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Koopa are a pop punk band from Sible Hedinghammarker, near Colchestermarker, Essex in Englandmarker. The band formed in 2000 by brothers Stuart Cooper (drums), Oliver "Ollie" Cooper (vocals and guitar) and Joe Murphy (vocals, bass, production). The band became the first act to have a top 40 UK Singles Chart hit based on download sales only and the first act to have a charting single without being signed to a record label, both facilitated by then-recent changes to rules for eligibility for the singles chart.


The band began working together whilst Ollie was a teenager at school. In 2003 they made some recordings with B-Unique Records and EMI, receiving interest from EMI, an advance that was rejected by the band.

Between 2004 and 2007, the band toured continuously, both locally and nationally. During this period, they released two singles on Mad Cow Records. "No Trend" made the top 75 singles chart, but failed to break into the better known Top 40. Their records included "Stand Up 4 England", a World Cup related song supporting the England national team, the lyrics of which were written for the band by Paul Baker. The single featured on the 2006 re-release of England .

At the end of 2006 the band released a non-chart-eligible EP called "Three in a Bed with Bobby George". The cover featured the band in bed with the legendary darts player, Bobby George. The EP also featured "Erin's Main Obsession", "Pop Rock Factory", "How True" and "Unique" as well as "Blag, Steal and Borrow", the song that went on to become the band's download-only history making single.

2007: Breakthrough

In January 2007, changes to the chart rules in the UK meant that songs which are not released on physical formats (such as CDs or on vinyl) would now be eligible to chart through downloaded copies. Koopa's single "Blag, Steal & Borrow" was released through Ditto Music and charted at #31 on 14 January 2007, making it the first single to chart without ever being 'released' in the traditional sense.

Koopa were reported as being the first 'unsigned' band to reach the charts. Although "self-issued" records are fairly common for unsigned bands, the costs of doing so mean that it is relatively rare for enough copies of such records to be produced in order to gain a chart position. Wealthier artists who are able to fund their own record label have also previously charted without a record deal. KOOPA's achievement is to have entered the Top 40 Chart as an unsigned band through sales of downloads alone, there being no physical copy of the single in existence.

In June 2007 the band were invited to open the Isle of Wight Festival from the main stage.

On 11 June 2007, the band once more launched a single through Ditto Music as an unsigned band. "One Off Song for the Summer" debuted on the midweek chart at #12, later in the week it dropped to #17. By the following Sunday, June 17, the single had fallen to #21 in the charts.

October brought further success for the band when they returned from the Glasswerk New Music Awards with not only the MySpace Award in recognition of their successful use of the site in their self-promotion, but also the final award of the night, The 2007 Achievement Award.

On 29 October 2007 "The Crash" was released by Ditto Music which listed in the midweek chart at #12, appearing in the Official UK Singles chart the following Sunday at #16 making the band officially a "Top 20" band.

2008: Signed Band

On the 15 January 2008, Koopa announced on their MySpace page, that they had signed a deal with record label Pied Piper Records for three albums.

On 13 February 2008, again on MySpace, the band announced that their new record company; Pied Piper, had given them the opportunity to record an album in the US, which was to be produced by Mark Hoppus (Blink 182). The band also announced the album was receiving its final mix and that they would be main support for Bowling for Soup on a UK Tour. The album was mastered by Brian Gardiner and was released at the beginning of 2009. In August 2008 the band announced that the first single from the forthcoming album would be "Gimmie It Back" which was released on 24 November 2008.

2009: A fresh start

Early 2009 saw changes in the way the band is run. Frustrated with various different issues, the band, at least temporarily, walked away from the label. The band are quoted as saying that "they felt the loss of control and direct communication with the fanbase had harmed the project, and unable to agree with the owners of the label". All parties agreed that Koopa will once again become an independent act.

In February 2009 the Hoppus produced album Lies Sell Stories was initially released in Japan via Yoshimoto records. The accompanying radio single "Gimmie it back" received substantial air and video play on various broadcasters including MTV. After this the band were invited to perform a short promotional tour of Japan, accompanying Metro Station.

In April 2009 it was announced on their MySpace page that the Greatest Hits set - "More hits than a porn website" was slated for release on 8 June 2009, via Genepool/Universal distribution.

As of June 2009 the band have licensed all vintage material to Cohort/Brilliant records in the UK, are signed to Yoshimoto R&C In Japan, and other material including the new album Lies Sell Stories is owned by Pied Piper Records.




Year Title Chart Positions Album
UK Singles Chart UK Download Chart UK Rock Chart
2005 "No Trend" 71 - - Blag, Steal and Borrow
2006 "Stand Up for England" - - -
"Three in a Bed with Bobby George EP" N/A - -
2007 "Blag, Steal and Borrow" 31 24 - Blag, Steal and Borrow
"One Off Song for the Summer" 21 15 8
"The Crash" 16 11 -
2008 "Gimme It Back" - - N/A Free download Lies Sell Stories


  1. England - The Album (UK); Accessed 11-01-07
  2. A blag or a steal? New rules put unsigned punk band in top 40 Gibson, Owen; The Guardian; 16-01-07; Accessed 18-01-07
  3. Unsigned Band On For Top 20 Hit MTV News; 10-01-2007; Accessed 12-01-07
  4. Turn on The Bright Lights; Accessed 12-01-07; This review of Interpol's album Turn on the Bright Lights refers to their "self-issued" debut EP's.
  5. BIOGRAPHY Melanie Chisholm; Accessed 12-01-07; In the biography section of Melanie Chisholm's personal website, the fact that the Beautiful Intentions album was self-issued is discussed

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