Monkeys On Arctic Roll

Having gone from complete unknowns to releasing the fastest-selling U.K. album of all time in a few months, Arctic Monkeys continued on its roll by winning three categories at the NME Awards.

The Sheffield youngsters beat the likes of Franz Ferdinand, Kaiser Chiefs, and Oasis to take best track with “I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor,” and completed a hat trick by collecting best new band and best British band awards as well.

The following day, the act was playing Paris and couldn’t perform at the February 23rd ceremony because their equipment was in France. A packed London Hammersmith Palais had to settle for The Sugarbabes doing a cover version of the award-winning No. 1 single.

Reinforcing the belief that Arctic Monkeys are bound for international success rather than just being a flash in the Brit pan, the record entered the U.S. singles chart at No. 2 the same day as the NME bash.

Although the band’s Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not debut album shifted 700,000 copies in less than a month, the best album award went to the Leeds-based Kaiser Chiefs. The Yorkshire band took the prize with the two million-selling Employment. The Long Blondes, another Sheffield band, helped demonstrate how much talent the county is producing by taking the Philip Hall Radar Award, a special prize for newcomers that are expected to be among the main award winners next year.

Bob Geldof, who was voted “Hero Of The Year,” also picked up best music DVD for Live 8. He expressed some surprise that last July’s global live music extravaganza hadn’t won best live event as well, according to The Independent.

As far as the NME voters are concerned, it seems one day of rock giants playing three- or four-song sets doesn’t measure up to spending three days at the The Mean Fiddler‘s Reading-Leeds Carling Weekend, so that gathering took the prize.

There were no surprises in the best venue category: It went to Brixton Academy, which has won it 11 times in the last 13 years.

The winners of the other major awards included The Strokes (best international band), Franz Ferdinand (best live band), Kanye West (best solo artist), and Ian Brown (God-like genius award).

On the negative side, James Blunt‘s Back to Bedlam took worst album and Son Of Dork won worst band.

Madonna is NME readers’ sexiest woman and Pete Doherty, whose struggle against a drug habit has made newspaper headlines for over a year, is the sexiest man.

This year’s awards, which were screened on Channel 4 the following night, attracted votes from more than 80,000 fans – a big rise from last year’s 50,000 plus.

John Gammon