Elbow Wins Mercury Prize

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

English alt-rock quintet Elbow pulled a major upset last night to win this year’s Nationwide Mercury Prize, an annual award that honors the best album of the year by British and Irish artists. The group edged out 11 other nominees, including favorites Radiohead, Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, and the mysterious rapper Burial (identity recently revealed as Will Bevan), with its latest release “The Seldom Seen Kid,” on Fiction/Polydor Records.

English alt-rock quintet Elbow pulled a major upset last night to win this year’s Nationwide Mercury Prize, an annual award that honors the best album of the year by British and Irish artists. The group edged out 11 other nominees, including favorites Radiohead, Alison Krauss and Robert Plant, and the mysterious rapper Burial (identity recently revealed as Will Bevan), with its latest release “The Seldom Seen Kid,” on Fiction/Polydor Records. The acclaimed record was the 18-year-old band’s fourth release, and came seven years after a previous nomination for the award.

As the crowd in London’s Grosvenor House Hotel went wild, frontman Guy Garvey said in an emotional acceptance speech, “This is quite literally the best thing that’s ever happened to us. 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.”

The judges had some great things to say as well. Rock critic Jude Rodgers declared that “It’s beautiful, it’s romantic, it’s dark, it’s gorgeous, it’s just a really, really wonderful record,” while NME magazine editor Connor McNicholas said that “Guy Garvey’s a hero. He’s the drunken poet at the end of the bar, who just has this aura of cool, and they’ve had it for years.”

With this award under their collective belt, Elbow may finally be able to turn long-standing critical support into major commercial success.

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