NME Awards 2014: Blondie to receive Godlike Genius award

Deborah Harry will be the first female performer to accept the prize

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The Independent Culture

Deborah Harry will be the first female performer to receive NME's Godlike Genius award when she picks up the accolade with punk band Blondie later this month.

One of the most iconic groups of the past four decades, Blondie will be accepting the award in person and performing live at the ceremony on 26 February.

“We’ve always had a special relationship with the UK and this is great, it’s nice to be recognised and it’s an outstanding list,” Blondie said. “To be honoured so nicely, and to play music. What could be better?”

Blondie’s musical influence has shaped the worlds of music, fashion and art since the band’s foundation in the mid-1970s. Pop hits include “Heart of Glass”, “Call Me” and “Atomic” and record sales total over 40 million worldwide.

 “As they celebrate their 40th anniversary, there could be no other band more worthy of being honoured as NME’s Godlike Genius 2014 than Blondie,” said Mike Williams, NME editor.

“They re-wrote the rulebook in the late 70s by dragging punk rock to the top of the charts, and their classic songs still sound as fresh as ever today.

Debbie Harry has inspired the likes of Lady Gaga

“Everyone from Iggy Pop, Lily Allen, Lady Gaga and Julian Casablancas have looked to Debbie Harry for inspiration – she’s the most iconic frontwoman rock’n’roll has ever produced.”

Only the true greats of the music world are awarded with the Godlike Genius prize. Past recipients have included The Clash, The Cure, Dave Grohl, Noel Gallaher, Manic Street Preachers and Paul Weller. Last year's award went to The Smiths’ song-writer and guitarist Johnny Marr.

Rock photographer Pennie Smith shared the Godlike Genius award with music journalist Nick Kent in 2002 but otherwise, no woman has won it in its 20 years.

Music fans are currently voting across 20 categories ahead of the awards. Festival favourites Arctic Monkeys have been nominated for eight, while sister trio Haim are up for six. Queens of the Stone Age, Lily Allen and Arcade Fire have three nods each.

The NME Awards with Austin, Texas ceremony takes place on Wednesday 26 February at the O2 Academy, Brixton