The Courteeners

The Courteeners
The Courteeners

The Courteeners performing at the OXEGEN '08 festival in Ireland
Background information
Origin Middleton, Greater Manchester, England, UK
Genres Indie rock
Years active 2006–present
Labels Polydor
Liam Fray
Michael Campbell
Daniel Conan Moores
Mark Cuppello

The Courteeners are a rock band formed in Middleton, Greater Manchester, England in 2006 by Liam Fray (guitar/vocals), Michael Campbell (drums/backing vocals), Daniel Conan Moores (Guitar), Mark Cuppello (bass)




The band members have known each other since they were ten years old. Liam and Conan attended Cardinal Langley RC High School in Middleton, Mark Cuppello attended St Monica's RC High School in nearby Prestwich, and Michael Campbell attended St Cuthberts RC High school (Rochdale).

While at the University of Salford (studying Creative Writing), Liam Fray started to perform 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 first recruited long time friend and neighbour Michael Campbell, who at the time had never played the drums before in his life. They continued to play under the name 'Liam Fray' until Conan Moores (Guitar) and Mark Cuppello (Bass) joined to form the entire band.[1]

They had their first gig at the Manchester Roadhouse in October 2006, and quickly went from strength to strength within 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.[2] A second single, "Acrylic" was released on 22 October 2007 reaching number 44 in the UK Chart.[3]

First album: St. Jude

The Courteeners were approached by producer Stephen Street of Smiths, Blur and Morrissey fame through their label Polydor about the possibility of them working with each other and together they set about working on the Courteeners' debut album,[4] They first released the single "What Took You So Long?" on the 14 January 2008, the song reaching #20 in the United Kingdom.[5] Debut album, St. Jude, was released on 7 April 2008 on Polydor Records. It was launched at Manchester's Market Street HMV store where they performed and sold the first of their albums. The first album was bought by Andrew Harris at 12.01am which was signed and noted by Liam as their first album to be sold.

The album itself reached the No.4 position in the UK Charts,[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 #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] The summer also saw them playing major slots at V Festival, T In The Park, and many other festivals across Europe. A trip to Japan saw them playing with Kasabian and Primal Scream at the Fuji Rock Festival in Niigata Prefecture.

A new single "That Kiss" was released on 6 October 2008, with Stephen Street once again taking producer duties.[9] The song was released as a stand alone track and went straight in at number 5 in the Midweek Top 40.[10]

By October 2008 the band set off on a sell out tour of major venues across the UK including two nights at both 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 Manchester's MEN 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 Guardian journalists. St. Jude clinched a mammoth 53% of the public vote.[11]


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."[17] On 30 December it was announced that the Courteeners would be joining Morrissey on his American tour in Spring in support of his new album Years of Refusal.

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.

Second album: Falcon

The band's second album Falcon was confirmed for release on 22 February 2010. This was preceded by a single "You Overdid It Doll" on February 15, 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]

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 includes dates at London Brixton Academy, Blackburn King George's Hall and Blackpool Empress Ballroom.

In Falcon's first week it entered the top 10 in 6th place.

Liam Fray and Michael Campbell appeared on Sky Sports Saturday morning football show Soccer AM to talk to Max Rushden and Helen Chamberlain about new album Falcon.

Noel Gallagher

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.

2010 Summer Festivals

The band appeared on the Other Stage at 2010 Glastonbury Festival on Friday 25 June 2010.

On Sunday June 13, 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 Evening News 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 main stage.

Liam Fray at Salford Lads Club

On the 18th August Liam Fray was in invited to perform a headline set at the re-opening of Salford Lads Club. 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."

December 2010 Sell Out UK Tour

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 Evening News Arena.

2011 Shows

On December 17 the band announced a headline show at Delamere Forest, scheduled for July 2, 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 August 20 & 21 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.

The band will play three sold outs shows at Manchester Apollo on 8th, 9th, 10th December. Over 10,000 tickets for the shows sold out in 12 minutes.

VISA Advert / US TV shows

The band's single Take Over The World was chosen to soundtrack an Olympic themed VISA advert starring present day athletes and previous Olympian Steve Redgrave. The advert premiered on 21 March 2011.

Take Over The World was also used on American TV shows Human Target in January 2011 and Greek in February 2011.

EP: Electric Lick

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 December 5. The track list is below.

Track Number Song Title
1 Scratch Your Name Upon My Lips (radio edit)
2 Three Months
3 Zero
4 Lullaby (radio edit)
5 Swear Down



Fray has used a number of guitars in the past but the only one that has stayed throughout is his Cherry Red Epiphone Riviera which he has had since he was a teenager. He has also used a Gretsch Falcon (White and Gold), an Epiphone Casino and two different Fender Telecasters (one Nashville edition and another standard American Telecaster). Conan used to use a black Gibson Les Paul but has since progressed onto a range of Fender American Telecasters, usually a blonde Telecaster on most songs.


Fray usually uses Fender amps whereas Conan uses Vox and Peavey amps. Mark Cuppello can be found playing a Rickenbacker 4003 jetglo bass through a Trace Elliot rig.

Awards and nominations

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


Studio albums

Year Album Peak chart positions
2008 St. Jude 4
2010 Falcon 3



Year Title Chart Position Album
2007 "Cavorting" 192 St. Jude
"Acrylic" 44
2008 "What Took You So Long?" 20
"Not Nineteen Forever" 19
"No You Didn't, No You Don't" 35
"That Kiss" 36
2010 "You Overdid It Doll" 28 Falcon
(+ Electric Lick)
"Take Over The World" 114
"Scratch Your Name Upon My Lips"

Use of Tracks

'Fallowfield Hillbilly' appeared on ITV Granada's 'Soccer Night' programme during the goals/highlights round-up (season 2006-07) before the band had actually released any material.

'No You Didn't, No You Don't' features on Match of The Day 2 on BBC2 during the goals/highlights round-up (season 2007-08).

'What Took You So Long' was used for a series of television advertisements circa-Winter 2008 for the UK DCSF (Department for Children, Schools and Families) 'Science and Maths' campaign aimed at 11-16 year olds to showcase the interesting and exciting jobs taking Science and Maths can lead young people to.

'Acrylic' was used as the backing track for a series of Vodafone television advertisements circa-Winter 2008.

'That Kiss' was used in the 90210 episode 'There's No Place Like Homecoming' (at the end of the episode during Ethan and Annie's first kiss).

'Not Nineteen Forever' is the backing track for the brand new 2009 promotional video for the North West Development Ageny (NWDA) video to promote tourism in the North West of England online and on TV [4]. The song is also on the playlist of the football PC game, Pro Evolution Soccer 2010 and featured in an episode of hit US show Cougar Town. It was used once more on BBC's Match Of The Day 2 as a backing track to the highlights of Saturday's English Premier League matches.

'The Opener' has been adopted as pre-match anthem by Doncaster Rovers FC, largely because of the inclusion of the word "Doncaster" within the lyrics.

'Cavorting' was used for one episode of Take Me Out on ITV backing one of the date reviews.

'Coronation Street' the majority of The Courteeners' tracks have also featured on UK soap opera 'Coronation Street' as background music on the jukebox in the Rovers Return pub. The band were also referenced in a story line between characters David Platt and girlfriend Tina McIntyre when David attempts to win back his girlfriend's affections by buying her tickets to watch the band.[16]

'Shameless' Channel 4's comedy drama which is set in Manchester has featured 'Bide Your Time' and 'Acrylic' in the latest (sixth) series in episodes seven and eight. The songs were played as background music during several scenes in the fictionary pub, The Jockey.

'Gavin & Stacey' BBC1 3rd Series featured The Courteeners in the first episode of the brand new series. Early demo versions of No you Didn't & No You Don't & Bide Your Time were played, and when it was the marriage of Ness, 'Kings of the New Road' was played. In Series 3 Episode 2 the song "Not Nineteen Forever" was used.

'Will It Be This Way Forever?' Was used in Series 15 episode 2 of Top Gear when the three presenters where driving second hand affordable sports saloons in Germany.

'Take Over The World' was used in a UK Visa 2012 Olympics advert.

'The Opener' was used in a Film 4 trailer for Easter Bank Holiday Weekend.

Band members


  1. ^ Drowned in Sound interview
  2. ^ Banquet Records
  3. ^ Acrylic Chart Position
  4. ^ Stephen Street produces Debut Album
  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. ^ Moss, Adam (5 August 2008). "Diary: Corrie on Courteeners". Manchester Evening News. 
17. Allen, Rob (12 October 2008). The Courteeners: Manchester Apollo Review, October 2008. Manchester Evening News

External links

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