Today (20th September) the 2018 Hyundai Mercury Prize for ‘Album of the Year’ will be announced at a ceremony in London’s Eventim Apollo. You can view the shortlist here.
In celebration of the prize we’ve taken the opportunity to revisit some of its most iconic winners.
1. Primal Scream – Screamadelica (1992)
Glaswegian alternative rock group Primal Scream scooped the first Mercury prize in 1992 with their third studio album ‘Screamadelica’. Regularly featuring on critics polls of best records from the nineties, it was a departure from the indie sound of their previous releases drawing influence from house music. Released in September 1991, ‘Screamadelica’ was produced by house DJs Andrew Weatherall and Terry Farley.
2. Dizzee Rascal – Boy In Da Corner (2003)
The exposure Dizzee Rascal gained from winning the Mercury prize with his debut album propelled him to internationally known status, arguably the first UK rapper to achieve this. ‘Boy In Da Corner’ bought grime to the mainstream paving the way for numerous rappers.
3. PJ Harvey – Let England Shake (2011)
Recorded in a Dorset church, singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and poet PJ Harvey’s eighth studio album won the Mercury prize in 2011. It was also named album of the year by sixteen publications. Harvey is the only artist to win the Mercury prize twice (the first time with her fifth album ‘Stories from the City, Stories from the sea’).
4. Suede – Suede (1993)
Frequently cited as one of the first Brit Pop records, at the time of its release Suede’s self-titled album was the fastest selling debut in nearly a decade. The difficulty in establishing whether the kissing couple depicted on the artwork are the same or different genders complimented the androgyny and sexual ambiguity of the band.
5. Portishead – Dummy (1995)
Pioneers of Bristol’s trip hop scene, Portishead won the 1995 Mercury prize for their debut album ‘Dummy’. The album artwork is a still taken from the band’s short film ‘To Kill a Dead Man’, the soundtrack for which earned them their record deal.
6. Franz Ferdinand – Franz Ferdinand (2004)
Scottish art school band Franz Ferdinand released their debut album in 2004 to widespread critical acclaim. Often referred to as a post-punk revival act, the band’s self-titled album was energetic, suave, cool and intelligent.
7. Arctic Monkeys – Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006)
Sheffield Indie four-piece Arctic Monkeys were one of the first bands to be marketed as a new act almost exclusively on the internet. ‘Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not’ remains the fastest selling debut album in UK chart history and has been certified quintuple platinum by the BPI.
8. Young Fathers – Dead (2014)
Named after the fact that all three members share their Dads’ names, alternative hip-hop and pop trio Young Fathers won the Mercury prize in 2014 for their debut album ‘Dead’.
9. Antony & The Johnsons – I Am a Bird Now (2005)
Fronted by English singer-songwriter, composer and visual artist, Antony and The Johnsons won the 2005 Mercury prize with their sophomore album ‘I Am a Bird Now’. The cover art is a photograph of Warhol Superstar Candy Darling on her deathbed. Following its win the record shot from #135 to #16 in the UK album chart, the most significant chart position increase in the prize’s history.
10. Klaxons – Myths of The Near Future (2007)
The first in a trilogy of concept albums, ‘Myths of The Near Future’ takes the band’s fantasy vision of the future as its theme. The band’s dance friendly optimistic indie sound was heralded as ‘new rave’.