Chart veteran David Bowie’s comeback album after a 10-year absence has been shortlisted for the Barclaycard Mercury Prize, alongside acts such as teenager Jake Bugg.
Bowie, who surprised fans by returning to music with his The Next Day album, has been ranked joint favourite to take the award, alongside past winners Arctic Monkeys, who are nominated for their fifth release, AM.
The 12-strong list includes seven acts who have previously featured on the shortlist since the prize was launched in 1992. Arctic Monkeys – who took the prize in 2006 – and singer-songwriter Laura Marling each make it on to the list for a third time, while Foals, James Blake and Villagers are among those who make their second appearance in the nominations list.
Bowie, who was previously up for the prize in 2002 for his album Heathen, is the oldest figure on the list and at 66 is the joint oldest nominee ever in the running. Jazz pianist Stan Tracey was the same age when he was shortlisted in 1993 for his album Portraits Plus.
Once a prolific pace-setter, Bowie had withdrawn almost entirely from the public eye in recent years and had released no albums for a decade.
But without warning earlier this year, he suddenly released a single, Where Are We Now?, and announced his comeback album which was warmly received by fans and critics, as were the accompanying videos.
There have been persistent rumours of ill-health for the New York-based British star, but these have been repeatedly denied by his representatives.
The list, which includes five debuts by the likes of 19-year-old Bugg and Disclosure, was drawn from 220 albums submitted to the judging panel. Nominees were announced at an event in London’s Hospital Club. The other first-timers are Savages, Laura Mvula and Rudimental.
Inclusion on the shortlist usually ensures an instant boost in sales for nominated artists, who hope to emulate last year’s winner Alt-J who triumphed with debut An Awesome Wave. Other winners over the years have included Elbow, Klaxons and two-time winner PJ Harvey.
Electronica act Jon Hopkins was previously nominated for the Mercury for his collaboration with King Creosote, called Diamond Mine, but this is his first time in his own right.
The £20,000 (€23,600) prize is open to British and Irish acts and aims to reward the best album of the year. It will be awarded on October 30 in a ceremony at the Roundhouse venue in London
Chairman of the judging panel Simon Frith said: “This year’s Barclaycard Mercury Prize shortlist celebrates a fascinating year for British and Irish music, marked by a wonderful range of musical voices – urgent, reflective, upbeat and tender, acoustic and electronic, and all with something intriguing to say.”
Bookmaker William Hill puts both Bowie and Arctic Monkeys at 4-1. Rupert Adams, spokesman for the firm, said: “On paper it looks like a straight fight between Bowie and Arctic Monkeys, but the Mercury does not do predictable and there is some good value around.”
The nominated artists and albums (with William Hill odds in brackets) are:
:: Arctic Monkeys – AM (4/1)
:: David Bowie – The Next Day (4/1)
:: Foals – Holy Fire (5/1)
:: Laura Marling – Once I Was an Eagle (5/1)
:: Disclosure – Settle (7/1)
:: James Blake – Overgrown (7/1)
:: Jake Bugg – Jake Bugg (8/1)
:: Rudimental – Home (8/1)
:: Laura Mvula – Sing To The Moon (8/1)
:: Jon Hopkins – Immunity (10/1)
:: Savages – Silence Yourself (10/1)
:: Villagers – Awayland (10/1)