Origin: Bury, England
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Elbow are an English rock band formed in Bury in 1997. The band consists of Guy Garvey (lead vocals, guitar), Craig Potter (keyboards, piano, backing vocals), Mark Potter (guitar, backing vocals) and Pete Turner (bass guitar, backing vocals).
The band has released seven studio albums that have all reached the top 15 of the British album charts. Seven of their singles placed in the top 40 of the British singles charts. In 2008, Elbow won the Mercury Music Prize for their album The Seldom Seen Kid and in 2009 they won the Brit Award for Best British Group. In 2012 their song “First Steps” became the BBC theme for the 2012 London Olympics.
Elbow’s musical style has been described as alternative rock, indie rock and progressive rock. Elbow has cited a number of influences on their music including Genesis (particularly in their Peter Gabriel incarnation), Talk Talk and Radiohead.
Elbow’s origins date back to when Garvey, then aged 16 met guitarist Mark Potter in 1990 while both were attending Bury College in Bury, Greater Manchester. Potter asked Garvey to sing in a band that he was in with bassist Pete Turner. They formed a band called “Soft.” Potter’s brother Craig joined on keyboards and the band played their first gig later that year.
In 1997 the band changed their name to ‘Elbow’ inspired by a line in a BBC TV drama in which a character describes the word “elbow” as the loveliest word in the English language. The band signed with Island Records and recorded their first album. However, when Island sold out to Universal Records the band was dropped and the album was not released.
Elbow’s debut album Asleep in the Back was released in 2001. Written over the course of six years the album earned the band a Brit Award nomination for Best New British Band.
In 2004 Elbow toured Cuba playing songs from their first two albums at venues in and around Havana. British documentary Irshad Ashraf filmed a large portion of the tour. The resulting short film was shown at film festivals in 2004, but remains commercially unavailable.
In 2007 Elbow broke through with the release of their fourth studio album; The Seldom Seen Kid. Released in 2008 the album sold more than a million copies. The album contained two award winning singles; “One Day Like This,” and “Grounds for Divorce.”
Elbow toured the world showcasing their new album that included opening for U2 during their August 2009 shows at London’s Wembley Stadium.
Elbow’s fifth studio album; 2011’s Build a Rocket Boys! hit at Number 2 on the UK Album charts, the highest of any record to date. The disc also earned the band their third nomination for the Mercury Prize.
In 2012 Elbow recorded a six-minute anthem with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra and the NovaVox Gospel Choir for use as the theme for the BBC’s 2012 Olympic coverage. The band was also chosen to perform at the games closing ceremonies. Elbow’s performance resulted in a catalog sales increase of more than a 1000%.
In early 2015 Garvey announced that the band various solo and group projects would delay the release of a new Elbow album. In the meantime in July of that year the band released the Lost Worker EP in order to tide fans over prior to a full album release.
In 2017 Elbow seventh album; Little Fictions topped the UK charts, marking the second time that they achieved that feat. Elbow kicked off a US Tour in support of the album with a sold out show in Boston, MA. The band performed songs from the album on The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon in November of that year.
In August 2019 Elbow released the single “Dexter & Sinister” on their official YouTube channel in advance of their eighth studio album Giants of All Sizes set for an October 2019 release.
Asleep in the Back (2001)
Cast of Thousands (2003)
Leaders of the Free World (2005)
The Seldom Seen Kids (2008)
Build a Rocket Boys! (2011)
Little Fictions (2017)
Giants of All Sizes (2019)
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Check out Elbow’s latest single “Dexter & Sinister.”