are an English rock band. Formed in 1996 in London, the group
comprises vocalist/pianist Chris Martin, guitarist Jonny Buckland, bassist Guy
Berryman and drummer Will Champion. Coldplay achieved worldwide fame with their
2000 single "Yellow", followed by the success of their debut album,
, which was nominated for the Mercury Prize. Coldplay would go on
to be nominated for this prestigious award on two further occasions, once in
2003 and again in 2005. Coldplay have been one of the most commercially
successful acts of the new millennium, selling over 40 million albums. The band
are also known for hit singles, including "Speed of Sound" and the Grammy
Coldplay's early material was compared to acts such as
Jeff Buckley and Radiohead, while
also drawing comparisons to U2 and
Travis. Since the release of Parachutes, Coldplay have also drawn
influence from other sources, including Echo and the Bunnymen
and George Harrison on A Rush of
Blood to the Head (2002) and Johnny Cash and Kraftwerk for X&Y
(2005). Both of these albums were
released to great critical acclaim and commercial success. In 2002, A Rush of
Blood to the Head was awarded the title of Album of the Year by NME.
Coldplay have been an active supporter of various social and political
causes, such as Oxfam's Make Trade Fair campaign and Amnesty International. The
group has also performed at various charity projects such as Band Aid 20, Live
8, and the Teenage Cancer Trust.
Since December 2006, the band have been working with producer Brian Eno on a
fourth album, expected to be released in early 2008.
The members of the band met at Ramsay Hall, a student halls of residence
building at University College London (UCL) in September 1996. Chris Martin and
Jonny Buckland were the first members of the band, having met one another during
their orientation week. They spent the rest of the year planning a band, with
their efforts culminating in a band called Pectoralz.
Eventually Guy Berryman, a classmate of the two, joined the band without
consideration of what musical direction it was taking. By 1997, Coldplay was
performing small club gigs for local Camden promoters. By that time, the band
had changed their name to Starfish.
Martin also had recruited his erstwhile school friend Phil Harvey, who was
studying classics at Oxford, to act as band manager. Harvey managed the band
until the release of their second album, A Rush of Blood to the Head.
Finally, in early 1998, the band's lineup was complete when Will Champion
joined the band to take up percussion duties. The multi-talented Champion had
grown up playing piano, guitar, bass, and tin whistle; he quickly learned the
drums, despite having no previous experience with that instrument. Eventually
Tim Rice-Oxley, a mutual friend, gave the band permission to use the name
"Coldplay", which he had rejected for his band as he thought it was "too
depressing". Rice-Oxley also was offered a position as Coldplay's keyboard
player, but he refused since he was already committed to the band Keane.
On May 18, 1998, the band released 500 copies of the Safety EP. Most
of the discs were given to record companies and friends; only 50 copies remained
for sale to the public. In December, Coldplay signed to indie label Fierce
Panda. Their first release on the label was the three track Brothers and
Sisters EP which they had quickly recorded over four days in February 1999.
Released in April, the EP's initial run was limited to 2,500 copies. Interest in
the band was slowly growing across the UK, helped by regular airplay from Radio
1's Steve Lamacq.
After completing their final examinations, Coldplay signed to Parlophone for
a five-album contract in the spring of 1999. After making their first appearance
at Glastonbury, the band went into studio to record a third EP titled The
Blue Room. 5,000 copies of the EP were made available to the public in
October, and the single "Bigger Stronger", which got airplay on Radio 1, was
instrumental in establishing Coldplay.
However, the recording sessions for The Blue Room were tumultuous.
Martin kicked Champion out of the band but later pleaded with him to return, and
due to his guilt, went on a drinking binge. Eventually, the band worked out
their differences and put in place a new set of rules to keep the group intact.
First, the band declared an all-for-one approach: Coldplay was a democracy, and
profits were to be shared equally, taking a page from bands like U2 and R.E.M.
Second, the band would fire anyone who used hard drugs.
In March 1999, Coldplay focused efforts on their debut album. They went into
"Rockfield Studios" with producer Ken Nelson. The band spent the New Year by
working with Samuel Hopkins, who helped them in completing album tracks "Yellow"
and "Everything's Not Lost". They also played on the Carling Tour, which
showcased up-and-coming acts. After releasing three EPs without a hit song,
Coldplay scored their first Top 40 single, "Shiver". Released in March 2000, the
single placed at a modest #35 and earned the band their first airplay on MTV.
June 2000 was a pivotal moment in Coldplay's history. The band embarked on their
first headlining tour, which included a triumphant return to Glastonbury. More
notably, the band released the breakthrough single, "Yellow". The song shot to
#4 on the UK Singles Chart and placed the band in public consciousness.
Coldplay released their first full-length album, Parachutes, in July
2000, which debuted at #1 on the UK Albums Chart. Along with critical acclaim,
Parachutes was sometimes criticised for bearing a strong resemblance to
the music of alt-rock band Radiohead in their The Bends–OK Computer
era. "Yellow" and "Trouble" earned regular radio airplay on both sides of the
Atlantic. Parlophone originally predicted sales of 40,000 units of Parachutes;
by Christmas, 1.6 million copies had been sold in the United Kingdom alone.
Parachutes was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize in September 2000.
Having found success in Europe, the band set their sights on North America.
Parachutes was released in November 2000. The band embarked on a US club
tour in early 2001, beginning with a show in Vancouver, Canada, which was
coupled with appearances on Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Conan
O'Brien, and The Late Show with David Letterman. Parachutes
was a slow burning success in U.S., but eventually reached double-platinum
status. The album was also critically well-received, earning Best Alternative
Music Album honours at the 2002 Grammy Awards.
Coldplay returned to the studio in October 2001 to begin work on their second
album. Once again with Ken Nelson producing. With much anticipation, Coldplay
released A Rush of Blood to the Head in August 2002.
A Rush of Blood to the Head (2001-2004)
The opening track, "Politik", was written days after the September 11
terrorist attacks. The album spawned several popular singles, notably "In My
Place", "Clocks", and the ballad "The Scientist".
Coldplay toured for over a year, from June 2002 to September 2003, visiting
five continents including co-headlining festival dates at Glastonbury Festival,
V2003, and Rock Werchter. The Rush of Blood to the Head tour showed the
band's progression into a bona fide stadium act. Many shows included elaborate
lighting and individualised screens reminiscent of U2's recent Elevation
tour. During the extended tour, Coldplay also recorded a live DVD and CD,
Live 2003, at Sydney's Hordern Pavilion. The compilation featured a new
In December 2003, they were named by readers of Rolling Stone magazine
as the best artist and the best band of the year. At that time Coldplay covered
The Pretenders' 1983 hit "2000 Miles", which was made available for download on
their official site. It was the top selling UK download that year, with proceeds
from the sales donated to Future Forests and Stop Handgun Violence campaigns.
A Rush of Blood to the Head won two trophies at the 2003 Grammy Awards. At
the 2004 Grammy Awards, Coldplay earned Record of the Year honours for "Clocks".
The album was also named to Rolling Stone's 2003 list of the 500 Greatest
Albums at number 473.
2004 was a quiet year for Coldplay, as they spent most of the year out of
spotlight resting from touring and recording their third album. In terms of
musical influences for this particular album, bassist Guy Berryman has said, "We
were listening to lots of different stuff during the early stages (of X&Y),
from Bowie, Eno and Pink Floyd to Depeche Mode, Kate Bush and Kraftwerk. And U2
as we usually do." In May, Coldplay
teased fans with a new song and music video on their official site to celebrate
the birth of Apple, Martin's daughter with his wife, actress Gwyneth Paltrow.
Famed producer Sir George Martin introduced the promo as Coldplay and their
producer, Ken Nelson, performed as The Nappies, a satirised rap/glam rock
outfit. Martin joked that this music had been inspired by Jay-Z.
Coldplay's third album, X&Y, was released on 6 June 2005 in the UK.
This new, delayed release date had put the album back into the next fiscal year,
actually causing EMI's stock to drop.
It became the best-selling album of 2005 with worldwide sales of 8.3 million.
The lead single, "Speed of Sound", made its radio and online music store debut
on 18 April and was released as a CD on 23 May 2005. The album debuted at #1 in
22 countries worldwide and was the third-fastest selling album in UK chart
history. Two other singles were released that year: "Fix You" in September and
"Talk" in December. In May 2006 the band released "The Hardest Part" in several
countries outside the UK. Despite the commercial success, the critical reaction
to X&Y was less unanimous in its praise than the reviews for its
predecessor, with New York Times critic Jon Pareles describing them as
"the most insufferable band of the decade."
From June 2005 to July 2006, Coldplay went on their Twisted Logic
tour, which included festival dates like Coachella, Glastonbury and the Austin
City Limits Music Festival. For the 2006 tour, the band completed a third visit
in the same tour to North America, with dates from late January (Seattle) to
early April (Philadelphia).
In July 2005, the band appeared at Live 8 in Hyde Park, where they played a
rendition of The Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony" with Richard Ashcroft on vocals.
In September, Coldplay recorded a new version of "How You See the World" with
reworked lyrics to War Child's Help: A Day in the Life charity album. In
February 2006, Coldplay earned Best Album and Best Single honours at the BRIT
Next studio album (2006-present)
Early in December 2006, Coldplay's official website announced a new Latin
American tour for the beginning of 2007. Coldplay toured venues in Chile,
Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. The
band is currently in the process of writing material for their fourth studio
album and are "keen to play some intimate shows to try out their new songs". In
early December 2006, it was announced at Billboard.com that the next album was
set for release in late 2007. The band has denied this through a Question and
Answer section on their official website.
There are four known new songs: "Mining on the Moon", "The Butterfly", "The
Fall of Man" and "Bucket for a Crown" (which was debuted at an unplanned
appearance at a benefit for the UK charity Mencap, when the frontman Chris
Martin sang it among two of Bob Dylan's songs, and a cover of "When You Were
Young" by The Killers). It is unknown whether these songs will appear on the
On January 26, 2007, during an interview on BBC Radio 4's Front Row,
musician and producer Brian Eno revealed that he would be the producer for
Coldplay's fourth album. The band
confirmed this through a Question and Answer section on their official website.
In March 2007, famed producer Timbaland told GQ Magazine
that he would be collaborating with the band on their next album.
On May 1, 2007, Coldplay.com was temporarily shut down. When the site was
accessed, a note appeared atop an image of the previous site, reading: We are
building a new site. It will be here VERY soon. Love, Coldplay. On June 18,
2007, the site was relaunched with a new design that resembles a journal
timeline with hand written excerpts, pictures, and videos. As of August 16,
2007, the website does not contain any new official information on the new album
such as release date and album title, but content found on the band's new site
hints that the new album title may be Prospekt. The site also includes
notes on sessions with Eno and Markus Draagainevs, stating that the lyrics are
"much more abstract, much more visual than before," and that the music is "less
straight-forward, more oblique."
In July 2007 Coldplay revealed that the album seemed to be shaping up with
Hispanic influences after having recorded in churches and other areas in Latin
America and Spain, such as Barcelona. On their website, the band also described
taking acoustic guitars and basic recording equipment to churches and
experimenting with particular sounds. However, in the same note, it was stressed
that the influence was not in any specific sound but a general feel to the songs
taken as a whole.
On October 26, 2007 a message on Coldplay.com suggested that two new songs
titled "Famous Old Painters" and "Glass of Water" have recently been written and
added to consideration for the band's upcoming fourth album. While this
announcement suggests further delays for the new album's release, the composer
of the message assures readers that "the self imposed deadline... still stands."
As of November 28, 2007, no release date has been set for Coldplay's fourth
album. According to the band's website it will still be a few months until the
album's release date and contents are finalized. It has been quoted as "the
album people will remember them by" as well as a concise record "with at least
two top-division songs being released independently."
||9.5 million units
||A Rush of Blood to the Head
||14 million units
||12 million units
Political and social activism
Despite Coldplay's large worldwide popularity, the band has remained
protective of how their music is used in the media, refusing its use for product
endorsements. In the past, Coldplay turned down multi-million dollar contracts
from Gatorade, Diet Coke, and Gap, who wanted to use the songs "Yellow",
"Trouble", and "Don't Panic" respectively. According to Martin, "We wouldn't be
able to live with ourselves if we sold the songs' meanings like that."
Coldplay is a supporter of Amnesty International. Chris Martin is also noted
as one of the most visible celebrity advocates for "fair trade", supporting
Oxfam's Make Trade Fair campaign until its dissolution in 2005 after the G8
summit in Gleneagles. Martin has been on trips with Oxfam to assess conditions,
has appeared in its advertising campaign, and is known for wearing a "Make Trade
Fair" wristband during public appearances, including at Coldplay concerts.
Martin was outspoken against the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and he endorsed
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry in 2004. Although he is not a U.S.
citizen, Martin's wife, Gwyneth Paltrow, is; both currently live in London and
In their early years, Coldplay were also widely noted in the media for their
claim to give 10% of the band's profits to charity. Bassist Guy Berryman said,
"You can make people aware of issues. It isn't very much effort for us at all,
but if it can help people, then we want to do it".
The band also asks that any gifts intended for it are donated to charity,
according to a response on the FAQ section of Coldplay's website.
Coldplay parodied their own highly publicised stance on political and social
issues with a cameo in the 2004 film Shaun of the Dead, appearing on TV
within the film to support the charity "Zombaid" (a pun on Live Aid), a charity
dedicated to giving zombies better political rights.
Awaiting your comments