JON Anderson chuckles when I ask him about being this year’s recipient of the annual Prog God award, recognising his contribution to music in a career spanning 50 years.

“It’s about bloody time,” he laughed. “Seriously though, it’s nice to know that people appreciate what I’ve been doing for all these years. I’m very happy, grateful and humble to get the award and I’d like to thank everybody involved.”

Jon will travel from his home in California to London at the beginning of September for the Progressive Music Awards where he will follow the likes of Peter Gabriel and close friend Rick Wakeman who have previously been awarded the Prog God title.

Now 71, Jon Anderson, was born in Accrington where he had minor success with the band The Warriors alongside his brother Tony.

He quit the band in 1967 and moved to London where he met bassist Chris Squire and went on to form what became for a time the biggest band in the world - Yes.

Yes were the quintessential prog rock band with Anderson’s lead vocals a distinctive feature of their music. With keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman, complete with silver cape, and guitar virtuoso Steve Howe, their multi-layered songs and elaborate stage shows saw them fill some of the biggest venues around the world.

Prog rock was the complete antithesis to punk which sprung up in the Seventies many would say in part, as a reaction to the complex nature of the music.

But Jon believes that the music he made with Yes and continues to make now should not be seen as ‘old hat’.

“There will always be ‘progressive’ music,” he said. “I don’t just get people from the Seventies enjoying my music either, I get youngsters wanting to say hello and tell me how much my music means to them.

“It’s great that people still just want to listen to the music, and I’m pleased to be still able to do it.”

As if to prove Jon’s point about his music still being relevant, he has been nominated for the album of the year for his collaborative album with Roine Stolt from the Swedish band Flower Kings.

“I met Roine on a prog rock cruise when he was in a band called Transatlantic,” said Jon, “and they asked if I’d do a couple of Yes songs with them.

“Then the idea of a collaboration came up and I’d wanted to do some long-form songs

“Although we were on opposite ends of the planet I used to send him some song ideas and he sent them back with his musical pictures,” said Jon.

The resultant album, Invention of Knowledge, was released in June and Jon was delighted with the results.

“Here’s the thing,” he points out, “there’s no point in creating music that wasn’t as good as your last thing.”

Jon could easily be forgiven for taking things a little easier but he admits he working on three projects with different musicians at the moment plus a sequel to his debut solo album Olias of Sunhillow which he released in 1976.

“I’m working on the ‘son of Olias’,” he said, “and have been for some years. It’s sounding quite extraordinary and I’ve got about four hours of music.”

Also on the horizon is a collaboration with two ex-members of Yes – keyboard player Rick Wakeman and guitarist Trevor Rabin.

“Yes, it’s Yes in all but name,” he said, “a sort of ARW aka Yes. We’ve been writing and will be touring the US in the autumn and the UK next spring, in fact I’ll soon be starting rehearsals with them.”

“It’s going to be good just to do a great show, a celebration of Yes music,” Jon said. “Yes music had a special strength.

“I’m blessed at my age to be able to sing this way and I’ve worked with many greats.

“Not bad for a lad from Accrington, eh?”

ARW play Manchester Apollo on March 25, 2017