Coldplay

Coldplay are an English alternative rock band formed in 1996 by lead vocalist Chris Martin and lead guitarist Jonny Buckland at University College London. After forming Pectoralz, Guy Berryman joined the group as a bassist and they changed their name to Starfish.[2] Will Champion joined as a drummer, backing vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist, completing the lineup. Manager Phil Harvey is often considered an unofficial fifth member. The band renamed themselves “Coldplay” in 1998, before recording and releasing three EPs; Safety in 1998, Brothers & Sisters as a single in 1999 and The Blue Room in the same year. The latter was their first release on a major label, after signing to Parlophone.

The early material of the band was compared to acts such as Radiohead, U2, A-ha, and Travis. They achieved worldwide fame with the release of the single “Yellow” in 2000, followed by their debut album released in the same year, Parachutes, which was nominated for the Mercury Prize. The band’s second album, A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002), was released to favourable reviews and won multiple awards, including NME‘s Album of the Year, and has been widely considered the best of the Nelson-produced Coldplay albums. Their next release, X&Y, was initially met with mixed reviews upon its release in 2005. However, 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.

Coldplay has won numerous music awards throughout their history, including six Brit Awards—winning Best British Group three times, four MTV Video Music Awards, and seven Grammy Awards from twenty nominations. 2009 was their most successful year having received seven Grammy Award nominations at the 51st Grammy Awards, and won three.As one of the world’s best-selling music artists, Coldplay have sold over 50 million records worldwide.

Since the release of Parachutes, Coldplay have drawn influence from other sources, including Echo & the Bunnymen, Kate Bush, George Harrison and Muse 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, Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief, and the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Coldplay never intended to become England’s favorite rock & roll sons when their signature rock melodies ruled the charts throughout 2000. The Brit rock quartet — composed of Chris Martin (vocals/piano), Jon Buckland (guitar), Will Champion (drums), and Guy Berryman (bass) — 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 U.K.’s ever-changing rock scene. Each member had come from a solid household of working-class parents who encouraged music. Martin, the eldest of five, 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 Clapton and 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, didn’t plan to be a drummer until he joined Coldplay. He favored playing guitar, bass, and the tin whistle, but caught on to playing percussion when the band became official.

Coldplay was heart-rending like Travis, passionate like Jeff Buckley, and as fresh as Oasis when they burst onto the scene. They had 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 U.K. deal with Parlophone in April 1999, and the five-track limited-edition Blue Room EP followed that fall. 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 in the U.K. It saw a U.S. release in November 2000, and a month later “Yellow” was chosen as the theme song for all promo spots for 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 U.S. Rumors of a split consumed most of the U.S. 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 fall, they headed into the studio for a second album. Rumor had it that it might be Coldplay’s last album, for the bandmembers 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 one 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 didn’t 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 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.

Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland first met during their orientation week at University College London (UCL) in September 1996. The pair spent the rest of the university year planning a band, ultimately forming a group called Pectoralz. Guy Berryman, a classmate of Martin and Buckland, later joined the group. By 1997, the group, who had renamed themselves 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.Coldplay have since accepted Harvey as the fifth member of the group. The band’s lineup was completed when Will Champion joined 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 quartets.

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 of that year, 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. Five thousand copies were made available to the public in October, and the single “Bigger Stronger”, received BBC Radio 1 airplay. The recording sessions for The Blue Room were tumultuous. Champion was briefly fired from the band, but Martin later pleaded with him to return after kicking him out, 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. Inspired by bands like U2 and R.E.M., Coldplay decided that they would operate as a democracy, and that profits would be shared equally. Additionally, the band determined they would fire anyone who used hard drugs

Musical style

Coldplay’s alternative rock style has been compared to Radiohead and Oasis.Frontman Chris Martin once proclaimed the band’s music as “limestone rock” in comparison to “hard rock.” The band’s music has been called “meditative” and “blue romantic”; it “[reflects] on their emotions” and Martin “endlessly examine[s] his feelings”.[110] Martin’s lyrical wordplay has been called feminist, similar to Andrew Montgomery of Geneva.

The tone of the band’s first studio album, Parachutes, was described 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.”Coldplay acknowledge the Scottish alternative rock band, Travis, as a major influence on their earlier material.

Regarding their international wide success, the band’s president at Parlophone, Miles Leonard has stated that one of their “secrets” is that they have never sounded like a parochial UK artist, saying: “Some bands are very proud to be British, but sometimes come across as being very ‘British’. Coldplay never aspire to that; on one hand they sound British but on the other they sound like a huge global artist.”

In Viva la Vida or Death And All His Friends, the group’s style was moving towards art rock, experimenting with different instruments including orchestras, honky-tonk pianos and further so.

Activism and commercial endorsements

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 frontman, Chris Martin, “We wouldn’t be able to live with ourselves if we sold the songs’ meanings like that.”[115] 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.[116] Additionally, Chris Martin appeared at an Apple Inc. Special Event on 1 September 2010, playing a number of songs, and also thanked Apple for their assistance in marketing “Viva la Vida”. Coldplay supports Amnesty International. Martin is regarded as one of the most visible celebrity advocates for fair trade, supporting Oxfam’s ongoing Make Trade Fair campaign. He 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.

During the early years, Coldplay became widely known in the media for giving 10 percent 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 spoke out against the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, and endorsed the United States Democratic presidential candidates John Kerry and Barack Obama in 2004 and 2008 respectively.

In June 2009, Coldplay began supporting Meat Free Monday, a food campaign started by Paul McCartney which attempts to help slow climate change by having at least one meat free day a week.

From 17 and 31 December 2009, Coldplay auctioned a quantity of significant band memorabilia, including their first guitars. Proceeds went to Kids Company, a charity which helps vulnerable children and young people in London. A month later in January 2010, Coldplay performed a slightly modified version of “A Message”, entitled “A Message 2010”, at the Hope For Haiti Now telethon special, raising money for the victims of the Haitian Earthquake.

In 2011 Coldplay endorsed the song “Freedom for Palestine” by posting a link to the video. In less than a day 12,000 comments were made on that post. Some threatened to boycott the band, and a Facebook group was created that demanded an apology to Israel.Coldplay eventually removed the link to the song from their Facebook wall.

Coldplay
Background information
Origin London, England, United Kingdom
Genres Alternative rock, post-Britpop
Years active 1996–present
Labels EMI, Parlophone, Capitol, Fierce Panda
Associated acts Apparatjik
Website coldplay.com
Members
Chris Martin
Jonny Buckland
Guy Berryman
Will Champion
Cold Play Lyrics….

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