Coldplay, from left to right: Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Chris
Martin, and Will Champion
Origin London, England
Genre(s) Alternative rock
Years active 1998–present
1.1 Formation and first years (1996–1999)
1.2 Parachutes (1999–2001)
1.3 A Rush of Blood to the Head (2001–2004)
1.4 X&Y (2004–2006)
1.5 Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends (2006–present)
2 Musical style
4.1 Studio albums
4.2 Live albums
Coldplay are a British alternative rock band formed in London, England
in 1998. The group comprises vocalist/keyboardist/guitarist Chris
Martin, lead guitarist Jonny Buckland, bassist Guy Berryman, and
drummer/backing vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Will Champion. Coldplay
have sold 50 million albums, and are also known for their hit singles,
such as «Yellow», «The Scientist», «Clocks», «Speed of Sound», «Fix You»
and «Viva la Vida».
Coldplay achieved worldwide fame with the release of their single
«Yellow», followed by their debut album, Parachutes (2000), which was
nominated for the Mercury Prize. Its follow-up, A Rush of Blood to the
Head (2002), won multiple awards such as NME’s Album of the Year. Their
next release, X&Y (2005), received a slightly less enthusiastic yet
still generally positive reception. The band’s fourth studio album, Viva
la Vida or Death and All His Friends (2008), was produced by Brian Eno
and released again to largely favourable reviews, earning several Grammy
nominations and wins. All of Coldplay’s albums have enjoyed commercial
Coldplay’s early material was compared to acts such as Radiohead, Jeff
Buckley, U2, and Travis. Since the release of Parachutes, Coldplay have
drawn influence from other sources, including Echo and the Bunnymen,
Kate Bush and George Harrison on A Rush of Blood to the Head, Johnny
Cash and Kraftwerk for X&Y and Blur, Arcade Fire and My Bloody Valentine
on Viva la Vida. 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 have also performed at various
charity projects such as Band Aid 20, Live 8, Sound Relief, and the
Teenage Cancer Trust.
Formation and first years (1996–1999)
The members of the band met at the 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 college year planning a band, with their efforts
culminating in a group called Pectoralz. Later, Guy Berryman, a
classmate of the two, joined. By 1997, the group, who had renamed
themselves to Starfish, performed gigs for local Camden promoters at
small clubs. Martin also had recruited his longtime school friend Phil
Harvey, who was studying classics at Oxford, to be the band’s manager.
(To this day, Coldplay consider Harvey to be the fifth member of the
group.) The band’s lineup was complete when Will Champion joined the
band to take up percussion duties. Champion had grown up playing piano,
guitar, bass, and tin whistle; he quickly learned the drums, despite
having no previous experience. The band finally settled on the name
«Coldplay» which was suggested by Tim Crompton, a local student who had
been using the name for his group. By 1997 Martin had also met then
Classics student Tim Rice-Oxley. During a weekend on Virginia Water,
they asked each other to play off their own songs on the piano. Martin,
finding Rice-Oxley to be talented, asked him to be Coldplay’s keyboard
player but Rice-Oxley refused as his own band (Keane) was already
operational. Days after, this event would shape the second line-up of
Keane and keep Coldplay’s unaltered, thus leaving both bands as
In 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 the
independent label Fierce Panda. Their first release was the three-track
Brothers and Sisters EP, which they had quickly recorded over four days
in February 1999.
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 were made available to the
public in October, and the single «Bigger Stronger», received Radio 1
airplay. The recording sessions for The Blue Room were tumultuous.
Martin kicked Champion out of the band but later pleaded with him to
return, and because of 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 began work on their debut album, recorded at
Rockfield Studios with producer Ken Nelson. 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, it reached at number 35 on the UK
Singles Chart 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, including a showing at Glastonbury. The band also
released the breakthrough single «Yellow». The song shot to number four
on the UK Singles Chart and placed Coldplay in public consciousness.
Coldplay released their first full-length album, Parachutes, in July
2000, which debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart. «Yellow» and
«Trouble» earned regular radio airplay in the UK and US. Parlophone
originally predicted sales of 400,000 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, and Parachutes was released there in November 2001. 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. Whilst Parachutes was a slow-burning success in the US, it
eventually reached double-platinum status. The album was critically
well-received, earning Best Alternative Music Album honours at the 2002
A Rush of Blood to the Head (2001–2004)
Coldplay returned to the studio in October 2001 to begin work on their
second album, once again with Ken Nelson producing. A Rush of Blood to
the Head was released in August 2002. The album spawned several popular
singles, notably «In My Place», «Clocks», and the ballad «The
Coldplay toured from June 2002 to September 2003 for the A Rush of Blood
to the Head Tour. They visited five continents, including co-headlining
festival dates at Glastonbury Festival, V2003 and Rock Werchter. Many
shows included elaborate lighting and individualised screens reminiscent
of U2’s Elevation Tour. During the extended tour, Coldplay recorded a
live DVD and CD, Live 2003, at Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion.
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 the
Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album at the 2003 Grammy Awards.
At the 2004 Grammy Awards, Coldplay earned Record of the Year for
Coldplay live in 2005
Coldplay spent most of 2004 out of the spotlight, resting from touring,
and recording their third album. In terms of particular musical
influences for it, bassist Guy Berryman 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, Chris Martin and his wife, actress Gwyneth Paltrow,
celebrated the birth of their daughter named Apple.
X&Y was released in June 2005 in UK and Europe. 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 number one in 30 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. The latter is set to the melody of «Computer Love»,
which was released in 1981 by the German synthpop band Kraftwerk and had
in the previous year been revived by Norwegian guitarist Erik Wollo.
Despite the commercial success, the critical reaction to X&Y was less
enthusiastic than that of its predecessor, with New York Times critic
Jon Pareles describing Coldplay as «the most insufferable band of the
decade». Comparisons between Coldplay and U2 became increasingly common.
Chris Martin later revealed that the negative remarks made him feel
From June 2005 to July 2006, Coldplay went on their Twisted Logic Tour,
which included festival dates like Coachella, Isle of Wight Festival,
Glastonbury and the Austin City Limits Music Festival. In July 2005, the
band appeared at Live 8 in Hyde Park, where they played a rendition of
The Verve’s «Bitter Sweet 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. Two more singles were released during 2006,
«The Hardest Part» and «What If». «White Shadows» was released in Mexico
during June 2007.
Chris Martin playing a concert in Sao Paulo, Brazil
Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends (2006–present)
The band began to work on their fourth studio album, Viva la Vida or
Death and All His Friends, in October 2006, with Brian Eno as producer.
Coldplay took a break from recording and toured Latin America in early
2007, including shows in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. The band
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 during their tour. The group spent the rest of the
year recording, mainly with Brian Eno.
Martin described Viva la Vida as a new direction for Coldplay: a change
from their past three albums, which they have referred to as a
«trilogy». He said the album featured less falsetto as he allowed his
voice’s lower register to take precedence. Some songs, such as «Violet
Hill», contain distorted guitar riffs and bluesy undertones. «Violet
Hill» was confirmed as the first single, with a radio release date of 29
April 2008. After the first play, it was freely obtainable from
Coldplay’s website from 12:15 pm (GMT +0) for one week (achieving two
million downloads), until it became commercially available to download
on 6 May. «Violet Hill» entered the UK Top 10, US Top 40 (entering the
Top 10 in the Hot Modern Rock Tracks chart) and charted well in the rest
of the world. The title track, «Viva la Vida», was also released
exclusively on iTunes. It became the band’s first number one on the
Billboard Hot 100, and their first UK number one, based on download
sales alone. On 16 June, Coldplay began their Viva la Vida Tour with a
free concert at Brixton Academy in London. This was followed two days
later by a 45-minute performance that was broadcast live from outside
BBC Television Centre. «Lost!» became the third single from the album,
featuring a new version with Jay-Z.
On 15 June 2008, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends topped the UK
album chart, despite having been on sale for only three days. 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. During an interview with Zane
Lowe for BBC Radio 1 on 16 October, Martin suggested that the band were
trying to book Knebworth House in Hertfordshire for a concert in 2009.
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 Friends
sessions and, as well as being available on its own, was available as a
bonus disc with later editions of Viva la Vida or Death and All His
Friends. The song «Life in Technicolor II» was released as a single on 9
On 20 January 2009, it was announced that Coldplay had been nominated
for four BRIT Awards: 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 on 8 February 2009, 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».
Coldplay performed the opening set on 14 March 2009 for Sound Relief at
the Sydney Cricket Ground and then played a sold-out concert later that
same night. Sound Relief is a benefit concert for victims of the
Victorian Bushfire Crisis and the Queensland Floods. Appearing with
Coldplay at the Sydney concert were Eskimo Joe, Hoodoo Gurus, Icehouse,
Josh Pyke, Little Birdy, The Presets, Wolfmother, You Am I, Kings of
Leon and additional artists.
Before heading to the Japanese leg of their Viva la Vida Tour, the band
announced on Twitter that they had worked with Brian Eno on new
material. In March 2009, the band announced that they were postponing
plans to re-enter the studio in order to take a break after a long stint
on tour, with Buckland claiming that «there’s no time to do proper
justice to a new project.»
On 1 May 2009, the band announced on their official website that they
would be giving away a live CD, entitled LeftRightLeftRightLeft, at the
remaining concerts of their Viva la Vida tour. The album is also
available as a free download from their website beginning 15 May 2009.
The nine tracks were recorded at various shows during the tour.
Coldplay’s musical style has been defined as alternative rock, being
compared to Jeff Buckley and Oasis. Lead singer/songwriter Chris Martin
once labeled the band’s music as «limestone rock». The band’s music has
been called «meditative» and «blue romantic»; it «[reflects] on their
emotions» and Martin «endlessly examine[s] his feelings». Martin’s
lyrical wordplay has been called feminist, similar to Andrew Montgomery
The tone of the band’s first studio album, Parachutes, was defined as
melodic pop with «distorted guitar riffs and swishing percussion». It
was also described as being «exquisitely dark and artistically
abrasive». In a review for A Rush of Blood to the Head, the songs were
considered to contain «lush melodies and a heartbreak» and that they had
a «newfound confidence.» The music on X&Y has been considered to be
«ruminations on Martin’s doubts, fears, hopes, and loves.»
Despite Coldplay’s 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 vocalist/pianist Martin, «We wouldn’t be able to live with ourselves
if we sold the songs’ meanings like that.» The song «Viva la Vida» was
featured in a commercial for the iTunes Store, advertising its exclusive
availability of the single as a digital download on iTunes. Coldplay are
supporters of Amnesty International. Chris Martin is also noted as one
of the most visible celebrity advocates for fair trade, supporting
Oxfam’s ongoing Make Trade Fair campaign. 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. The band were also filmed
for Make Poverty History, clicking their fingers.
Make Trade Fair, abbreviated as MTF, shown on Chris Martin’s piano
during a concert
In the band’s early years, Coldplay was also widely known in the media
for their claim to give 10% of the band’s profits to charity, which they
continue to do. 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 them are donated to charity, according to a response on the
FAQ section of Coldplay’s website. Martin was outspoken against the 2003
invasion of Iraq, and he endorsed Democratic presidential candidate John
Kerry in 2004, as well as Barack Obama in 2008.
The discography of Coldplay, a British alternative rock band which
formed in 1998, consists of four studio albums, five extended plays,
twenty-two singles, one live album, and one compilation album.
Coldplay’s first release, the limited demo Safety, was released in 1998,
and their debut studio album, Parachutes, was released two years later,
in July 2000.
Coldplay have sold over 50 million albums, and are also known for
singles such as «Yellow», «The Scientist», «Speed of Sound», «Talk»,
«Violet Hill», the Grammy Award-winning «Clocks» and «In My Place», and
the two-time Grammy Award-winning «Viva la Vida».
In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, the band confirmed that
their fifth studio album will be finished by the end of 2009 «in an
Studio albums 4
Live albums 2
Compilation albums 1
Extended plays 5
Music videos 23
Other releases 3
A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002)
Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends (2008)
Prospekt’s March EP (2008)
Live 2003 (2003)
Coldplay have received 43 awards from 117 nominations. They received six
awards from fourteen nominations from the BRIT Awards—winning Best
British Group three times. They have won seven Grammy Awards from
eighteen nominations. 2009 was their most successful year having
received seven nominations at the 51st Grammy Awards—more than they had
done previously—of which they won three. Coldplay have received eight
MTV Awards, including four MTV Europe Music Awards from thirteen
nominations, and four MTV Video Music Awards from twelve nominations.
The music video for «The Scientist» won all the awards for which it was
nominated at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards. They received five Q
Awards from sixteen nominations and have won the Best Album award for
three of their four albums.
Coldplay awards and nominations:
Award Wins Nominations
American Music Awards 0 5
BRIT Awards 6 14
ECHO Awards 2 2
Grammy Awards 7 18
Ivor Novello Awards 0 6
Juno Awards 2 2
Los Premios MTV Latinoamerica 1 2
Meteor Music Awards 1 3
MTV Asia Awards 0 1
MTV Europe Music Awards 4 13
MTV Video Music Awards 4 12
MTV Video Music Awards Japan 0 1
MuchMusic Video Awards 0 1
NME Awards 5 7
NRJ Music Awards 1 4
People’s Choice Awards 0 2
Q Awards 5 16
World Music Awards 3 3
GQ Awards 1 1
International Dance Music Awards 1 2
Mercury Prize 0 2
Awards won 43
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