Elbow is an alternative rock band which formed in Bury, Greater Manchester, England in 1990 while at sixth-form college. The band consists of Guy Garvey (vocals, guitar), Mark Potter(guitar, vocals), Pete Turner (bass), Craig Potter (keyboards) and Richard Jupp (drums). Over the band’s 19 year career, it has released five studio albums, four EPs and ten top fifty singles in the UK.
The band is named after a line in the BBC TV mini-series The Singing Detective which 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.
Elbow began specializing in “chilled funk”, but changed the direction of its music after unanimously deciding that they were “shit.” The new songs were noticed from both Island Records and Universal, but the band was dropped before anything was released after it signed with both labels. The band then released two critically acclaimed EP’s on the independent Ugly Man Record label which caught the attention of V2 Records.
V2 released Elbow’s debut album: “Asleep In The Back.” The album was a surprisignly moderate success, gaining substantial critical acclaim and, ultimately, a nomination for themercury music prize in 2001. The single “newborn” received attention after being banned by radio 1 for the lyric, “I’ll be the corpse in your bathtub.”
Word of mouth then began to work in Elbow’s favor. Its 2003 album, “Cast Of Thousands,” entered the UK Charts at #7 to critical acclaim. The lead single, “Fallen Angel,” charted at #19.
In 2004, Elbow became the first British band to ever play a concert in Havana during an unofficial Cuban tour. The tour was made into a short film by British documentary maker Irshad Ashraf.
Elbow released its third album in 2005: “Leaders of the Free World.” Despite a continued lack of commercial notice, “Leaders Of The Free World” charted at #12, with its lead single, “Forget Myself” achieving #22 in the charts. That autumn, Elbow headlined the first of two sell-out tours.
March 17, 2008, saw the release of Elbow’s fourth album, entitled “The Seldom Seen Kid.” Released through Fiction, it entered the UK album chart at #5, and went on to win the 2008 mercury music award. “The Fix,” features guest vocals and lead guitar by Richard Hawley. April 2009 saw the release of The Seldom Seen Kid Live at Abbey Road, recorded with The BBC Concert Orchestra and Chantage. This album, recorded in Studio One of the world famous Abbey Road Studios on Saturday, January 17, 2008, is a complete run-through of the Mercury winning album. It features the band, a 52-piece orchestra, and a 20-member choir.
“Grounds For Divorce” was featured in VALVe Software game Left 4 Dead in 2008.
The band’s fifth album build a rocket boys! was released in the UK on March 14, 2011.