Elbow are a British alternative rock band. Members of the band first played together in 1990 at The Corner Pin pub in Ramsbottom, Bury, a borough of Greater Manchester. The band currently retain their original line-up of lead vocalist and lyricist Guy Garvey, guitarist Mark Potter, keyboardist Craig Potter, bassist Pete Turner and drummer Richard Jupp. They have released four (top twenty) studio albums, three EPs (Noisebox, Newborn and Any Day Now) and seven top forty singles in the UK. The band is named after a line in the BBC TV drama "The Singing Detective". A character (Philip Marlowe) says that the word "elbow" is the most sensuous word in the English language; not for its definition, but for how it feels to say it.
Acclaimed for their innovative sound and front-man Guy Garvey's evocative candid lyrics. Elbow have received vast critical acclaim and been endorsed by major artists Radiohead, Coldplay, Blur, R.E.M. and U2despite minor commercial success during much of their career. The Velvet Underground's co-founder John Cale selected Elbow's "Switching Off" as one of his eight chosen songs on the BBC's Desert Island Discs radio programme. The band won the 2008 Mercury Music Prize for their fourth album, "The Seldom Seen Kid".
On 22nd December 2010, Elbow announced the release of their fifth studio album, "Build a Rocket Boys!", to be released on 7th March 2011.
Lead singer Guy Garvey met guitarist Mark Potter at Stand College in 1990 at the age of 16. Potter asked Garvey to sing in a band he was in with drummer Richard Jupp and bassist Pete Turner. Together, the four men formed the band Mr. Soft. (The name was later changed to Soft.) Mark Potter's brother Craig Potter joined the band soon after on keyboards. By 1997, they had changed their name a third time to Elbow, signed a deal with Island Records, and recorded their début album with producer Steve Osborne. However, when Island was bought out by major label Universal, the band was dropped in a mass cull and the album never released. They continued to record on the iconic independent label Ugly Man, and released "The Newborn EP", and "The Any Day Now EP", which were given extensive airplay by BBC Radio 1.
Their debut album, "Asleep in the Back", released on V2 in 2001, was hailed as a seminal album of the new millennium, gaining them a Mercury Music Prize nomination and a BRIT Award nomination. Their second album, "Cast of Thousands" sealed their reputation as innovators in UK music. The title is a reference to their performance at Glastonbury in 2002, when they recorded thousands of people singing, "We still believe in love, so fuck you". That recording was featured on the song Grace Under Pressure.
In 2004, Elbow went on a tour of Cuba, playing songs from "Asleep in the Back" and "Cast of Thousands" at venues in and around Havana. British documentary maker Irshad Ashraf was present on the tour and filmed a large portion of it. The resulting short film was shown at festivals in 2004, but remains commercially unavailable. Their acoustic cover of Destiny's Child's "Independent Women", recorded exclusively for a BBC Radio 1 session, was turned into a popular web animation by Rathergood.com's Joel Veitch. The animation features a band of flat-capped northern kittens "performing" the song. In the same year, their song "Fallen Angel" appeared in the film "9 Songs".
Elbow's innovation in the studio has invited work with other bands, notably Editors and I Am Kloot, the latter's début album being produced by Guy Garvey. Their third album, "Leaders of the Free World", was entirely self-produced at Blueprint Studios in Salford, a space the band hired for the duration of their recording sessions. They teamed up with video artists The Soup Collective to produce an integrated music and video DVD. The band contributed the song "Snowball" to the 2005 War Child benefit album "Help - A Day in the Life". In addition, an unreleased track titled "Beat for Two" was used in the closing titles of the 2004 film "Inside I'm Dancing". Garvey also returned to I Am Kloot as co-producer for their single "Maybe I Should". He continues to work closely with Manchester indie label Skinny Dog.
In 2006 the band moved to Fiction Records and completed their fourth studio album, "The Seldom Seen Kid" in late 2007, which was produced and mixed by keyboard player Craig Potter. The Album released March 2008 has sold over 1 million copies to date. The song "Grounds for Divorce" from this album is featured on the trailer for the Coen Brothers' film "Burn After Reading" starring Brad Pitt, George Clooney, and John Malkovich. The song is also featured in the 30 second TV Spot for Valve's zombie apocalypse game Left 4 Dead, as the trailer song for the twelfth series of Top Gear, on the promotional adverts for the sixth series of House and many other adverts on various TV channels. Since the June 2008 release of the song "One Day Like This" it has been used in sport coverage for both ITV and BBC including the Beijing Olympics 2008, as well as ads for the upcoming film "The Soloist." The song was also used during the final of Big Brother 9 and reached number 35 in the UK singles chart.
On 9 September 2008, Elbow won the Mercury Music Prize for "The Seldom Seen Kid". The award was presented to them by Jools Holland. The band are currently writing songs and are in the studio recording their fifth album, which is planned for release in early 2011, along with a UK-wide arena tour in March 2011
In 2009, Elbow contributed to War Child's Heroes album, covering U2’s "Running to Stand Still". Garvey said: "When the band first met each other aged 17, Mark and Craig’s father Gareth would lend us his Volvo to get our gear around. It seemed that for a year and a half all that we listened to in that car was "Rattle and Hum". I remember the excitement every time a U2 album was released, we just loved them. The first song we ever covered together before we had enough of our own songs to do a performance was 'Running To Stand Still'. For ‘Heroes’ we've changed the order of things but kept every musical theme in the song. We wrote it with the members of U2 in mind. War Child do exactly what it says on the tin. These kids shouldn't be in such circumstances in the first place, but they are, so thank god someone's doing something about it.”
In May 2009, the band won two prestigious Ivor Novello awards: the song 'One Day Like This' won the main award for Best Song, and 'Grounds for Divorce' was voted Best Contemporary Song.
Their fifth album had a working title 'Lippy Kids'. Guy Garvey told BBC 6 Music's Shaun Keaveney "It's quite a nostalgic thing. I've got a thing about growing up, Not needing to! But a certain period of your life when - well kids are called 'hoodies' these days aren't they when they reach their teens. I remember it being an amazing important time, so I've written a lot about that." It is slated for an early 2011 release.
The band confirmed on their website and Facebook page on 22nd December 2010 that the album is titled Build A Rocket Boys! and will be released on 7th March 2011.
In summer 2006, Elbow headlined the Ukula Bright Lights Festival in Toronto's Distillery District. Asked before the show about what he thought about his Manchester-influenced imagery in his songs, Guy Garvey said, "I think lyrics are one of the tools of the box in order to try to get the feeling across. I don’t think it matters if you use local imagery as long as it’s part of the bigger picture."
Elbow and Bournemouth-based band Air Traffic embarked on an extensive North American tour in May 2008, which was greatly received by the media including Blender and Spin magazine. Elbow performed at Delamere Forest in Cheshire on 14 June 2008 as part of the Forestry Commission's 2008 music tours. They were supported by I Am Kloot. The band commented before the show, "We always love playing gigs in unusual places. We've never done a gig in a forest before so we're really looking forward to it."
Elbow appeared on the Other Stage at the Glastonbury Festival on 28 June 2008, joined on stage by many violinists and cellists. They performed in the Obelisk Arena at the Latitude Festival on 19 July 2008. In August, They played at the Electric Picnic festival. On 9 September, the performed at the National Movie Awards broadcast on ITV. On 23 September Elbow appeared on BBC2's "Later Live" show hosted by Jools Holland.
Elbow exclusively performed their album "The Seldom Seen Kid" for BBC Radio 2 and BBC 6 Music with the BBC Concert Orchestra and London-based chamber choir Chantage at the Abbey Road Studios on 17 January 2009 (first broadcast on 31 January 2009).
They played Brighton Dome on 28 February 2009. Guy said "You need forgiveness when you've been in a band this long,". Elbow started with "Starlings" followed by "The Bones Of You" and after a scattering of songs from Leaders of the Free World, "Asleep in the Back" and Seldom Seen Kid, ended their encore with "Newborn" and "Scattered Black & Whites".
On 14 March 2009, they played Wembley Arena. Elbow performed at the Meteor Awards in Dublin on 17 March 2009. At this awards ceremony they also won Best International Band. On July 3, 2009, Elbow played to an audience of 80,000 at Rock Werchter and were widely regarded as one of the absolute top-acts of the four-day-festival. The next day, Elbow played a gig at Roskilde Festival, Denmark, to an audience of approximately 15,000. On stage, Garvey remarked that "last time we played in Denmark, 7 people came."
As part of the Manchester International Festival, they performed with The Hallé Orchestra and Youth Choir at the Bridgewater Hall on the 8th and 9 July 2009. These concerts featured specially-commissioned orchestral and choral arrangements of material spanning all 4 albums, the band themselves playing with the Hallé musicians and Garvey singing positioned just to the right of the conductor onstage.
On July 11, 2009, they played the Main Stage at Oxegen 2009 in Punchestown Racecourse, County Kildare. The band performed on the Main Stage at T in the Park on July 12, 2009 in Balado, Kinross, Scotland. And on July 18, they played the "Escenario Verde" at FIB 2009 in Benicassim, Spain.
They opened for Coldplay at several stops on the Viva la Vida Tour's 2009 North American leg. They performed at All Points West Music & Arts Festival in Jersey City and the Osheaga Festival in Montreal; Coldplay also played at both festivals. On August 4, 2009, Elbow headlined their second show at the 9:30 Club in Washington, DC and on August 8, 2009, they performed at the Center Stage Theatre in Atlanta. They opened for U2 on 14 August 2009 in Wembley Stadium, London, UK and at the Sheffield Don Valley Stadium, Sheffield, UK.
On Sunday 13 September they closed the UK Festival season by headlining at Bestival on the Isle of Wight.
On the 18th September 2009 Elbow played their largest home town concert to date; which featured a 2500 strong 'choir of fans' at either side of the stage.
On the 21st September 2010 Elbow announced dates for an upcoming arena tour, playing venues such as the O2 arena, the MEN arena, the ECHO arena. Pre-advanced tickets were available from the 28th September, and general sales on the 1st October.
Elbow have cited a number of influences on their music, including Genesis (in particular the Peter Gabriel era), Talk Talk and Radiohead. Guy Garvey has said: "I grew up listening to every Genesis record. I learned to write harmonies by listening to Peter Gabriel." He has also claimed: "There would be no Elbow without Radiohead." He credits the band's sense of dynamics to the influence of Talk Talk and has said: "Volume dynamics are an essential part of classical music, but a lost art with guitar music. I think it's incredibly boring and shortsighted if a band sticks with just one sound song for song. An album should take people on a journey".
• Guy Garvey: lead vocals, guitar, lyrics, percussion
• Mark Potter: guitar, backing vocals
• Craig Potter: keyboards, organ, backing vocals
• Pete Turner: bass, backing vocals, keyboards
• Richard Jupp: drums
Official Website: http://www.elbow.co.uk/