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The 2017 winner is announced tonight... But sometimes classic albums don't always make it to the last post. Radio X looks at the times when the greats don't always finish first.
The album that catapulted Britpop into the mainstream was not worthy of the prize, so just stop banging on about it!
Everyone though that the Thin White Duke’s final album was a surefire winner in 2016 following the superstar’s death that January, but with grime in the ascendent, Skepta nailed it with his fourth album Konnichiwa. We think Bowie would have appreciated Skepta’s win, anyway.
In 2010 Mumford & Sons had the Mercury stolen from them by The xx and their eponymous debut. While The xx went on to tour all round the world and headline the Other Stage at Glastonbury, Mumford & Sons headlined the PYRAMID STAGE the same year. How d'ya like them apples?!
Now don't get us wrong, we all love Gomez. Whippin' Piccadilly? Tune. But to say their 1998 Bring It On LP is better than Pulp's cult classic This Is Hardcore is a musical crime. Luckily, Pulp won the prize in 1996 with Different Class, so we'll let Mercury off with a warning.
Urban Hymns, one of the best UK selling records of all time, was also rejected by the Mercury panel in 1998, in favour of Gomez.
2005 was Bloc Party's year; their debut, Silent Alarm, was already being labelled as one of the noughties' most important records. But…somehow…in what must have been a "too many drinks at the pub last night" decision, the tear-drenched Anthony & The Johnsons won the award. Poor Kele.
Whatever you thought about her personal life, Amy Winehouse was a rare songwriting talent with a voice that will echo through the ages. Back To Black was a record full of personal torment, struggles with addiction, and more soul than a Motown club night. But was it BETTER than the efforts of nu-rave pioneers Klaxons? No, according to Mercury. Myths Of The Near Future won the gong.
The Fat Of The Land was The Prodigy record that told the world they were here to stay. It had some stiff competition for the prize in 1997. As well as electronic peers The Chemical Brothers, bands like Primal Scream, Radiohead & Suede were also up for it. But to lose to Roni Size/Reprazent must have really stung.
Coldplay's reserved and understated debut saw them hit the ground running, But it was the busking and behatted Badly Drawn Boy who won in 2000. Ahhh never mind, Chris Martin. Maybe your next record?
Just…how? Pulp's Different Class trounced the Gallaghers to the winners' podium. Darn it!
Nope! A Rush Of Blood To The Head was beaten by Dizzee Rascal's Boy In Da Corner.
The fifth Arctic Monkeys album basically took a sledgehammer to every other record released around it. But Mercury deemed James Blake's moody post-dubstep second album far superior.
The Welsh rockers lost out in 1999 took Talvin Singh's OK. We genuinely have absolutely no idea who that is.
As well as having dance classic Block Rockin' Beats as its opener, Dig Your Own Hole also featured Gallagher Senior and Beth Orton on vocals. The album went to number in the UK Charts and had two number one singles on its track list. It's easily one of the most important dance records of all time and even ended up making them the first EVER DJs to headline Glastonbury Festival. But does it stand up to the majesty of Roni Size/Reprazent? No chance.
OK Computer often tops Greatest Album Of All Time lists, but according to Mercury the era defining record just wasn't as good as Ronzi Size/Reprazent's New Forms (no, we haven't either…). Radiohead have actually been nominated for the Mercury FOUR times, and Thom Yorke has even bagged a nod for his solo record The Eraser, and they've NEVER won anything. Surely Radiohead just throw the invitation in the (paper recycle) bin now?
It was an intense slab of music that was well ahead of its time, but Music For The Jilted Generation had nothing on the slick pop soul of M People. Altogether now: "I'm movin' on up, you're movin' on out..."
Kelly Jones' second album moved on from the small town tales of debut Word Gets Around. It showed a maturity but, more than that, Jones' songwriting perfectly captured British rock in the 90s coming to a steady end. But forget that, because apparently according to Mercury everyone was all off listening to the fusion of Indian classical music and drum and bass that Talvin Singh put together. Yeah...
Florence Welch's anthemic augmented debut was inescapable in 2005, whereas the Mercury'winner, Speech Debelle, was pretty much impossible to find.
Mike Skinner must have arrogantly laughed to himself when he saw the 2004 shortlist. "Jamelia? Keane? Basement Jaxx? Joss Stone?! This is in the bag," he surely thought. His Jack-The-Lad concept album lost out to Franz Ferdinand, however, and he joined the great list of Mercury losers.
We're pretty sure Paul Smith still hasn't gotten over losing to Anthony And The Johnsons in 2005.
Parklife was up for the gong in 1994 but lost out to M People. Sure, we all love This Is A Low and Girls And Boys, but can it really stand up to Moving On Up and One Night In Heaven - not according to Mercury.