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Coldplay


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Coldplay 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, Parachutes, 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 Award-winning "Clocks".

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 singing "Yellow"

<<< Video >>>

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.

History

Formation (1996-1999)

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.

Parachutes (1999-2001)

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 BendsOK 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 song, "Moses".

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.

X&Y (2004-2006)

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 Awards.

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 upcoming album.

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."

Discography

Studio albums

Year Album Worldwide Sales
2000 Parachutes 9.5 million units
2002 A Rush of Blood to the Head 14 million units
2005 X&Y 12 million units
2008 TBA  

 

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 Los Angeles.

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.

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