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Mercury Music Prize 2008: Elbow named as winners


Story by Jack Foley

ELBOW have won the coveted Nationwide Mercury Prize for the best British album of the past year.

The group’s fourth studio album, The Seldom Seen Kid, beat 11 other contenders, including Radiohead and Adele, to the £20,000 prize.

After being presented with the award by Jools Hollands at a ceremony at London’s Grosvenor House Hotel, the band’s lead singer, Guy Garvey, said: “This is quite literally the best thing that’s ever happened to us.”

He added: “I know I’m supposed to be cool and say something coy, but it’s literally the best thing that’s ever happened to us.”

Garvey then dedicated the award to the band’s friend, Brian Glancy, who died in 2006, describing him as “one of the greatest men who ever lived”. The name of the album also refers to their friend.

Elbow have previously missed out on the Mercury Music Prize in 2001, having been nominated for their debut album 11 years after being formed.

But commenting on the quality of The Seldom Seen Kid, which has already given rise to the singles Grounds For Divorce and One Day Like This, one of the judges, conductor Charles Hazelwood, observed: “We were just so passionate about them from the start actually. We just couldn’t talk enough about what they’d done.”

Another of the judges, rock critic Jude Rogers, described the LP as “a really, really wonderful record”.

Ironically, Elbow had started the day as favourites to win the top prize, before being beaten as the bookies favourites by dubstep musician Burial by the time that bets were closed.

Burial, who only recently revealed his real name to be Will Bevan, did not attend the ceremony.

Other acts to be nominated for this year’s prize included the more commercial likes of Adele and Estelle, as well as guitar groups British Sea Power and The Last Shadow Puppets, the side project of Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner and Miles Kane of The Rascals.

Find out more about the nominees