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Elbow was formed in 1990 at a sixth-form college in Bury, Lancashire, England. They began specialising in "chilled funk", but changed the direction of their music after unanimously deciding they were "shit". The new songs got notice from both Island Records and Universal, but after signing with both the band was dropped before anything was released. After this much trouble releasing an album, their debut Asleep in the Back was released on V2. The album was a surprise moderate success, gaining substantial critical acclaim and ultimately a nomination for the Mercury Music Prize in 2001. The single Newborn also received attention after being banned by Radio 1 for the lyric, "I'll be the corpse in your bathtub."

Word of mouth began to work in Elbow's favour in the following year, and their 2003 effort Cast of Thousands, which sonically followed much the same path (though with added optimism) entered the UK Charts at number 7 to critical acclaim. The lead single Fallen Angel charted at number 19. Two years later, Elbow's third album Leaders of the Free World was released with a more straightforward bent, featuring more standard ballads and near-pop songs.

In 2004, Elbow went on an unofficial tour of Cuba, becoming the first British band ever to play a concert outside Havana. The tour was made into a short film by British documentary maker Irshad Ashraf.

Despite a continued lack of commercial notice, Leaders of the Free World charted at number 12, with lead single Forget Myself achieving number 22 in the charts. Elbow also headlined two sell-out tours of their largest venues yet in Autumn 2005 and February 2006.

March 17th 2008 saw the release of Elbow's fourth album, entitled The Seldom Seen Kid. Released through Fiction, it entered the UK album chart at number 5, and went on to win the 2008 Mercury Music Award. One track, The Fix, features guest vocals and lead guitar by Richard Hawley. The band's official site can be found at www.elbow.co.uk.

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