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Last Updated: Tuesday, 5 September 2006, 22:45 GMT 23:45 UK
Arctic Monkeys win Mercury prize
Arctic Monkeys
Arctic Monkeys were favourites to win the 20,000 prize

Arctic Monkeys have won this year's Mercury Prize for their album Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not.

The Sheffield-based band, whose album became the fastest-selling debut in the UK in February, were strong favourites to take the award.

Accepting the award, lead singer Alex Turner said their success was down to "good tunes" and "no tricks."

The band added that they were "surprised, honoured but very pleased" to win the 20,000 award.

The win caps a remarkable 12 months for Arctic Monkeys, nearly a year since their single, I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor, reached number one in the UK.

Their album became the fastest-selling debut in chart history, shifting more than 360,000 copies in its first week.

Collecting the award from host Jools Holland, Turner joked: "Someone call 999 - Richard Hawley has been robbed.

Scritti Politti's lead singer, Green Gartside
Scritti Politti's Green Gartside said it was good to be back on stage

He added: "Thanks everyone, thanks so much everyone that helped us. We are a bit surprised because normally it doesn't go to a band that has sold as many records as we have.

"We're very, very pleased because it's just good tunes, that's what we try to do. There are no tricks. Too many people try to do too many tricks."

The Mercury Music Prize was voted for by a panel of industry experts, journalists and artists, and is said to reward originality and creativity rather than sales success.

The judges described the Arctic Monkey's album as "great songs, astonishingly performed. Essential".

More than 200 albums were considered for the 2006 prize, which is awarded for the best album of the year by a British or Irish act.

Arctic Monkeys were up against nominees including Muse, Editors, Thom Yorke, Richard Hawley, The Guillemots and Hot Chip.

Zoe Rahman performing
Zoe Rahman was among those who performed at the ceremony

The other contenders for the prize were Lou Rhodes, jazz pianist Zoe Rahman, Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan, rapper Sway and Scritti Politti - who last experienced major success in the mid-1980s.

Arriving at London's Grosvenor House Hotel for the ceremony, Scritti Politti's lead singer, Green Gartside, told the BBC he was looking forward to performing with the band for the first time in years.

"Twenty-six years between gigs, which is probably long enough and it's just fantastic.

"It's a real, it's a real thrill to find out that I can get back up on a stage and that I can sing, after a fashion, and I can enjoy it - most of all that's what's really cool."

Other performers at the ceremony included Thom Yorke, Hot Chip and the Guillemots.

The Mercury Prize was first awarded in 1992 and past winners have included Primal Scream, Suede, Pulp, Franz Ferdinand and Antony And The Johnsons.

Mercury Prize shortlist:

Arctic Monkeys - Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
Muse - Black Holes and Revelations
Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan - Ballad of the Broken Seas
Zoe Rahman - Melting Pot
Editors - The Back Room
Lou Rhodes - Beloved One
The Guillemots - Through the Windowpane
Scritti Politti - White Bread, Black Beer
Richard Hawley - Coles Corner
Sway - This Is My Demo
Hot Chip - The Warning
Thom Yorke - The Eraser


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