PRIZE FIGHTERS!

The list of nominees are announced...

Doves and Streets

are joint favourites to win this year’s PANASONIC MERCURY MUSIC PRIZE, following the announcement of the nominees this morning (Tuesday, July 30).

Doves‘ Number One album ‘The Last Broadcast’ and Streets’ debut album ‘Original Pirate Material’ are the front runners to win among this year’s nominees, both at 4/1 with the bookies. The surprise name in the nominees for the 2001 Panasonic Mercury Music Prize is veteran rock star nominee David Bowie, whose new album ‘Heathen’ has revitalised his career. He is at 6/1 to win.

The nominees for the 2002 Panasonic Mercury Music Prize were announced by Jools Holland at the Commonwealth Club in central London this morning. UK garage star Miss Dynamite is also nominated, alongside newcomersCoral, Irish singer songwriter Gemma Hayes, young indie band Soulfly

and soul singer Beverley Knight. Outside bets this year include classical pianist Joanna McGregor, jazz trumpeter Guy Barker and psychedelic outfit The Bees.

The full list is:

Doves ‘The Last Broadcast’

The Streets ‘Original Pirate Material’

Miss Dynamite ‘A Little Deeper’

David Bowie ‘Heathen’

Beverley Knight ‘Who I Am’

Roots Manuva ‘Run Come Save Me’

The Coral ‘The Coral’

Electric Soft Parade ‘Holes In The Wall’

The Bees ‘Sunshine Hit Me’

Gemma Hayes ‘Night On My Side’

Joanna MacGregor ‘Play’

Guy Barker ‘Soundtrack’

Simon Frith, the Chair Of Judges, said: “This is the most joyful Mercury shortlist for years, suggesting a sea-change at the heart of British music. British artists are seizing the centre stage of contemporary urban music with snap and swagger, while the next generation of guitar bands mine the musical archive with a zest and vigour once only the province of DJs.”

The winner will be announced at this year’s 2002 Panasonic Mercury Music Prize on September 17. The 12 nominees were chosen from 180 albums. Only UK artists are eligible for the prize.

Do you think the Mercury shortlist focuses on the best of British music? Have any albums been overlooked? Should Idlewild, Starsailor or a resurgent Oasis have been amongst the nominees. Were [a][/a], So Solid Crew and Spiritualized wrongly blanked? Let us know what you think. Email your thoughts to news@nme.com.