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James Blake Wins the 2013 Mercury Prize

The artist was honored tonight at an awards show in London

James Blake wins the Barclaycard Mercury Prize in London, England.
Rob Ball/WireImage
October 30, 2013 6:40 PM ET

James Blake won Great Britain's Barclaycard Mercury Prize tonight for his album Overgrown in a ceremony that was held at the Roundhouse in London, England. The prize includes a check for £20,000 (a little over $32,000) and a trophy. Blake performed "Retrograde" at the ceremony earlier in the evening, and it was widely reported that he had been introduced accidentally as James Blunt.

See Which Artist Won the 2012 Mercury Prize

The Mercury Prize honors the best British album over the past year, as chosen by a panel of music critics and industry insiders. The prize committee announced its shortlist of Albums of the Year in September. It contained 12 LPs by Arctic Monkeys, James Blake, David Bowie, Disclosure, Foals, Jake Bugg, Jon Hopkins, Laura Marling, Laura Mvula, Rudimental, Savages and Villagers.

Rolling Stone's review of Blake's album Overgrown, which matches R&B hooks with EDM fourishes, lauded the record since "Blake toned down the twitchiness and concentrated on the tunes," compared to his 2011 self-titled debut. It also singled out "Retrograde," which the artist performed this year on Letterman, as a "surging torch ballad," saying the album "holds you in its spell." Part of the magic comes from the fact that Ovegrown features some notable guests, including RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan on "Take a Fall for Me" and some production work by Brian Eno on "Digital Lion." One of its songs, "Life Round Here," later got attention for a remix that featured Chance the Rapper.

Read Our Review of James Blake and Chance the Rapper's Song "Life Round Here"

The awards show featured performances from many of the other artists on the shortlist, including Foals, Jake Bugg, Savages, Rudimental, Disclosure, Villagers, James Blake, Jon Hopkins and Arctic Monkeys. David Bowie chose not to attend, according to the NME, but instead premiered a video for "Love Is Lost," off his Mercury-nominated album The Next Day. The video cost an esitmated $13 to produce and features puppets.

Last year, the Mercury Prize went to Alt-J for their album, An Awesome Wave. Previous winners have included PJ Harvey for two LPs (Let England Shake and Stories From the City, Stories From the Sea), the xx for xx, Arctic Monkeys for Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not and Franz Ferdinand for their self-titled album. The eligible Albums of the Year for 2013 were:

Arctic Monkeys, AM
David Bowie, The Next Day
James Blake, Overgrown
Jake Bugg, Jake Bugg
Disclosure, Settle
Foals, Holy Fire
Jon Hopkins, Immunity 
Laura Marling, Once I Was an Eagle
Laura Mvula, Sing to the Moon
Rudimental, Home
Savages, Silence Yourself
Villagers, Awayland

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“Whoomp! (There It Is)”

Tag Team | 1993

Cecil Glenn — a.k.a., "D.C." — was a cook at Magic City, a nude dance club in Atlanta, when he first heard women shout "Whoomp — there it is!" Inspired by the party chant, he and partner Steve "Roll'n" Gibson wrote a song around it. Undaunted by label rejections, they borrowed $2,500 from Glenn's parents and pressed 800 singles, which quickly sold out in the Atlanta area. A record deal came soon after. Glenn said the song was meant for positive partying. "If you're going to say 'Whoomp there it is,' and you're doing something negative, we'd rather it not have come out of your mouth."

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