20 Great Albums That Didn’t Win The Mercury Prize


Oasis’ debut ‘Definitely Maybe’ was massive when it was released in 1994. Going straight to number 1 in the charts, it became the fastest selling debut of all time in the UK and then went 7x Platinum. It was voted the best album of all time in a 2006 poll run by NME. Despite all the critical and commercial success, it lost out to Portishead’s ‘Dummy’ at the 1995 Mercury Awards.


Despite losing out to Portishead, Tricky’s trip-hop debut ‘Maxinquaye’ was hugely popular with critics on its release in 1995. Coming in at number one of NME’s 50 Album’s of the Year for 1995, it featured in greatest album of the ‘90’s lists everywhere including Rolling Stone, Melody Maker, Spin and Q.


‘Back To Black’ picked up several accolades when it was released in 2007, including the Grammy for Best Pop Vocal Album, while single ‘Rehab’ picked up Record of the Year and Song of the Year alongside the Ivor Novello Award for Best Contemporary Song. Amy Winehouse, who’d previously been nominated in 2004 for ‘Frank’, lost out again in 2007 to Klaxons’ ‘Myths Of The Near Future’.



Mumford & Sons’ ‘Sigh No More’ enjoyed success in the UK and the US when it was released in 2009, reaching number 2 on the Billboard 200. It was also awarded the Best British Album at the Brits in 2011. Despite all this, it was still beaten by The xx at the 2010 Mercury Awards.


Yet another album beaten by M People, Pulp’s breakthrough album ‘His ‘N’ Hers’ was well received. NME’s Simon Williams’ described it as ‘implausibly fresh and indecently frenzied’, giving it an 8/10. The band were luckier next time around, winning the prize in 1996 for ‘Different Class’.