Story: Jack Foley
FRANZ Ferdinand, the band that everyone had tipped for success
at this year's Mercury Music Prize, triumphed at this year's prestigious
Despite having a reputation for throwing up the odd surprise,
the Glasgow-based outfit took this year's prize for their self-titled
Competition had been particularly strong this year, with the
likes of Keane, The Streets, Joss Stone, Amy Winehouse and late
bookies favourites, The Zutons, all posing credible challenges.
The £20,000 award seeks to recognise the best album of
the year by a British or Irish act, and is voted for by a panel
of industry experts, journalists and artists.
It places its emphasis on originality and creativity rather than
Franz Ferdinand lead singer, Alex Kapranos, said the band was
'"truly gobsmacked' but 'very chuffed and very honoured'
at receiving the prize.
The album in question has spawned the hit singles Take Me
Out and Michael.
In what is proving to be a purple period for them, the band also
scooped the band of the year award at the GQ magazine awards.
Ever modest, however, Kapranos said that the award came as even
more of a surprise due to the strong level of competition they
faced which, he hoped, signalled 'an end to the despicable era
we've gone through of manufactured pop music'.
Later, he pledged that the prize
money would be used to set up a centre, in Glasgow, to help young
people get started in the music industry.
The Mercury Music Prize is often seen as the most prestigious
accolade in the UK musical awards season.
It also boosts album sales of the artists who are nominated and
win by a phenomenal amount.
Last year’s winner, Dizzee Rascal, is believed to have
significantly boosted sales of his album, Boy In Da Corner,
by 150 per cent on the day after his prize was announced; which
means that any of this year’s potential winners stands to
inherit a cash windfall from the publicity the award will attract.
Other nominees, this year, included Indie bands, Snow Patrol,
Belle and Sebastian, R&B artist, Jamelia, and rap newcomer,
Ty, who is signed to the Big Dada label.
Franz Ferdinand had been 9/4 favourites to win, with bookmaker
They are now due to fly out to America for a tour.
The full list of nominees was as follows...
Mercury Music Prize 2004 shortlist in full:
Basement Jaxx - Kish Kash
Belle & Sebastian - Dear Catastrophe Waitress
Franz Ferdinand - Franz Ferdinand
Jamelia - Thank You
Keane - Hopes and Fears
Snow Patrol - Final Straw
Joss Stone - The Soul Sessions
The Streets - A Grand Don't Come for Free
Ty - Upwards
Amy Winehouse - Frank
Robert Wyatt - Cuckooland
The Zutons - Who Killed The Zutons?