By the mid-1990s, the Mercury Prize was firmly placed as a reliable guide to the albums worth hearing of that year. Certainly there were omissions – indie always seemed to be overrated, while the pop and R&B inclusions were a little unpredictable, but there are still a huge number of great albums in the lists below.
Mercury Music Prize 1995
- Guy Barker – Into the Blue
- Elastica – Elastica
- PJ Harvey – To Bring You My Love
- Leftfield – Leftism
- James MacMillan – Seven Last Words from the Cross
- Van Morrison – Days Like This
- Oasis – Definitely Maybe
- Portishead – Dummy
- Supergrass – I Should Coco
- Tricky – Maxinquaye
Winner: Portishead. Noel Gallagher famously thought he should have won for Definitely Maybe, but he turned out to be wrong.
Mercury Music Prize 1996
Took place on 10th September 1996.
- Artists for War Child – Help
- Black Grape – It’s Great When You’re Straight… Yeah!
- Peter Maxwell Davies / BBC Philharmonic – The Beltane Fire / Caroline Mathilde
- Manic Street Preachers – Everything Must Go
- Mark Morrison – Return of the Mack
- Oasis – (What’s the Story) Morning Glory?
- Courtney Pine – Modern Day Jazz Stories
- Pulp – Different Class
- Underworld – Second Toughest in the Infants
- Norma Waterson – Norma Waterson
Winner: Pulp. Presented to Jarvis Cocker, who then immediately handed over the award to Brian Eno and Tony Crean for the Help project.
Mercury Music Prize 1997
Took place on 28th August 1997, at the Grosvenor House Hotel in London.
- The Chemical Brothers – Dig Your Own Hole
- Beth Orton – Trailer Park
- Primal Scream – Vanishing Point
- The Prodigy – The Fat of the Land
- Radiohead – OK Computer
- Roni Size / Reprazent – New Forms
- Spice Girls – Spice
- Suede – Coming Up
- John Tavener – Svyati
- Mark-Anthony Turnage – Your Rockaby
Winner: Roni Size / Reprazent
- Mercury Music Prize on Wikipedia
- BBC News retrospective of the first decade of awards
- The 1995, 1996, and 1997 Mercury Prize albums at Discogs.com
- The Independent coverage of the 1996 award
- The Independent coverage of the 1997 award