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Arctic Monkeys win the 2006 Mercury Prize

Arctic Monkeys, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not

Feature by Lizzie Guilfoyle

THE SHEFFIELD-based band, The Arctic Monkeys, has won the 2006 Mercury Music Prize for their debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not.

The album that became the fastest-selling debut in the UK was chosen from more than 200 nominees, including Lou Rhodes (Beloved One), jazz pianist Zoe Rahman (Melting Pot), Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan (Ballad of the Broken Seas) and rapper Sway (This Is My Demo).

Although strong favourites for the £20,000 award, lead singer Alex Turner said they were “a bit surprised because normally it doesn’t go to a band that has sold as many records as we have.”

And he added: “We’re very, very pleased because it’s just good tunes, that’s what we try to do. There are no tricks. Too many people try to do too many tricks.”

In fact, The Arctic Monkeys have had an incredible year. Their single, I Bet You look Good On The Dancefloor, reached the number one spot in the UK; while the award-winning album sold more than 360,000 copies in its first week.

The Mercury Music Prize is voted for by a panel of industry experts, journalists and artists and is awarded for originality and creativity rather than sales success.

This year’s panel described Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not as “geat songs, astonishingly performed. Essential.”

The Mercury Prize was first awarded in 1992 and past winners have included Antony and the Johnsons, Franz Ferdinand, Primal Scream, Pulp and Suede.

Other contenders for this year’s prize included Muse (Black Holes and Revelations), Editors (The Back Room), Scritti Politti (White Bread, Black Beer), Richard Hawley (Coles Corner) and Thom Yorke (The Eraser).

Performers at the ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel, hosted by Jools Holland, included Thom York, Hot Chip, the Guillemots and Scritti Politti, performing for the first time in 26 years.