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Monday, 3 September, 2001, 10:30 GMT 11:30 UK
Gorillaz taken off Mercury list
Gorillaz wanted "some other Muppet" to be nominated
Damon Albarn's latest band Gorillaz have been taken off the shortlist for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize after the group said they did not want to win the award.

Organisers say they have "officially accepted" the band's resignation from the shortlist of bands in the running to be awarded for making the album of the year.

 Watch a clip of Clint Eastwood from the album Gorillaz

The Gorillaz album was made bookmakers' favourites when the nominations were announced in July - but cartoon bassist Murdoc described the nomination as "like carrying a dead albatross round your neck for eternity".

Technics Mercury Music Prize nominees
Basement Jaxx - Rooty
Elbow - Asleep in the Back
Goldfrapp - Felt Mountain
Ed Harcourt - Here Be Monsters
PJ Harvey - Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea
Tom McRae - Tom McRae
Radiohead - Amnesiac
Susheela Raman - Salt Rain
Super Furry Animals - Rings Around the World
Turin Brakes - The Optimist LP
Zero 7 - Simple Things
At the time, record company executives said they would not withdraw the album.

But now the Prize's organisers say those at the label changed their minds and so the band has been removed from the shortlist.

Among the remaining nominees are Radiohead, Basement Jaxx, Super Furry Animals, Elbow, Zero 7 and Goldfrapp.

Gorillaz, who have had hits with singles Clint Eastwood and 19-2000, are a "virtual band" of cartoon characters created by artists including Blur's Albarn and hip-hop hero Dan "The Automator" Nakamura.

Fictional bass player Murdoc said the nomination "sounds a bit heavy" when the shortlist was announced.

"No thanks man. Why don't you nominate some other poor Muppet," he said in a statement.

PJ Harvey
PJ Harvey: Nominated twice before
But their record label Parlophone refused to withdraw them at the time.

Parlophone's managing director Keith Wozencroft said: "I feel that the Gorillaz have made a fantastic album, and that is why I entered it for the Mercury Music Prize."

The shortlist - which now comprises 11 albums - is intended to reflect musical excellence rather than sales or popularity.

A panel of music industry judges will pick the album they think is the best British or Irish release of the year.

Past Mercury winners
1992 Primal Scream
1993 Suede
1994 M People
1995 Portishead
1996 Pulp
1997 Roni Size & Reprazent
1998 Gomez
1999 Talvin Singh
2000 Badly Drawn Boy
Commercial successes like U2 and Craig David are absent and there is also no room for any folk, jazz or classical albums.

But the publicity boost from a Mercury nomination usually guarantees a sales boost of between 20% and 100%.

Last year the 20,000 prize went to Damon Gough, better known as Badly Drawn Boy, for his low-key offering The Hour Of Bewilderbeast.

For the first time this year the event will be broadcast by Channel 4, with a special 90-minute programme to be screened on 12 September.

As in previous years, the Mercury Prize show will also be broadcast on BBC Radio 1.

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