seconds To Mars
Hayley Williams - Paramore
Outstanding Contribution to Music
Godlike Genius Award
Philip Hall Radar Award