Rockers Elbow win Mercury prize

The group Elbow celebrate after winning the Mercury Prize at the award ceremony, in London on September 9, 2008. REUTERS/Kieran Doherty

LONDON (Reuters) - Rock outsiders Elbow have joined music’s elite after winning the prestigious Nationwide Mercury Prize for their fourth album “The Seldom Seen Kid”.

The band beat eleven other nominees including rapper Estelle, jazz singer Adele and indie band Radiohead to the 20,000-pound prize at a ceremony hosted by musician Jools Holland on Monday night.

“I know I’m supposed to be cool and say something coy, but this is quite literally the best thing that’s ever happened to us,” Elbow lead singer Guy Garvey said in an acceptance speech.

The five-piece band formed in Bury, northwest England, in 1991 but did not release their debut album “Asleep in the Black” until a decade later.

They have won critical acclaim for their brand of symphonic rock, and were a Mercury nominee back in 2001, but have yet to scale the pinnacle of the British music charts

However, two of their albums, including “The Seldom Seen Kid” have reached the top 10 and they have enjoyed three top 20 singles.

The Mercury, first awarded in 1992, concentrates on music quality rather than volume of sales.

Its judges have a reputation for picking quirky and offbeat winners rather than chart-topping blockbusters.

Previous winners included Primal Scream, Suede, Pulp, Ms Dynamite, the Klaxons, Franz Ferdinand and Antony and the Johnsons.

Reporting by Anna Legge and Tim Castle