Page last updated at 23:33 GMT, Tuesday, 9 September 2008 00:33 UK

Elbow elated at Mercury Prize win

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Nationwide Mercury Prize is announced

Rock group Elbow have scooped the Nationwide Mercury Prize for the best British album of the past year.

The award, for the band's fourth studio album The Seldom Seen Kid, comes 18 years after they formed and seven years after their first nomination.

The Manchester fivesome beat 11 other contenders, including Radiohead, Adele and Burial, to the 20,000 prize.

"This is quite literally the best thing that's ever happened to us," singer Guy Garvey told the ceremony in London.

The band formed in 1990 but it took a decade for them to release their acclaimed debut album Asleep In The Back.

It's beautiful, it's romantic, it's dark, it's gorgeous, it's just a really, really wonderful record
Jude Rogers
Mercury judge

That was nominated for the Mercury Prize in 2001, and the group have remained critical favourites ever since.

The Seldom Seen Kid reached number five in the UK album chart when it came out in March, their most successful release to date.

The Mercury victory is likely to catapult it back up the chart and could see the band finally translate critical acclaim into commercial success.

Musician Jools Hollands presented the group with their prize at London's Grosvenor House Hotel.

"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," Garvey said.

Garvey dedicated the award to the band's friend Bryan Glancy, who died in 2006.

The singer called him "one of the greatest men who ever lived".

NME magazine editor Conor McNicholas, one of the judges, said the album was "something that you fall in love with, and it feels like falling in love".

"It's incredibly emotional, but it's not self indulgent at all," he said.

"The album's that good that you will go back to it in years to come and there's some albums on the list that you couldn't say that about.

"And 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."

Neon Neon
Neon Neon arrived wearing medallions made of Lego

Rock critic Jude Rogers, another judge, added: "It's such a passionate record, it's from the heart, it's from the gut.

"It's beautiful, it's romantic, it's dark, it's gorgeous, it's just a really, really wonderful record."

Mysterious dubstep musician Burial, who only recently revealed his true identity, had been the bookmakers' favourite with his record Untrue.

The artist - real name Will Bevan - did not attend the event.

Chart favourites Adele and Estelle was also nominated, along with guitar group British Sea Power.

The Last Shadow Puppets, the side project of Arctic Monkeys frontman Alex Turner and Miles Kane of The Rascals, opened the ceremony with a performance.

Neon Neon, nominated for their record Stainless Style, brightened up the show by wearing medallions made of Lego.

Robert Plant and Alison Krauss, Rachel Unthank and the Winterset, Laura Marling and The Portico Quartet were also nominated.

The shortlist of 12 albums of the year was chosen by a panel of musicians, producers, presenters and music journalists.

The decision is based solely on the musical merit rather than sales success, organisers said.

Albums made by British or Irish artists and released between July 2007 and July 2008 were eligible for this year's prize.

Previous winners include Klaxons, Arctic Monkeys, Antony and the Johnsons and Dizzee Rascal.


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