The Coral are an English band formed in 1996 in Hoylake on the Wirral Peninsula in Merseyside.Meeting at Hilbre High School in West Kirby on the Wirral Peninsula, the six friends would meet at each others' houses and the school music room where they would watch films, listen to music and play guitars. After leaving school they went on to jobs and university before quitting both to take up the band full time.
According to Deltasonic head Alan Wills he first encountered the band in a rehearsal room where they were playing pool. He thought they "looked cool" and decided to go and see them live. At that point the band hadn't released any records or have a fanbase. When Wills discovered the band he had already started to think about starting a label but yet to realise it, and The Coral gave Wills the impetus to start Deltasonic. Wills told HitQuarters that: "It was always the aim to release them through Deltasonic, and it was always their aim to be on Deltasonic ... Most people wouldn’t have understood the Coral at that point." Wills also assumed responsibility for managing the band, albeit reluctantly as he was unable to find anyone else to take on the role.
The band started as prominent members of the Liverpool music scene, playing many gigs around the city. The Coral's distinctive musical style has strongly influenced many other of the Liverpool-based label's acts, including The Zutons, The Dead 60s and The Rascals.
The band's music is a mixture of old-fashioned country, 1960s-style psychedelia and folk with modern rock influences. The Coral have released 7 albums (The Coral, Magic and Medicine, Nightfreak and the Sons of Becker, The Invisible Invasion, Roots & Echoes, The Singles Collection/Magic & Mysteries, and Butterfly House). Their self-titled debut album was nominated for the 2002 Mercury Music Prize and later voted the fourth best album of the year by NME Magazine. It was announced on 9 January 2008 that Bill Ryder-Jones would be leaving, but the band would continue as a 5-piece.
Hailed as the first English band of the "guitar group revival" the band released the critically acclaimed EPs Shadows Fall, The Oldest Path, and Skeleton Key in 2001. Their eponymous debut album The Coral, released in 2002, reached number five on the UK Albums Chart and was nominated for the Mercury Prize the day after its release. A successful UK tour and festival slots followed along with the singles "Goodbye" reaching number twenty-one in the UK Singles Chart and "Dreaming of You" reaching number thirteen.
- James Skelly - vocals, guitar
- Paul Duffy - bass guitar
- Nick Power - keyboards
- Lee Southall - guitar
- Ian Skelly - drums
- Bill Ryder-Jones - guitar, 1996–2008