Coldplay is a British alternative rock band, formed in London, United Kingdom in 1997. The band comprises vocalist and pianist Chris Martin, lead guitarist Jonny Buckland, bassist Guy Berryman, and drummer Will Champion.
Having released four successful albums, (all of which debuted at #1 on the UK album chart) Coldplay have also achieved great success with their singles, such as Yellow, Speed Of Sound, the Grammy-winning Clocks and the US and UK #1 single Viva La Vida.
Frontman Chris Martin credits 1980s Norwegian pop band a-ha for inspiring him to form his own band.
Coldplay’s early material was often compared to that of Jeff Buckley and Radiohead, while also drawing comparisons to U2 and Travis. Since the release of the band’s debut album, Parachutes (2000), Coldplay has 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).
Coldplay are one of very few current British music acts to achieve major success in North America. Despite their 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 had 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.” On the other hand, “Yellow” has been used to back TV trailers for “The Simpsons” and “Viva la Vida” from their latest album features on the current iTunes TV advert.
Since 2002, Coldplay have been active supporters of various social and political causes. They have been visible advocates of 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.
The band has released four albums: Parachutes (2000), A Rush Of Blood To The Head (2002), X&Y(2005), and more recently, Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends (2008).
At the Brit Awards 2006, Chris Martin stated that fans would not see them for a long time, suggesting it would be some time before another studio album was released, if at all. However, the previous day on Valentine’s Day 2006, during UK Radio DJ Chris Moyles’ Breakfast show, Martin had said, “The next album is very good, and I know because it is already written”, and rumours were that the band would hire their own ‘HQ’ studio in the style of Kraftwerk’s Kling Klang base to record it, so it would seem there was more to come from Coldplay yet.
Coldplay never intended to become England’s favorite rock & roll sons when their signature rock melodies ruled the charts throughout 2000. The quartet yearned to mess around a bit, plucking their own acoustics for fun while attending the University College of London. All had been playing instruments since their early teens and had been influenced by the likes of Bob Dylan, The Stone Roses, Neil Young, and My Bloody Valentine.
They never imagined taking reign of the UK’s ever-changing rock scene. Each member had come from a solid household of middle-class parents who encouraged music. Martin, the eldest of five siblings, began playing the piano as a young child. He started playing in bands around age 15 and sought solace in the words of Tom Waits. Buckland, on the other hand, was into the heavy guitar work of Eric Claptonand Jimi Hendrix and was playing guitar by age 11. Scotland native Berryman was into funk instead of indie rock, therefore leaving him to play bass. The multi-instrumentalist Champion had not planned to be a drummer until he joined Coldplay. He favoured playing guitar, bass, and the tin whistle, but caught on to playing percussion when the band became official.
When they burst onto the scene, Coldplay were heart-wrenching like Travis, passionate like Jeff Buckley, and as fresh as Oasis. They played their first gig at a festival for unsigned bands in Manchester, and the Safety EP was issued shortly thereafter. The Brothers & Sisters EP was issued by Fierce Panda and released a year later. (Both releases saw only 500 pressings.) Their sweet melodies and swooning lyrics landed Coldplay a UK deal with Parlophone in April 1999, and the five-track limited edition Blue Room EP followed that autumn. With nods from the media, the dream pop foursome was hailed as the next Travis, thanks to their simplistic acoustics and charming personas. Two more EPs, Shiver and Yellow, arrived in Spring 2000.
Their full-length debut, Parachutes, earned the band a Mercury Music Prize nomination in the UK. It saw a US release in November 2000, and a month later “Yellow” was chosen as the theme song for all promo spots for the American TV network ABC. The well-received hype surrounding Coldplay continued throughout 2001 as well; they were nominated for three Brit Awards and embarked on a sold-out ten-date tour of the US. Rumours of a split consumed most of the US tour. Martin frequently battled nasty colds and voice exhaustion, which led Coldplay to cancel a series of American dates and scrap a European tour. With all gossip aside, Coldplay resumed playing in Summer 2001 and earned additional success with second single “Trouble”.
By the autumn, they had headed into the studio for a second album. Rumour had it that it might be Coldplay’s last album, since the band members felt they might not capture such brilliance again. A Rush of Blood to the Head was released in August 2002. The CD/DVD package Live 2003 was issued a year later. Capturing the band’s show at the Horden Pavilion in Sydney, Australia, it highlighted Coldplay’s monumental success worldwide with A Rush of Blood to the Head. Martin specifically earned a higher notch on the celebrity scale by marrying actress Gwyneth Paltrow in December 2003. Paltrow gave birth to the couple’s first daughter, Apple Blythe Alison Martin, the following April.
Fatherhood did not stop Martin from working, as Coldplay began recording material for a third album within weeks. Previously recorded material with longtime producer Ken Nelson was scrapped early on, while producer Danton Supple (Morrissey, The Cure) joined Coldplay to complete the recording of X&Y. “Speed of Sound” marked Coldplay’s first single from their long-awaited third effort in Spring 2005; the album followed in June, topping the charts around the world, including America and Britain.
Coldplay’s fourth album Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends was released on June 12, 2008 in the United Kingdom, with the first single Violet Hill having been previously released as a free download through their official website for a week from April 29, 2008.
Upon release, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends topped the UK album chart, despite having come on the market only three days previously. In that time, it sold 302,000 copies; the BBC called it "one of the fastest-selling records in UK history". By the end of June, it had set a new record for most-downloaded album ever. In October 2008, Coldplay won two Q Awards for Best Album for Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends and Best Act in the World Today. On 9 November, Coldplay were named the World's Best Selling Act of 2008 at the World Music Awards in Monte Carlo. They also picked up two other awards, World's Best Selling Rock Act and Great Britain's Best Selling Act. The band followed up Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends with the Prospekt's March EP, which was released on 21 November 2008. The EP features tracks from the Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friendssessions and, as well as being available on its own, was issued as a bonus disc with later editions of Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends."Life in Technicolor II" was the only single released from the EP.
Coldplay were nominated for four BRIT Awards in 2009: British Group, British Live Act, British Single ("Viva la Vida") and British Album (Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends).At the 51st Grammy Awards in the same year, Coldplay won three Grammy Awards in the categories for Song of Year for "Viva la Vida", Best Rock Album for Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, and Best Vocal Pop Performance by a Duo or Group for "Viva la Vida"
The band settled on an industrial rock direction and finished recording the new album in mid-2011. When Martin and Champion were interviewed by BBC Radio and asked about the album's lyrical themes, Martin replied "It's about love, addiction, OCD, escape and working for someone you don't like." When asked whether or not their fifth album would be out by the summer, Martin and Champion said that there was plenty of work to be done before releasing it. They confirmed several festival appearances before its release date, especially a headlining spot in the 2011 Rock Werchter, Glastonbury Festival, T in the Park, Austin City Limits Music Festival, Rock in Rio, and Lollapaloozafestivals.
In an interview on 13 January 2011, Coldplay mentioned two new songs to be included on their upcoming fifth album, "Princess of China" and "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall". In a February interview, Parlophone president Miles Leonard told HitQuarters that the band were still in the studio working on the album and he expected the final version would appear "towards the autumn of this year".
On 31 May 2011, Coldplay announced that "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall" was to be the first single for the fifth album. It was released on 3 June 2011. The band also presented five new songs at festivals during the summer of 2011, "Charlie Brown", "Hurts Like Heaven", "Us Against the World", "Princess of China" and "Major Minus".
On 12 August 2011 Coldplay announced via their official website that Mylo Xyloto is the new album title, and that it will be released on 24 October 2011. On 12 September the band released the second single from their upcoming album Mylo Xyloto entitled "Paradise". On 23 September 2011 tickets for Coldplay's European tour officially went on sale. Demand proved to be very high with most venues selling out in seconds. Mylo Xyloto was released on the 24 October 2011, to generally favourable reviews.