Arctic Monkeys win Mercury prize

Hit band the Arctic Monkeys are £20,000 (€29,550) richer today after a coveted music prize.

Hit band the Arctic Monkeys are £20,000 (€29,550) richer today after a coveted music prize.

The Sheffield-based band were favourites to win the Nationwide Mercury Prize for their debut album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not at last night’s awards ceremony.

But the news still came as a surprise as Mercury judges are notorious for confounding public expectations.

The band built their fanbase via the internet and burst onto the music scene with the single I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor.

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

The shocked band said the prize should have gone to a fellow nominee from Sheffield.

On receiving their prize, they joked: “Somebody call 999. Richard Hawley’s been robbed.”

They thanked everyone who had helped them, adding: “We’re very, very pleased because it’s just good tunes, that’s what we try to do.”

At a press conference following the ceremony, lead singer Alex Turner added: “We deserved it because we had the best record.”

This year’s list of 12 nominees was selected from a total of more than 200 albums.

It included a comeback by 80s act Scritti Politti. Guillemots, grime artist Sway and Radiohead’s frontman Thom Yorke.

As well as benefiting from the £20,000 cheque, the Arctic Monkeys will see their album sales rocket as a result of the exposure.

The Arctic Monkeys also beat London-based band Hot Chip, Muse, jazz pianist Zoe Rahman, singer-songwriter Lou Rhodes, which is one half of 90s musical duo Lamb, Scottish singer Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan for their collaboration.

Last night’s event at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London’s Park Lane featured performnces by the likes of Thom Yorke, Hot Chip and the Guillemots.

The prize has been running since 1992 and past winners have included Primal Scream, Suede, Pulp, Ms Dynamite, Franz Ferdinand and last year Antony And The Johnsons. Bookmakers have made the Arctic Monkeys the 5-6 favourite to take the title.

The group usually snub award ceremonies but have already picked up several gongs, including Best British Band at the NMEs and Best British Breakthrough Act at the Brits.

It was recently announced that bassist Andy Nicholson had left the group. He had earlier dropped out of their US tour citing fatigue.

The judges described their debut album as “great songs, astonishingly performed. Essential”.

The young band built their reputation online and through live shows before signing to Domino Records in June last year and having phenomenal success with the hit I Bet You Look Good On The Dance Floor, and other single, When The Sun Goes Down.

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