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Page last updated at 06:53 GMT, Wednesday, 10 September 2008 07:53 UK
Why Elbow deserve Mercury Prize


by Colin Murray
Radio 1 DJ at the Mercury Prize

Tonight was the night when the people's favourite became the top dog.

The 2008 Nationwide Mercury Prize was won by Elbow, for their album The Seldom Seen Kid.

It's the first truly global recognition for a band who have spent 17 years filling our ears with tunes that swing from searing swells to hopeless delicacy.

Together, their consistency of song-writing often reaches levels that few can hold a candle to.

On the night, their performance of The Loneliness Of The Tower Crane Driver outshone all others, neared only by The Last Shadow Puppets.

Nationwide Mercury Prize is announced

Radiohead did not perform in the auditorium, which lessened the competition.

On the showbiz front, nobody fell through tables, broke bones, kicked paparazzi or threw a few stray right hooks.

Saying that, I left before the after-show, so I can't confirm that Adele DIDN'T punch out Alex Turner.

Some of the more surprising nominations seemed to be having a ball, none less so than British Sea Power, who I had in session on my show earlier in the year. Do You Like Rock Music? was sadly underrated at the time, but still made the top ten, and now many more thousands have been exposed to their sound thanks to the MMP. Happy days.

This year was the most open Mercury Prize ever - arguments could have been for any of the 12 records, although there were a few names on the list that forced me to pull my best baffled expression.

Colin Murray and Elbow
Colin Murray celebrates with Elbow backstage at the Mercury

The 2008 result still leaves one question unanswered… will Radiohead ever win the Mercury Music Prize? Well, I'm not sure it matters that much. For me, it was the best album on the list.

Saying that, Radiohead may lack awards but they do not need any help when it comes to album sales or recognition.

Elbow do quite well and sell a decent amount of records but far below what their songs merit.

This prize might go a considerable way to changing that and for that I am much happier seeing the strange flame-like trophy in their grubby paws.

The Mercury Prize is not perfect, but no awards are.

If you let the public decide, the winner is invariably the song or artist that appeals to the widest fan base.

So at least there is a gong out there that honours not only our established artists but shines a light on the likes of Burial and Portico Quartet - the latter of whom I hadn't even heard of... and that's my job!


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