The Courteeners

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The Courteeners.jpg
The Courteeners performing at the OXEGEN '08 festival in Ireland
Background information
Origin Middleton, Greater Manchester, England
Genres Indie rock
Post-punk revival
Years active 2006–present
Labels Polydor
PIAS Cooperative
Members Liam Fray
Michael Campbell
Daniel "Conan" Moores
Mark Joseph Cuppello

(The) Courteeners are an English indie rock band formed in Middleton, Greater Manchester in 2006 by Liam Fray (guitar/vocals), Michael Campbell (drums/backing vocals), Daniel "Conan" Moores (guitar), and Mark Joseph Cuppello (bass). They have released four studio albums: St. Jude (2008), Falcon (2010), Anna (2013) and Concrete Love (2014) as well as several EPs and one DVD album.

All the music and lyrics for the Courteeners songs are written by the band's frontman Liam Fray.[1]


Formation (2006–2007)[edit]

The band members have known each other since they were ten years old. All members of the band are from Middleton: Fray and Moores attended Cardinal Langley Roman Catholic High School in Middleton while Mark Cuppello attended St Monica's RC High School in Prestwich, and Michael Campbell attended St Cuthberts RC High school in Rochdale.

At first Fray studied Business Studies at University, however soon realised it was a lot harder than he thought and not what he wanted to do. Therefore he chose to study Creative Writing as he enjoyed writing poetry and short stories, but not reading. While at the University of Salford (studying Creative Writing), Fray started performing acoustic sets as a singer-songwriter around bars and at open-mic nights in Manchester. After getting positive reactions from the crowd, Fray decided to leave University and form a band. Liam recruited long-time friend and neighbour Michael Campbell, who had never played the drums before. They played as 'Liam Fray' until Moores and Cuppello joined the band.[2]

Their first gig was at the Manchester Roadhouse in October 2006, and the band went from strength to strength in Manchester, largely through a word-of-mouth following brought on by extensive gigging and television publicity. The Courteeners released their debut single "Cavorting" on 6 August 2007 by Loog Records.[3] A second single, "Acrylic" was released on 22 October 2007 reaching number 44 in the UK Chart.[4]

St. Jude (2007–2009)[edit]

The Courteeners were approached by producer, Stephen Street, of the Smiths, Blur and Morrissey fame about the possibility of working together. They first released a single "What Took You So Long?" on 14 January 2008, a song which reached No. 20 in the United Kingdom charts.[5] The debut album, St. Jude, was released on 7 April 2008 by Polydor Records. It was launched at Manchester's Market Street HMV store.

The album reached No 4 in the UK Albums Chart,[6] and has since gone on to achieve gold status. The album was preceded by the release of single "Not Nineteen Forever" on 31 March 2008,[7] entering at No. 19 and becoming their highest charting single to date. A fifth single, "No You Didn't, No You Don't" was released on 23 June 2008.

The band played to a packed out John Peel tent at the 2008 Glastonbury Festival.[8] and played major slots at V Festival, T in the Park, and other festivals across Europe. They played with Kasabian and Primal Scream at the Fuji Rock Festival in Niigata Prefecture in Japan.

"That Kiss" was released on 6 October 2008, produced again by Stephen Street.[9] The song was released as a stand alone track and entered the charts at number five in the Midweek Top 40.[10]

By October 2008 the band had begun a sell out tour of major venues across the UK including two nights at Manchester Apollo and London's Shepherd's Bush Empire. A first taste of Arena shows came with their December 2008 support slot on the Stereophonics' Decade in the Sun Tour. This saw them appear at huge venues such as the Manchester Arena, London's O2 Arena, and Glasgow's Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre.

December 2008 saw the band crowned inaugural winners of the Guardian's First British Album Award beating off strong competition from Glasvegas, Duffy, Adele, and Noah & The Whale. The award was voted for by members of the public and The Guardian journalists. St. Jude clinched a mammoth 53% of the public vote.[11]

In March 2009 the band made their US debut with a headline show at New York's Mercury Lounge, followed by a month touring the States as special guests of Morrissey on his 'Tour of Refusal'. Over 18 dates included appearances at New York's famous Carnegie Hall, the Dallas Palladium and Albuquerque's Sunshine Theater. They completed their tour of America at the 2009 Coachella Festival in Indio, California performing on the Festival's Main Stage along with Paul McCartney, Morrissey, and Franz Ferdinand. In the UK the band played the 2009 Reading/Leeds Festival on the Main Stage along with Arctic Monkeys, The Prodigy, and Ian Brown. They also appeared at the 2009 T in the Park Festival as second headliners in the King Tut's Wah Wah Tent.

Falcon and Electric Lick EP (2009–2011)[edit]

The band's second album Falcon was released on 22 February 2010 and has since gone on to achieve gold status. The album was preceded by a single "You Overdid It Doll" on 15 February 2010. The album was recorded at ICP Studios in Belgium and produced by Ed Buller (White Lies, Pulp, Suede). The album was well received by the British music press with NME awarding the album 8/10 and both Mojo & Q Magazines giving the album 4-star reviews.[12][12] In Falcon's first week it entered the top 10 in 6th place.

Many songs from the band's second album including "The Opener", "You Overdid It Doll", and "Take Over The World" made their live debuts at two UK shows in December 2009. The first at Warrington Parr Hall was followed by a sold-out headline homecoming show at the 10,000-capacity Manchester Central – formerly known as Manchester GMEX. Tickets for the show sold out within a week.

The first song released from the album was "Cross My Heart and Hope To Fly" making its radio debut on Zane Lowe's BBC Radio 1 show as his Hottest Record in the World.[13] The track was released as a free download through their official website on 7 December 2009 as well as a seven-inch version with a B-side.

Falcon's first official single "You Overdid It Doll" was released a week before the album's release on 15 February. This also saw its radio debut on BBC Radio 1's Zane Lowe show. Lowe, a big supporter throughout the band's career, once again made it his Hottest Record in the World.[14] The single was added to daytime radio playlists including BBC Radio One, XFM, and BBC 6 Music. A UK Tour to coincide with the album's release was announced in December 2009. The tour included dates at London Brixton Academy, Blackburn King George's Hall and Blackpool Empress Ballroom.

The band appeared at many festivals during the summer of 2010, including on the Other Stage at 2010 Glastonbury Festival on Friday 25 June 2010. On Sunday 13 June 2010 the band appeared on the main stage at the Isle of Wight Festival. The performed on the main stage ahead of Paul McCartney's headline appearance that evening. In July 2010 the band returned to the T in the Park festival, appearing on the Saturday evening on the Radio 1/NME Stage. In August 2010, The Courteeners announced a five date UK tour to take place in December. The tour includes the bands largest ever headline gig at the Manchester Arena. The band returned to Japan at the beginning of August 2010, appearing in Tokyo and Osaka at the Summersonic 2010 festival. In August 2010 the band made their second appearance at V Festival, performing on the 4 music stage.

On the fifth of November The Courteeners announced a 5 song EP on their official website which include 2 songs from Falcon, 'Lullaby' and 'Scratch Your Name Upon My Lips'. There are two brand new songs 'Three Months' and 'Swear Down' plus a cover version of Yeah Yeah Yeahs' 'Zero'.[15] The EP was released on 5 December. The band performed a sell out tour of the UK in December 2010 which included the band's biggest headline show to date with a sell out 16,000 capacity show at the Manchester Arena.

Touring and Anna (2011–2014)[edit]

On 17 December the band announced a headline show at Delamere Forest, scheduled for 2 July 2011. The show sold out in 38 minutes, a record for shows performed in the Forest. David Barrow, booker for the Forestry Commission said, 'Following their triumphant MEN Arena show last weekend I knew we would comfortably sell out, but 38 minutes is a forest record, so it's official The Courteeners are the fastest selling forest act we have had since the gigs kicked off 11 years ago. The previous record was held by JLS last year'.

In February 2011 it was confirmed that the band will perform on the main stage at the 2011 Isle of Wight Festival. They appeared on Friday 10 June, two slots below Kings of Leon who headlined the first night of the festival. The band appeared at V Festival on the 4 Play Stage on 20 & 21 August 2011. It was the band's third appearance in four years at the festival. In March 2011 the band announced another headline show, this time at Haigh Hall, Wigan, scene of The Verve's legendary homecoming in 1997. Support for the sold out 12000 capacity June date came from The Coral and Cherry Ghost. In December the band played three sold outs shows at the Manchester Apollo on 8th, 9, 10 December. Over 10,000 tickets for the shows sold out in 12 minutes. On 12 December 2011 the band released their first ever DVD Live at the MEN Arena featured the band's December 2010 show at the Manchester Arena.

In 2012, the band played second from top at the Reading and Leeds festivals to packed out tents of 20,000. The band also played a triumphant set at Scotland's T in the Park on the NME/Radio 1 stage. They've also headlined Chester Rocks festival.

On 28 August, it was announced that The Courteeners would headline the Manchester Arena for a second time on 7 December. On 23 June 2012, the band played a free show in Manchester's Albert Square in the shadow of the Town Hall. The gig was to celebrate the Olympic torch coming to Manchester for the London 2012 Olympics. The band played their first every show in Turkey, in Istanbul on 16 November 2012. On 7 December 2012 the band played a sold-out show at the 16,000 capacity Manchester Arena.

The Courteeners third album ANNA, recorded with Hurts producer Joe Cross, was released on 4 February 2013. It preceded by the release of the first single, "Lose Control".[16] On 6 February 2013 it was announced that Courteeners were Number 1 in the Official midweek UK Chart by the Official UK Charts Company.[17] Sales slipped as the week progressed, and the album charted at Number 6.

In support of the album the band embarked on a UK and European "ANNA Tour" with 22 shows in England, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, France, Austria, Italy, Germany, Holland and Switzeland. Tour began on 21 February and ended on 27 April.[18]

On 28 June 2013 they played at the Glastonbury Festival on the John Peel Stage. They played 13 songs and the performance was their fourth appearance at the festival. The band supported The Stone Roses at their reunion gig in London's Finsbury Park on 7 June 2013 and Kings of Leon at Glasgow's Bellahouston Park on 15 August 2013. They've also performed at the Belsonic, Benicàssim, T in the Park, V festivals and headlined Mallorca Rocks closing party.

On 5 and 6 July 2013 Courteeners played at Castlefield Bowl Deansgate Manchester with support acts including The Strypes, Miles Kane and The Heartbreaks. All 16,000 tickets were sold out in a day.

In December the band toured the UK once again culminating in their 3rd headline appearance at the 16,000 capacity Manchester Arena.

Concrete Love (2014–present)[edit]

The Courteeners released their new album Concrete Love on 18 August 2014. Again recorded with producer Joe Cross in Paris, Whitby and Ancoats,[19] it debuted at number 3 in the UK Albums Chart, marking the band's highest chart entry to date. The first taster from the album, 'Summer' was made available on streaming in July.[20] The first official release from the album was the How Good It Was EP released on 21 July 2014. It featured the title track and the songs 'Hometown One', 'Sunflower', and 'Why Are You Still With Him?' and reached number 2 on the official UK iTunes chart.

The band headlined the Radio One/NME Stage at the Reading & Leeds Festival 2014 and appeared as special guests of The Killers in Summer Sessions gig at Glasgow's Bellahouston Park.[21] They've also performed at the Benicàssim and Umbria Rock festivals.

The album was supported by a 19-date UK Tour in October and November, including shows at Brixton Academy in London and Echo Arena Liverpool.

On 25 November Courteeners announced their biggest headline gig to date at Heaton Park, scheduled for 5 June 2015.[22] All 20,000 tickets were sold out in under an hour.[23] On 8 January 2015 it was confirmed that the band will perform at the Isle of Wight Festival.

Other appearances[edit]

Noel Gallagher invited the band to support him at the Royal Albert Hall on 25 March 2010. The show was in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust. It was the band's first appearance at the venue.

Aside from the band, Courteeners' lead singer, guitarist and songwriter Liam Fray also performs acoustic solo shows, playing band's songs.[24][25] On 18 August 2011 he performed a headline set at the re-opening of Salford Lads' Club with Xfm Manchester. It was the first ever show at the legendary venue. He told NME: "I used to go to Salford University and I would see from the bus in the morning Japanese and American tourists outside having their picture taken. We were joking about opening the doors at two in the afternoon so everyone at the gig can get their photo on the way in! It's a massive landmark and it's a pleasure and privilege to play it." The show was hosted by XFM Manchester Breakfast Show presenter Tim Cocker and broadcast on 97.7 Xfm in Manchester.

On 13 May 2013 the band played a free set in Albert Square as part of the Manchester United Premier League Victory Parade[26] after their song, "Not Nineteen Forever" has been named the official title song by the club following their record 20th league championship victory.[27] Some of the proceeds of "Not Nineteen Forever" goes to the Manchester United Foundation, in turn raising funds for "Francis House Children's Hospice" and The Christie Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.[28] The song had also been played at a number of matches, including the game when Manchester United won the title against Aston Villa in 2013, and the final home game of the season against Swansea. A number of other songs, such as "Are You in Love with a Notion" and "Take Over the World" have been played at a number of home matches.

Critical acclaim[edit]

Morrissey has mentioned his love for the Courteeners on numerous occasions. After seeing the Courteeners in Camden, Morrissey played their song "What Took You So Long?" on American radio station KRCW, where he heaped praise on the band saying that "Every song was very strong and full of hooks and full of dynamics and I thought, 'this is great' and that so many groups in England, they're hyped and they're huge and they're all over the press and they don't really actually have any songs, they don't really have anything to offer ... but it's different with The Courteeners, they actually do have very good, strong songs." Morrissey added to his praise that "I think they will make it here [in the US] and I think you'll come across them." The Courteeners joined Morrissey on his American tour in Spring 2009 in support of his new album 'Years of Refusal'.

Following the release of their debut album St. Jude, U2 frontman Bono called The Courteeners "The best band of the past 10 years".[29]

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • Guardian First British Album Award 2008 (Inaugural year)
    • Guardian First British Album Award – St. Jude – Winners

Band members[edit]

  • Liam Fray – lead vocals, guitar
  • Daniel "Conan" Moores – guitar
  • Michael Campbell – drums and percussion, backing vocals
  • Mark Cuppello – bass

Live members[edit]

  • Adam Payne – Keyboards and backing vocals


Studio albums


  1. ^ "Liam Fray interviewed, by Fergal Kinney". Louder Than War. 22 October 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  2. ^ Drowned in Sound interview
  3. ^ Banquet Records
  4. ^ Acrylic Chart Position
  5. ^ What Took You So Long reaches top 40
  6. ^ Courteeners score high chart entry
  7. ^ Courteeners to release Not Nineteen Forever
  8. ^ Glastonbury Footage
  9. ^ Stephen Street reprises his role
  10. ^ [1]
  11. ^ Swash, Rosie (19 December 2008). "The 2008 Guardian First Album award winner". The Guardian. 
  12. ^ a b [2]
  13. ^ Cross My Heart & Hope To Fly Zane Lowe Hottest Record In The World
  14. ^ You Overdid It Doll Zane Lowe Hottest Record In The World
  15. ^ [3]
  16. ^ "The Courteeners unveil artwork for new album 'Anna'". NME. 14 November 2012. Retrieved 15 November 2012. 
  17. ^ "The Courteeners on course for first Number One album with 'Anna'". NME. 6 February 2014. Retrieved 22 November 2014. 
  18. ^ "ANNA European Tour dates". 2013. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 
  19. ^ "Courteeners' Liam Fray talks about their new album". 14 August 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  20. ^ "COURTEENERS ANNOUNCE NEW ALBUM CONCRETE LOVE". 20 June 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  21. ^ "The Killers announce Summer Sessions gig at Glasgow's Bellahouston Park". Daily Record. 22 April 2014. Retrieved 22 November 2014. 
  22. ^ "Courteeners to play 20,000 capacity gig at Heaton Park". Manchester Evening News. 25 November 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2014. 
  23. ^ "The Courteeners' Heaton Park gig sells out in under an hour". 28 November 2013. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  24. ^ "LIAM FRAY ANNOUNCES ACOUSTIC TOUR". 13 July 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2014. 
  25. ^ "LIAM FRAY @ THE SCALA, LONDON – 26/09/2013". Gigwise. 27 September 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2014. 
  26. ^ "The Courteeners to play Manchester United's victory parade tonight". NME.COM. 13 May 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2014. 
  27. ^ "The Courteeners 'Not Nineteen Forever' named Manchester United's Premier League victory song". NME.COM. 23 April 2013. Retrieved 22 November 2014. 
  28. ^ "Courteeners happy to help". 2 May 2013. Retrieved 23 November 2014. 
  29. ^ "The Courteeners frontman Liam Fray reveals green salad is keeping them sane on the road". Mirror. 19 September 2008. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 

External links[edit]