Rock music's most intelligent, leftwing, working class anger band with the best-known missing member is today celebrating a new triumph. The Manic Street Preachers have been given NME magazine's Godlike Genius award.
The Manics follow in the footsteps of Primal Scream, Ian Brown, the Clash, New Order and Ozzy Osbourne in receiving what amounts to a lifetime achievement prize in NME's annual awards.
Bass player Nicky Wire said the band was "genuinely humbled". He added: "We've won four Brit awards, Ivor Novellos, in different countries around the world, Brat awards, but it's vindication. It feels like the best one because the NME's what I grew up with and for all its faults it still means a lot to me."
Mystery surrounds the Manics' guitarist Richey Edwards, who disappeared in 1995. Edwards, who was burdened with many troubles including alcoholism, self-harming and anorexia, is still regarded as a missing person. Supposed sightings have come from Britain, Goa and the Canaries. If he is alive he will be 40 on Saturday.
The award will be presented at NME's annual awards on February 28 and the band will afterwards headline the NME's Big Gig at the O2 venue in London, which also features Kaiser Chiefs, Bloc Party, Klaxons and the Cribs.
The Manics formed in the mining town of Blackwood, south Wales. Their 1994 album The Holy Bible was described in the Guardian's 1,000 Albums to Hear Before You Die series as "a brilliant, sometimes worrisome triumph of intellect over reason".