Gorillaz resign from Mercury prize list

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The Independent Culture

The organisers of the Mercury Music Prize yesterday officially accepted the resignation of Damon Albarn's band Gorillaz from the prize shortlist.

The band, which features the former Blur frontman, had greeted their nomination with derision when the shortlist was published in July, and immediately made clear they did not want to take part.

Their record company, Parlophone, which had entered them for the prize, initially refused to withdraw the band's platinum-selling debut album from the prestigious awards.

But the band's insistence yesterday resulted in its formal removal from the shortlist, leaving 11 bands to battle it out for the £20,000 prize, awarded to the best album of the year.

Gorillaz appear as cartoon characters in their videos and live performances and they were installed as early favourites to take the prize, won last year by Badly Drawn Boy for the album The Hour of the Bewilderbeast.

But Gorillaz's fictional bass player, Murdoc, then dismissed the nomination: "Mercury Award? Sounds a bit heavy man, y'know sorta like carrying a dead albatross round your neck for eternity. No thanks, man, why don't you nominate some other poor Muppet?"

Other shortlisted artists remaining in the running include Radiohead, Basement Jaxx, Super Furry Animals and PJ Harvey. The winner, chosen by a panel of industry experts, will be announced next week.