The winner of the Mercury Music Prize--one of Britain's most prestigious musical honors--was announced today. And Manchester melancholists Elbow--seven long years after their debut album was nominated for a Mercury but lost to PJ Harvey--won this year's Mercury honors (and about $40,000) with their critically acclaimed fourth release, The Seldom Seen Kid
. The Northern English five-piece beat out surefire favorites like Radiohead and the bookie-tipped Burial, and in the process joined the ranks of past champs like Pulp, Primal Scream, Portishead, Franz Ferdinand, and the Arctic Monkeys (and, um, M People, but we have a feeling that Elbow will not follow M People's quickly obscured path).
According to NME.com, singer Guy Garvey declared this victory "the best thing that's ever happened to us," and admitted he'd bet "a tenner on Radiohead" to win. "It just feels great, very unexpected. You look at it in the same way as Bedouin tribes look at a pint of milk. It doesn't happen very often, but it's all the sweeter.
"It's been a long time we've been doing it, so it's cause for celebration. To the rest of the lads, I'm so proud to do it with it with my best mates," Guy added sweetly.
Guy wasn't kidding when he said Elbow have been doing this a long time. The Seldom Seen Kid
is the perennial underdog band's greatest artistic triumph after switching record labels several times, being forced to re-record their music for legal reasons, and losing their dear musician friend Brian Glancy (who inspired their winning album's title, and was thanked in the band's Mercury acceptance speech tonight).
Here's an archive interview from 2001, featuring three-fifths of Elbow discussing their many past music-biz troubles:
And here are a couple triumphant videos from the The Seldom Seen Kid:
Well done, lads. Congratulations. Surely Brian Glancy would be proud.
- Arts & Entertainment