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Koopa - Unsigned band make chart history


Story by Jack Foley

ESSEX-based punk rock band Koopa have made chart history by becoming the first unsigned band to enjoy a top 40 hit – but their success has been tinged with sadness.

Koopa’s download-only single Blag, Steal & Borrow debuted at number 31 thanks to a change in chart rules that makes any form of download eligible even if there’s no CD version.

The band, from Colchester, has been together for seven years and is comprised of borhters Ollie and Stuart Cooper and bassist Joe Murphy.

But one of the driving forces behind the band – Ollie and Stuart’s father, Martin Cooper – sadly passed away on January 7 this year, seven days before the band’s chart success.

Martin had invested £20,000 of his earnings from the printing industry into Koopa and never gave up hope that his boys would find the success they craved. Their manager Gary Raymond credited him with being “a driving force”.

He added: “It’s the greatest week of our lives and the worst week of our lives.”

News of the band’s history-making chart debut has seen a quick turnaround in their fortunes which Joe Murphy is hoping will stand them in good stead for the future.

Thanking the band’s fans, their manager and, of course, Martin, he said the chart debut wouldn’t have been possible without any of their support and assistance.

In an interview with the BBC, he added: “Just four days ago nobody had heard of us, now it seems like everyone has. I can’t get my head around it.”

And he also told The Independent: “If we can get into the Top 40 now, we’ve got a decent career happening for us. We just want to get as many sales on the board to honour his [Martin’s] memory so in future we’ll be celebrating this week.”

The bassist went on to reveal that the media coverage surrounding their chart exploits had resulted in a number of big record labels making contact with the band, including one who turned them down recently.

He also hinted at the possibility of a US label flying them out to America for talks.

It’s no more than Koopa deserve after seven years of hard work, during which time they played almost 500 gigs in the past three years, including a headline show at London’s Mean Fiddler last summer.

However, Koopa couldn’t achieve the impossible and knock X Factor winner Leona Lewis off the top, who remained at No.1 for a fourth week with her song A Moment Like This.

In the album charts, Amy Winehouse climbed back to the top spot with her latest offering Back to Black, while James Morrison’s Undiscovered rose three places to number two.

Snow Patrol’s ever-popular Eyes Open remained at three and Take That’s Beautiful World fell from No.1 to number four.