are an indie band from London, England. Having released
three successful albums, Coldplay has also achieved great
success with their singles, such as "Yellow", "Fix You" and
the Grammy-winning "Clocks". The band are known for their
smooth melodies and lead singer Chris Martin's activism in
favour of Fair Trade.
early material was influenced by emotional alternative rock
and Britpop, including the likes of Jeff Buckley, The Verve
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, A-Ha and
X&Y (2005), the
band's latest release.
Coldplay is one of very few current British music acts to
achieve major success in North America. Despite Coldplay's
large worldwide popularity, the band has remained very
protective of how their music is used in the media, refusing
its use for product endorsements. 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.
Chris Martin – lead vocals, piano/keyboard,
Jon Buckland – guitar, harmonica, backing vocals
Will Champion – drums/percussion, piano, backing
Guy Berryman – bass guitar, synthesizer,
harmonica, backing vocals
(1996–1999) Formation and early years
members of the band met at Ramsay Hall, a hall of residence
at University College London in September 1996. Martin and
Buckland were the first members of the band, having met one
another during freshers' week. They spent the rest of the
year planning a band; at one point Martin had considered
forming an *NSYNC-inspired boy band called Pectoralz.
Eventually, Berryman joined the ranks, without consideration
of what musical direction the band was taking. On 8 January
1998, the band's line-up was complete when 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. At the time, the
band performed under the name Starfish. Eventually, the band
took the name Coldplay from a mutual friend. Another UCL
student, Tim Rice-Oxley was offered a job as Coldplay's
keyboard player, but he refused since he was already
committed to Keane.
1998, Coldplay was performing small club gigs for local
Camden promoters and the delight of their budding fanbase.
Wanting more creative freedom, Martin recruited school
friend Phil Harvey, who was studying Classics at Oxford, to
act as band manager. Harvey helped the band raise money
needed to record a demo.
managed the band up until and including the release of their
debut album Parachutes. On May 18, 1998 the band
released 500 copies of the EP Safety. Most of the
discs were given to record companies and friends; only 50
copies remained for sale to the public. In December,
Coldplay was signed by indie label Fierce Panda, after
founder Simon Williams had attended the band's gig that
evening. The result was the three track EP
Sisters which was quickly recorded over four
days in February 1999. The disc was released in April, only
2,500 copies were pressed in a very limited release.
Interest in the band was slowly growing across the UK,
helped by regular airplay from BBC Radio 1 DJ Steve Lamacq
and BMG Music Publishing, which had signed the band to a
completing their final examinations, Coldplay was 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. The disc was released in October, and 5,000 copies
were made available to the public. 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, Martin (a self-proclaimed
non-drinker and non-smoker) 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 a-ha, U2 and R.E.M. Second, the band
would fire anyone who used hard drugs.
November 1999, Coldplay focused their efforts on their debut
album. The band spent the New Year by completing album
tracks "Yellow" and "Everything's Not Lost". They also
played on the NME Carling Premier 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.
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
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 criticized for bearing a strong resemblance to
the music of fellow alt-rock band Radiohead in their The
Bends–OK Computer era. "Yellow" and "Trouble"
earned regular airplay on radio on both sides of the
Atlantic. While having strong influence of Radiohead, the album captured some
of their audience after the electronic-experimental album
Kid A, which divided Radiohead's fanbase into those who
were alienated by it and those who liked it. Parlophone
originally predicted sales of 40,000 units of Parachutes;
by Christmas, 1.6 million copies had been sold in the
Kingdom alone. Parachutes was nominated for the
Mercury Music Prize in September 2000.
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 modest success, and
was certified with Gold status in the United States. The
album was also critically well-received, earning Best
Alternative Music Album honours at the 2002 Grammy Awards.
(2001–2004) A Rush of Blood to the Head
Coldplay returned working in October 2001 to begin work on
their second album. With much anticipation, Coldplay
released A Rush of Blood to the Head in August 2002.
opening track, "Politik", was written days after the
September 11 terrorist attacks. The album spawned many
popular singles, notably "In My Place", "The Scientist", and
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 tour showed the band's progression into a bona
fide stadium act. Many shows included elaborate lighting and
individualized screens reminiscent of U2's Elevation Tour.
Coldplay also built a reputation of performing eclectic
covers, including A-Ha's Hunting High And Low, Aqua's
"Barbie Girl", Rammstein's "Du hast", and Nelly's "Hot in
Herre", along with more heartfelt renditions of songs like
Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World". During the
extended tour, Coldplay also recorded a live DVD and CD,
Live 2003, at Sydney's Hordern Pavilion. A new song,
"Moses", could be found on this compilation.
December 2003, they were named by readers of Rolling Stone
magazine as the best artist and the best band of the year.
That same time Coldplay covered The Pretenders' 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
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 May, Coldplay teased fans with a new
song and music video on their official site to celebrate the
birth of Apple, Martin's daughter. 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
Coldplay's third album,
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 8.4
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 28
countries worldwide and is the second fastest selling album
chart history (behind the 1997 Oasis album Be Here Now).
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
June 2005 to July 2006, Coldplay was on the Twisted Logic
Tour, that has included festival dates like Coachella,
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). The 22nd and 23rd March shows in
Toronto were also recorded for an upcoming live DVD. 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.
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.
February 2006, Coldplay earned Best Album and Best Single
honours at the Brit Awards. In his acceptance speech, lead
singer Chris Martin raised rumours of a band split when he
announced in manner "This (award) means so much to us,
especially now. It's going to be a few years before you see
us again." The band's label have refuted these claims as
they have two more albums in contract.
Political and social activism
Coldplay is a supporter of Amnesty International; frontman
Chris Martin is also noted one of the most visible celebrity
advocates for "fair trade", supporting Oxfam's Make Trade
Fair campaign until its dissolution in 2005 after the
concert Live 8 (which Coldplay played at) and the G8 summit
in Gleneagles, Scotland. Martin has been on trips with Oxfam
to assess conditions, has appeared in their advertising
campaign, and is known for wearing a "Make Trade Fair"
wristband during public appearances, including at Coldplay
According to Martin, poor countries
are trading on an unfair playing field, because rich nations
are allowed to subsidize their own farmers and industries,
while poorer nations are forced to cut subsidies as a
condition of loans and aid from
rich countries. When poor nations without the benefit
of subsidies try to trade with rich nations, their farmers
must compete with lower-priced
protected goods from rich countries that have
been "dumped" into their markets, keeping their own
industries in an infant state, and in the process chaining
the "third world" in an endless cycle of poverty, according
to fair trade advocates. Martin allegedly wrote the song
"Twisted Logic" to express his beliefs on the issue, even
using the song's title to name the band's tour for
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 New York City.
their early years, Coldplay was also widely noted in the
media for their claim to give 10% of their band's profits to
charity. Bassist Guy Berryman says, "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".
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