The Koobas were an English beat group from Liverpool. Their music, and their early history, is similar in some ways to that of fellow Liverpudlians The Beatles, though they never achieved widespread popularity.
The group was founded in 1962 in Liverpool by members who had previously played in local outfits such as the Thunderbeats and Roy Montrose and the Midnights. They used both the spellings "Kubas" and "Koobas" at times. Late in 1963 they began playing at the Star Club in Hamburg, Germany, doing a three-week stint there.
Brian Epstein signed them to a contract in 1964 and brokered them a deal with Pye Records. In 1965 they were to appear in the film Ferry Cross the Mersey (a Gerry & The Pacemakers vehicle) as the losers in a battle of the bands, but this footage was cut from the film's final release. Their first single was "I Love Her" b/w "Magic Potion", which did not make the charts, but the group opened for The Beatles on their last British tour to support the single.
In the summer of 1965 they played, as resident group, in the Rock Ballroom at Butlin's Holiday Camp in Ayr, Scotland.
Following the dates with the Beatles, the group did club tours of England and attracted much positive press, but further singles failed to catch on with the public. In 1966, they moved from Pye to EMI-Columbia, and the following year played with The Who at the Savile Theatre and toured with Jimi Hendrix in Switzerland.
By 1967, the band had started to change its sound from R&B-rooted beat to psychedelia, and began writing their own material with the help of new manager Tony Stratton-Smith. In 1968, they cut a version of "The First Cut Is the Deepest", but were overshadowed by P.P. Arnold's version, which hit the UK Singles chart Top 20. Near the end of 1968, the group splintered just as EMI-Columbia prepped their self-titled first LP, released early in 1969. The Koobas never made it into the official sales chart but their cover of the Gracie Fields hit "Sally" climbed as high as number 21 on pirate station Radio London's Fab 40 in January 1967. Later that spring they recorded their own composition, 'Somewhere in the night',which reached number 3 in the Radio London Fab 40.
Keith Ellis later played with Van der Graaf Generator and Juicy Lucy, while Stuart Leatherwood formed the duo Gary & Stu and later played with March Hare. The group's entire post-1966 output was reissued on CD in 2000 by the Beat Goes On label.
- Stuart Leatherwood - guitar, vocals
- Roy Morris - guitar
- Keith Ellis - bass
- John Morris - drums (early)
- Tony O'Reilly - drums (later)