The band say the NME was "an education" for the band while growing up in Ireland...

U2 have said the NME was “an education” for them while growing up in IRELAND, and “helped us get a record deal” by putting them on the cover before they were signed.

The band were awarded the ‘Godlike Genius’ award for their services to music at last night’s NME Carling Awards (February 6). Speaking after picking up their award, singer Bono said that for U2 in their early days, the NME was “an education”.

He commented: “The thing is, we didn’t have any black people in Ireland, but there was one and he was in a heavy metal band. But we heard about black music through the NME. We heard about reggae music, we heard about lots of stuff. It was kind of like an education and for people who didn’t quite have an education the NME was ours.

“And it really hurts me to tell you miserable c-ts what an influence that you had on our lives, but it is the truth and I don’t think that the UK music scene would be as sharp without the NME, and I’m going to say that to you tonight.”

As well as the award for ‘Godlike Genius’, the band also picked up an award for ‘Best Rock Act’. Speaking before that, Bono said the NME helped them get a record deal. He said: “We were put on the cover of the NME before we had a record deal, in fact it helped us get a record deal. So there is a lot of miserable c-ts here but I would like to say that we are what you made us and thank you.”

Guitarist The Edge said ‘Godlike Genius’ is “the big one”, and joked that it “helps having God in your band”.

He continued:” I tell you it was tough for the rest of us through the years putting up with the loaves and fishes, all that stuff. But we got through somehow, we managed by some miracle to make it here.

“Here we are at the beginning of the third millennium and we’re here drinking free NME champagne at the Brat Awards, so cheers to everybody, thank you!”

This year’s awards took place at the Arches in Shoreditch, London, presented by comedian Peter Kay and television presenter Jayne Middlemiss. Other guests included the Gallagher brothers, All Saints, Liam Howlett, Coldplay, Fatboy Slim and Kylie Minogue, who presented U2 with their ‘Godlike Genius’ award.

Coldplay picked up the most awards this year, for ‘Best Single’, ‘Best New Artist’ and ‘Radio 1 Evening Session Session Of The Year’. Speaking after picking up the award for ‘Best New Artist’, singer Chris Martin made an ill-advised joke about their battle with Craig David in the nominations for this year’s Brit Awards. He said: “I think we’ve got a Brit nomination so this is the only one we’re going to win because Craig David’s not here and all that. Unless I put cauliflowers on my head, I don’t think we’re going to win that one.” Realising what he said, he immediately retracted, saying “I didn’t mean that badly, I just meant it as a joke.”

Later, he looked nervous when receiving the award for ‘Best Single’, and once more tried to justify his comments. He said: “Sorry, but I just get really nervous and sometimes act like a tit. If you give us a couple more albums we’ll be a lot better at this sort of thing but it’s frightening to be honest. We really are grateful, but we hide behind fear.”

Oasis’ only award of the evening went to Liam Gallagher for ‘NME Hero Of The Year’. Sitting with his pregnant girlfriend, All Saint Nicole Appleton, he refused to take to the stage to receive his award. Instead, presenter Peter Kay took his Brat to him, before quipping, “my mum’s looking for that coat”, in reference to the pure white furry jacket he wore to the awards.

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