Coldplay are a British rock band formed in London in 1996. Vocalist, rhythm guitarist and pianist Chris Martin, lead guitarist Jonny Buckland, bassist Guy Berryman, and drummer Will Champion met at University College London and began playing music together from 1996 to 1998, first calling themselves Pectoralz and then Starfish before finally changing their name to Coldplay. Their creative director and former manager Phil Harvey is considered the fifth member of the band.
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After changing their name to Coldplay, the band recorded and released two EPs: Safety in 1998 and The Blue Room in 1999. The latter was their first release on a major record label, after signing to Parlophone. Coldplay achieved worldwide fame with the release of the song "Yellow" in 2000, followed in the same year by their debut album Parachutes, which was nominated for the Mercury Prize. The band's second album, A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002), was released to critical acclaim. Their next release, X&Y, was the best-selling album worldwide of 2005. Their Brian Eno-produced fourth studio album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends (2008) was the best-selling album worldwide of said year and earned three Grammy Awards. In 2011, Coldplay released their fifth studio album, Mylo Xyloto, which topped the charts in over 34 countries and was the UK's best-selling rock album of 2011. The band have since released Ghost Stories (2014), A Head Full of Dreams (2015) and Everyday Life (2019).
Coldplay have sold more than 100 million records worldwide, making them one of the world's best-selling music artists. They have won numerous awards throughout their career, including nine Brit Awards, seven MTV Video Music Awards, eight MTV Europe Music Awards and seven Grammy Awards from 35 nominations. The band's first three albums — Parachutes (2000), A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002), and X&Y (2005) — are among the best-selling albums in UK chart history. In December 2009, Rolling Stone readers voted the group the fourth-best artist of the 2000s, and Q magazine included the group in their Artists of the Century list.
Coldplay have supported various social and political causes, such as Oxfam's Make Trade Fair campaign and Amnesty International. They have also performed at charity projects, including Band Aid 20, Live 8, Global Citizen Festival, Sound Relief, Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief, One Love Manchester, The Secret Policeman's Ball, Sport Relief and the UK Teenage Cancer Trust.
1996–1999: Formation and first years
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 the University of Oxford, to be the band's manager. Coldplay have since accepted Harvey as the fifth member of the group. The band's line-up 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). Initially, the band rehearsed in Jonny Buckland's bedroom in a flat, with neighbors who were able to tolerate the noise. 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 met Classics student Tim Rice-Oxley. During a weekend in the English village Virginia Water in Surrey they asked each other to play 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 active. 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 EP Safety. Most of the discs were given to record labels 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 single "Brothers & Sisters", which they had recorded over four days in February 1999.
After completing their final examinations, Coldplay signed a five-album contract with Parlophone in early 1999. After making their first appearance at Glastonbury, the band went into the studio to record a second 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. Additionally, the band determined they would fire anyone who used hard drugs.
The band initially planned to record their debut album over the span of two weeks. However, due to tours and other live performances, the recording took place between September 1999 and April–May 2000. The album was recorded at Rockfield Studios, Matrix Studios, and Wessex Sound Studios with producer Ken Nelson, although the majority of Parachutes' tracks were recorded at Liverpool's Parr Street Studios (where they accessed three studio rooms). The mixing process on all songs for the album was done by American engineer Michael Brauer in New York. During that period, they played on the Carling Tour, which showcased up-and-coming acts.
—The Guardian ranked "Yellow" and its impact on the change in direction in mainstream rock number 47 on their list of the 50 key events in rock music history.
After releasing two EPs without a hit song, Coldplay had their first Top 40 hit with the lead single from Parachutes, "Shiver", which was released in March 2000, the same week Coldplay played The Forum in Tunbridge Wells supporting the band Terris. "Shiver" went on to peak at the number 35 position on the UK Singles Chart. June 2000 was a pivotal moment in Coldplay's history: the band embarked on their first headlining tour, including a showing at the Glastonbury Festival. The band also released the breakthrough single "Yellow". It was Coldplay's first release to reach the top five, rising to number four on the UK Singles Chart. The minimalistic music video for "Yellow" was filmed at Studland Bay in Dorset, and featured Martin singing the song in one continuous shot as he walks along the beach. "Yellow" and "Shiver" were initially released as EPs in the spring of 2000. The former was later released as a single in United Kingdom on 26 June 2000. In the United States, the song was released as the lead single from the then-untitled debut album. In October 2000, the track was sent to US college and alternative radio outlets.
Coldplay released their first studio album, Parachutes, on 10 July 2000 in the United Kingdom via their record label, Parlophone. The album debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart. It was released on 7 November 2000 by record label Nettwerk in North America. The album has been made available on various formats since its initial release; both Parlophone and Nettwerk released it as a CD in 2000, and it was also released as a Cassette by US label Capitol in 2001. In the following year, Parlophone issued the album as an LP. Four singles were released from Parachutes, including "Shiver" and "Yellow", and enjoyed popularity in the UK and US. The third single was "Trouble", which reached number 10 in the UK charts. It was released more than a year later in the US, and reached number 28 in the Alternative Songs chart. In December 2001, the band released a limited-edition CD, Mince Spies, featuring a remix of "Yellow" and the Christmas song "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas". It was pressed to 1,000 copies, and was issued only to fans and journalists.
Parachutes was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize in September 2000. Having found success in Europe, the band set their sights on North America, by releasing the album there in November 2000, and started the US Club Tour in February 2001. At the 2001 Brit Awards in February, Coldplay earned awards for Best British Group, and Best British Album. Although Parachutes was a slow-burning success in the United States, it eventually reached double-platinum status. The album was critically well received and earned a Best Alternative Music Album honours at the 2002 Grammy Awards. Chris Martin claimed, after the release of Parachutes, that the album's success was intended to elevate the band's status to the "biggest, best band in the world." After single-handedly managing the band until early 2001, Phil Harvey resigned from his role due to the stress of performing a role usually requiring a team of people. Harvey then took on the role of "creative director" and is often referred as the official fifth member by the band, while Dave Holmes took over as the band's manager.
2002–2004: A Rush of Blood to the Head
After the success of Parachutes, Coldplay returned to the studio in September 2001 to begin work on their second album, A Rush of Blood to the Head, once again with Ken Nelson producing. Since the band had never stayed in London before, they had trouble focusing. They decided to relocate in Liverpool, where they recorded some of the songs on Parachutes. Once there, vocalist Chris Martin said that they became obsessed with recording. "In My Place" was the first song recorded for the album. The band released it as the album's lead single because it was the track that made them want to record a second album, following a "strange period of not really knowing what we were doing" three months after the success of Parachutes. According to Martin "one thing kept us going: recording 'In My Place'. Then other songs started coming."
The band wrote more than 20 songs for the album. Some of their new material, including "In My Place" and "Animals", was played live while the band were still touring Parachutes. The album's title was revealed through a post on the band's official website. The album was released in August 2002 and spawned several popular singles, including "In My Place", "Clocks", and the ballad "The Scientist". The latter was inspired by George Harrison's "All Things Must Pass", which was released in 1970.
Coldplay toured from 26 March 2002 to October 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 concerts showcased elaborate lighting and individualised screens reminiscent of U2's Elevation Tour and Nine Inch Nails' Fragility Tour. During the extended tour, Coldplay recorded a live DVD and CD, Live 2003, at Sydney's Hordern Pavilion. At the 2003 Brit Awards held at Earls Court, London, Coldplay received awards for Best British Group, and Best British Album. On 28 August 2003, Coldplay performed "The Scientist" at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards at the Radio City Music Hall in New York City, and won three awards.
In December 2003, readers of Rolling Stone Magazine chose Coldplay as the best artist and the best band of the year. At that time the band covered the Pretenders' 1983 song "2000 Miles" (which was made available for download on their official website). "2000 Miles" 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 "Clocks".
Coldplay spent most of 2004 out of the spotlight, taking a break from touring and releasing a satire music video of a song from a fictional band titled The Nappies while recording their third album. 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, and the late release was blamed for a drop in EMI's stock. 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. X&Y entered the album charts of 20 countries at the number one position 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. Critical reaction to X&Y was mostly positive, though slightly less enthusiastic than that of its predecessor. The New York Times critic Jon Pareles infamously described Coldplay as "the most insufferable band of the decade", whereas NME awarded the album 9/10 calling it "Confident, bold, ambitious, bunged with singles and impossible to contain, X&Y doesn't reinvent the wheel but it does reinforce Coldplay as the band of their time". Comparisons between Coldplay and U2 became increasingly common. Martin said the critical review of the album by the New York Times made him feel liberated as he "agreed with a lot of the points... so, in a way, it was liberating to see that someone else realised that also."
From June 2005 to March 2007, 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. On 28 August, Coldplay performed "Speed of Sound" at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards in Miami. In September, Coldplay recorded a new version of "How You See the World" with reworked lyrics for 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. Three more singles were released during 2006 and 2007, "The Hardest Part", "What If" and "White Shadows".
2007–2010: Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends
In October 2006, Coldplay began work on their fourth studio album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, with producer Brian Eno. Taking a break from recording, the band toured Latin America in early 2007, finishing the Twisted Logic Tour by performing in Chile, Argentina, Brazil, and Mexico. After recording in churches and other venues in Latin America and Spain during their tour, the band said the album would likely reflect Hispanic influence. The group spent the rest of the year recording most of the album with Eno.
Martin described Viva la Vida as a new direction for Coldplay; a change from their past three albums, which the band felt was a "trilogy" that they had finished. 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 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 US Billboard Hot 100, and their first UK number one. Coldplay performed the song live for the first time at the 2008 MTV Movie Awards on 1 June. "Viva la Vida" became iTunes' best-selling song of 2008.
Upon release, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends topped the album charts worldwide, and was the world's best-selling album of 2008. It hit number one on 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 EP Prospekt's March, 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 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 began their Viva la Vida Tour in June, 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. Released in late 2008, "Lost!" became the third single from the album, featuring a new version with Jay-Z called "Lost+". After performing the opening set on 14 March 2009 for Sound Relief at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Coldplay headlined 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. On 4 December 2008, Joe Satriani filed a copyright infringement suit against Coldplay in the United States District Court for the Central District of California. Satriani's suit asserted that the Coldplay song "Viva la Vida" includes "substantial original portions" of the Satriani song "If I Could Fly" from his 2004 album, Is There Love in Space?. The Coldplay song in question received two Grammy Awards for "Song of the Year." The band denied the allegation. An unspecified settlement was ultimately reached between the parties.
Coldplay were nominated for four awards at the 2009 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 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". A live album entitled LeftRightLeftRightLeft was recorded at various shows during the tour. LeftRightLeftRightLeft, released on 15 May 2009, was to be given away at the remaining concerts of their Viva la Vida Tour. It was also released as a free download from their website. Following the Viva la Vida Tour, Coldplay announced another "Latin America tour" to take place in February and March 2010, in which they were to visit Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, and Colombia. In October 2009, Coldplay won Song of the Year for "Viva la Vida" at The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) Awards in London. In December 2009, Rolling Stone readers voted the group the fourth best artist of the 2000s. In December 2010 the band released the single "Christmas Lights". The song received very positive reviews, and the music video features a cameo from actor Simon Pegg, a close friend of Chris Martin, who plays a violin-playing Elvis impersonator in the background.
2010–2012: Mylo Xyloto
The band 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, including a headlining spot at the 2011 Glastonbury Festival, T in the Park, Austin City Limits Music Festival, Rock in Rio, and Lollapalooza festival.
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 that 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 was the new album title, and that it would be released on 24 October 2011. On 12 September the band released "Paradise", the second single from their upcoming album Mylo Xyloto. 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 24 October 2011, to mixed reviews, and topped the charts in over 34 countries.
On 19 October 2011, Coldplay performed songs at Apple Inc.'s private memorial event for Steve Jobs, including "Viva la Vida", "Fix You", "Yellow" and "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall". On 26 October their "Amex Unstaged" concert at the Plaza de Toros de Las Ventas in Madrid, Spain, was streamed by YouTube as a live webcast directed by Anton Corbijn. On 30 November 2011, Coldplay received three Grammy Award nominations for the 54th Annual Grammy Awards which took place on 12 February 2012 in Los Angeles, and the band performed with Rihanna at the ceremony. On 12 January 2012, Coldplay were nominated for two Brit Awards. On 21 February 2012, they were awarded the Brit Award for Best British Group for the third time. The album was the best-selling rock album in the United Kingdom, selling 908,000 copies. The album's second single, "Paradise", was also the best-selling rock single in the UK, selling 410,000 copies. At the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards on 6 September, "Paradise" won the award for Best Rock Video. Mylo Xyloto has sold over 8 million copies worldwide.
Coldplay headlined the closing ceremony of the London 2012 Paralympic Games on 9 September 2012, where they performed alongside other artists including Rihanna and Jay-Z. To tie in with their performance at the closing ceremony, the group gave permission for bands who were participating in the Bandstand Marathon the opportunity to perform their 2008 single "Viva la Vida" to celebrate the end of the games.
In October 2012, the music video for Coldplay's song "Hurts Like Heaven" was released. The video was based on the story of Mylo Xyloto, a boy who grew up in tyranny ran by Major Minus. The fictional comics entitled Mylo Xyloto continued on the story portrayed in the music video when the series was released in early 2013. A concert documentary film and live album Coldplay Live 2012 chronicles their tour in support of the Mylo Xyloto album. The film premiered theatrically for one night only, 13 November 2012, and was released on CD and home video on 19 November 2012.
On 21 November, after a concert in Brisbane, Australia as part on the group's Mylo Xyloto Tour, Coldplay hinted they were set to take a three-year break from touring. Coldplay performed two shows with Jay-Z in the Barclays Center, Brooklyn, New York, on 30 December and New Year's Eve, and were set, which ended the Mylo Xyloto Tour. The Mylo Xyloto Tour was named the fourth-highest-grossing tour worldwide of 2012 with more than $171.3 million earned in ticket sales.
2013–2014: Ghost Stories
Speaking to Australian radio station 2Day FM, Chris Martin revealed that the title for their next album: "will be much easier to pronounce." Martin debunked speculation that they were taking a break from touring by saying, "This three-year break idea only came about because I said at a gig in Australia that we might not be back there for three years. That's probably true, but that's just how a world tour works. No chance are we taking a three-year break."
On 9 August 2013, Coldplay announced the release of their song "Atlas", which featured on the soundtrack for the film The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Its release got pushed back to 6 September 2013 (everywhere but the UK) and 8 September (UK). In December 2013, it was announced that future Coldplay releases would be distributed by Atlantic Records in the US due to restructuring within Warner Music Group following the purchase of Parlophone Records from EMI.
On 25 February 2014, the band unveiled "Midnight", a track from their yet-to-be released album. In early March 2014, it was announced that the band's sixth album, Ghost Stories, would be released 19 May 2014. Ghost Stories is a spiritually driven album that revolves around two major themes mentioned by Chris Martin. The album explores the idea of past actions, and the effects they can have on your future and one's capacity for unconditional love. The band took a different approach for their sixth studio album in contrast to their previous studio albums, with Martin inviting the band to contribute original songwriting material for the album, as opposed to building songs off his ideas as they had done during previous recording sessions.
From April to July, Coldplay embarked on a six-date Ghost Stories Tour in support of the album, playing 'intimate' shows in six cities: the Beacon Theatre in New York City on 5 May, Royce Hall in Los Angeles on 19 May, Casino de Paris in Paris on 28 May, Tokyo Dome City Hall in Tokyo on 12 June, Enmore Theatre in Sydney on 19 June, and closed the tour at the Royal Albert Hall in London on 2 July 2014. The album was made available for pre-order on iTunes, alongside new single "Magic". Two more singles from the album, "A Sky Full of Stars" and "True Love", have since been released. Ghost Stories received mixed reviews. The album topped the charts in the UK, the US and most major markets. It received a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Vocal Album, and "A Sky Full of Stars" was nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. In December 2014, Spotify named Coldplay the most-streamed band in the world for 2014, and third most-streamed artist behind Ed Sheeran and Eminem.
2015–2018: A Head Full of Dreams
On 4 December 2014, Chris Martin announced in an interview with Zane Lowe on BBC Radio 1 that Coldplay were in the middle of working on their seventh studio album, A Head Full of Dreams. Martin stated it might be the band's final album and compared it to Harry Potter; "It's our seventh thing, and the way we look at it, it's like the last Harry Potter book or something like that." He added that, unlike their promotion efforts for Ghost Stories, the band will tour for the seventh record. In an interview with Jo Whiley on BBC Radio 2, Martin hinted at the style of the album by saying that the band were trying to make something colourful and uplifting, yet not bombastic. He also stated that it will be something to "shuffle your feet" to.
On 11 December 2014, the band unveiled a new song, "Miracles", which was written and recorded for the World War II drama film Unbroken directed by Angelina Jolie. At the 2015 Billboard Music Awards on 17 May, Ghost Stories was named Top Rock Album. On 26 September, Coldplay performed at the 2015 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park's Great Lawn in New York, an event organised by Chris Martin that advocates an end to extreme global poverty. Coldplay, along with Beyoncé, Ed Sheeran and Pearl Jam, headlined the festival, which was broadcast on NBC in the US on 27 September and the BBC in the UK on 28 September.
Speaking on Nick Grimshaw's Radio 1 Breakfast Show on the BBC on 6 November, Coldplay confirmed 4 December as the release date of A Head Full of Dreams, and a new song from the album, "Adventure of a Lifetime", premiered on the show. The album features guest appearances from Beyoncé, Gwyneth Paltrow, Noel Gallagher, Tove Lo and Barack Obama. The album reached number one in the UK, and number two in the US, Australia and Canada among others, where it was kept off the top spot by Adele's 25. The music video for "Adventure of a Lifetime" featured the band performing as chimpanzees, and they were provided consultation with renowned performance capture actor Andy Serkis.
On 27 November 2015, the first dates to their 2016 A Head Full of Dreams Tour were announced. Latin American and European legs were listed, which included three dates at Wembley Stadium, London in June. The North America Tour, an extra Wembley concert, and an Oceania tour, were later added. On 5 December, the band headlined the opening day of the 2015 Jingle Bell Ball at London's O2 Arena. On 7 February 2016 they headlined the Super Bowl 50 halftime show. The band were joined by Beyoncé and Bruno Mars. In April 2016, the band were named the sixth best selling artist worldwide in 2015.
On 26 June 2016, Coldplay closed the final day of the Glastonbury Festival in England. Their performance included a duet with Barry Gibb, the last surviving member of the Bee Gees. During the band's second night at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on 18 July, Coldplay were joined onstage by Michael J. Fox to recreate a Back to the Future scene. Martin sang "Earth Angel" before introducing Fox onstage to join the band in performing the Chuck Berry classic "Johnny B. Goode".
The band performed a full set in India for the first time as part of the Global Citizen Festival in Mumbai on 19 November 2016. This performance was attended by 80,000 people and also featured many Bollywood stars during the concert. The same month, Coldplay announced in interviews with Absolute Radio and Magic Radio in London that they would be releasing new songs in a new EP called the Kaleidoscope EP. Described as being made from a leftover "bag of ideas" from the recording of A Head Full of Dreams, Martin stated that it would be released in "a couple of months". The band officially announced that the EP would be released in 2017.
On 22 February 2017, the band released a long-awaited and teased collaboration track with EDM duo The Chainsmokers called "Something Just Like This". Reaching number 2 in the UK Singles Chart and number 3 on the US Billboard Hot 100, it was the lead single from Coldplay's thirteenth extended play Kaleidoscope, released on 14 July 2017. Together, they debuted the song live at the 2017 Brit Awards with Chris Martin also performing a tribute song to the late George Michael. On 2 March, Martin's birthday, the band released a track from the EP, "Hypnotised". Two further singles from the EP, "All I Can Think About Is You" and "Aliens", were released on 15 June and 6 July 2017 respectively.
On 15 August 2017, Coldplay announced that a live album covering the A Head Full of Dreams Tour would be released. Recorded between 8 and 15 November 2017, it was released on 7 December 2018, entitled Live in Buenos Aires. The album covers the final concert of the tour in La Plata. On 8 October 2017, Coldplay debuted live their new single "Life Is Beautiful" during their concert at SDCCU Stadium in San Diego, California. The song was written in support after the earthquake that affected Mexico on 19 September. Part of the band's show was broadcast at the end of Estamos Unidos Mexicanos, a benefit concert taken place at Mexico City's Zócalo, which included "Fix You", "Viva la Vida", "Adventure of a Lifetime" and their new song. Martin stated that the concert's and song's proceeds would be destined to relief efforts for Mexico and other countries. A Head Full of Dreams Tour concluded in November 2017. Grossing over $523 million, in 2017 it was listed as the third highest-grossing concert tour at its conclusion. A live album, entitled Love in Tokyo, was also released at the same time exclusively for the Japanese market.
On 30 November 2018, Coldplay released Global Citizen – EP 1 under the name Los Unidades. It includes "E-Lo", a song with Pharrell Williams featuring Jozzy. Proceeds from the EP will go towards efforts to end global poverty.
2019–2020: Everyday Life
On 26 September 2019, Global Citizen announced that Coldplay would perform at Global Goal Live: The Possible Dream on 26 September 2020. On 18 October 2019, mysterious black-and-white posters began appearing in various countries around the world, with the band in vintage-style clothing and a date showing 22 November 1919. The band also changed their profile pictures on social media to a sun and moon, making fans speculate an imminent release of new material. On 19 October 2019, a cryptic 5 second teaser was released on social media with orchestral music in the background. On 21 October 2019, in a letter sent to fans, the band announced their eighth studio album titled Everyday Life. It would be a double album, with the first half titled Sunrise and the second half titled Sunset.
dear friends / my typing isn't very good i'm sorry / I and we hope wherever you are you're ok / for the last 100 years or thereabouts we have been working on a thing called Everyday Life / in the classifieds you might write 'double album for sale, one very careful owner' / one half is called 'sunrise', the other 'sunset' / it comes out 22 november / it is sort of how we feel about things / we send much love to you from hibernation /سلام و حب / chris, jonny, guy and Will Champion, esq.— Coldplay, in a typewritten note to their fans
On 23 October 2019, the album tracks were revealed in advertisements in the band members local newspapers in the UK, including north Wales' Daily Post (with whom Jonny Buckland once had a holiday job), and Exeter's Express & Echo (the newspaper of Chris Martin's hometown). "Orphans" and "Arabesque" were then released as the album's lead singles on 24 October 2019 on the Annie Mac show on BBC Radio 1, with the latter song being the first Coldplay song to feature profanity.
The album was released on 22 November 2019 and marked by a double concert in Amman, Jordan. The concert, which streamed live to YouTube, was performed at sunrise and sunset, corresponding with the subtitles of the album's two halves. Martin had earlier said that the band would not tour to promote the album until they could work out "how our tour can not only be sustainable (but) how can it be actively beneficial", and hope that it would be entirely carbon-neutral. However, Coldplay performed a one-off show on 25 November 2020 for the charity ClientEarth at London's Natural History Museum. The band played beneath Hope, a giant 128-year-old skeleton of a blue whale in the museum's great hall. The album debuted at number one on the UK Albums Chart with 81,000 copies sold, making it the band's eighth consecutive UK number-one album. It was also the third fastest-selling album of 2019, behind No.6 Collaborations Project and Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent.
On 24 November 2020, Coldplay received two Grammy award nominations for the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards, one of them being Album of the Year, their second nomination since Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends. On 21 December 2020, Coldplay released "Flags" internationally, a song previously included as the Japanese bonus track of Everyday Life.
2021: Upcoming ninth studio album
On 29 April 2021, Coldplay announced a new single called "Higher Power" to be released on 7 May 2021 with a video livestream coinciding with the release of the single to be aired from the International Space Station. Chris Martin stated in an interview with Zane Lowe that the band would be working with Max Martin and his team on both the song and the new album. He said, "Max is our producer right now for everything we do". On 4 May 2021, Coldplay were announced as the opening act for the 2021 Brit Awards, where they would be performing "Higher Power". On 22 May 2021, their pre-recorded performance at Glastonbury Festival was broadcast online. The band also showcased a new song called "Human Heart", featuring R&B duo King.
Musical style and influences
Coldplay's musical style has generally been regarded as alternative rock, pop rock, post-Britpop, pop, alternative pop, and soft rock. The band have experimented with other genres such as electropop, synth-pop, shoegaze, indie rock, psychedelic, indie electronic, EDM, and R&B. Chris Martin once proclaimed the band's music as "limestone rock" in comparison to "hard rock" in 2009. The band's music has been called "meditative" and "blue romantic"; it "[reflects] on their emotions" and Martin "endlessly examine[s] his feelings". Coldplay started out as one of many earnest post-Britpop bands. In the late 1990s, the EPs released by the band had characteristics of dream pop, setting them apart from the band's later studio albums.
The tone of the band's first studio album Parachutes, which saw them emerge as one of the most prominent modern bands in popular music, was described as melodic pop with "distorted guitar riffs and swishing percussion" but also being "exquisitely dark and artistically abrasive". Bassist Guy Berryman described it as "a quiet, polite record". Their alternative rock style has been compared to bands like U2, Oasis, A-ha, R.E.M., and Radiohead. The band acknowledges the Scottish band Travis and American singer Jeff Buckley as major influences on their earlier material. In 2008, Chris Martin said that before taking inspiration from Jeff Buckley, he "spent three years trying to sound like Eddie Vedder."
In their second studio album A Rush of Blood to the Head, the band drew inspiration from artists like Echo & the Bunnymen, Kate Bush, George Harrison, and Muse. The album is much darker and colder than its predecessor and has a larger sound, with a sense of urgency throughout; its songs were considered to contain "lush melodies and a heartbreak" and they had a "newfound confidence." The music on their third release X&Y was similar to A Rush of Blood to the Head, but with new electronic backing sounds and a grander scale in terms of both its sound and its existential themes and imagery of space. Chris Martin found some of the synthesizer sounds that he used on X&Y on a "massive" keyboard that Gwyneth Paltrow's father, Bruce Paltrow, bought shortly before his death in autumn of 2002. Craig McLean of The Guardian referred to the album as "the work of an increasingly driven, punchier band" and described its overall sound as "heartfelt stuff, with thumping guitar lines, emotive piano and sublime electronic embellishments". X&Y has been considered to be "ruminations on Martin's doubts, fears, hopes, and loves". It was particularly influenced by Kraftwerk and Johnny Cash.
With their fourth album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, and the subsequent Prospekt's March EP, the band were attempting to further diversify their style and explore new territory. The group's style was moving towards art rock, being influenced by Blur, Arcade Fire, and My Bloody Valentine. The band experimented with different instruments including orchestras, honky-tonk pianos, santoors, and so on, with a more layered production style. The album was inspired by oriental, Latin, and even some African and Middle Eastern influences. The band also experimented with different song structures at the suggestion of Brian Eno, who felt that prog-rock was "vastly underestimated". The title track, Viva la Vida, is considered baroque pop. In an interview, Chris Martin said of the album's sound: "The sound of this record, to me, is the sound of Guy and Will and Jonny taking back the glory, which makes me very happy." The band's fifth album, Mylo Xyloto, carried the concept album format from the love and war-induced Viva la Vida, but with more of a central story, with characters. Some of the oriental influence remained from the previous album. It also expanded the spectrum of Coldplay's work by including much more prominent electronic elements, featuring mostly upbeat tones for the first time, and by predominantly being a pop rock album, in stark contrast to the band's previous works. The album's style also had some "more modern, urban and dance influences", which would remain in most of Coldplay's subsequent works. Lyrical inspiration for Mylo Xyloto was taken from graffiti and the German resistance group White Rose.
With their sixth album, Ghost Stories, the band's sound became mostly pop instead of pop rock, with more electronic elements and less guitar distortion. The album has a noticeably darker and more minimalistic sound than Mylo Xyloto, with some notable influences from R&B. The band's seventh album, A Head Full of Dreams and the subsequent Kaleidoscope EP mostly followed the same pop style, but with a brighter tone, less minimalist production, and new elements of disco and funk.
In the band's eighth album, Everyday Life, Coldplay's music saw somewhat of a return to the experimentation and organic sound of Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends, but with some of the pop influences carried over from their previous three albums, as well as new influences from gospel and blues. Everyday Life is also similar to Viva la Vida with its themes about the consequences of war and conflict, though the political themes of the album are also much more explicit and specific. The song "Guns" is a critique of right-wing views on guns and is one of the first tracks by the band to feature profanity. Chris Martin outright explained the meaning of the song "Orphans" as it pertains to real life during a rehearsal with SNL dancers, saying "This song is about, you see all these pictures of young people like you and a bit older people like us, having to leave their countries and everyone calls them refugees or migrants rather than just people. So we were thinking about, this could be any of us who is in these camps or at the border or whatever. And that's what this song’s about, it's like people like us saying, 'I just want to go home and be normal'".
Regarding the band's wide international success, Parlophone's president Miles Leonard has stated that one of Coldplay's "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 2011, Coldplay were hailed as "rock statesmen".
Activism and endorsements
Despite their worldwide popularity, the band have remained protective of how their music is used in the media, refusing its use for product endorsements. In the past, Coldplay turned down multimillion-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." 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. 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". After the death of Steve Jobs, Coldplay performed four songs at Apple's Campus in Cupertino, further thanking Jobs for the support he gave them.
Coldplay supports Amnesty International and performed for them at The Secret Policeman's Ball fundraiser in 2012. 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 2003 invasion of Iraq by the US, UK and other forces during the Teenage Cancer Trust show at London's Royal Albert Hall on 24 March 2003, where he encouraged the sell-out crowd to "sing against war". He would later endorse the US 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 2010 Haiti 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 posted to it. Some threatened to boycott the band, and a Facebook group was created that demanded an apology to Israel. The link to the song was eventually removed from their Facebook wall. According to Frank Barat of OneWorld, the link was not removed by Coldplay but by Facebook after "thousands of people (and computer generated posts) reported it as abusive."
Album Artists (www.albumartists.co.uk) staged an exhibition of art from Mylo Xyloto at Proud Gallery in Camden to support the charity Kids Company in November—December 2012. The exhibition raised over £610,000 for the children's charity which supports disadvantaged children in London. In November 2014, Martin joined the charity group Band Aid 30, performing alongside current British and Irish pop acts on the latest version of the track "Do They Know It's Christmas?" to raise money for the 2014 Ebola crisis in Western Africa—this was the second time Martin has contributed to a Band Aid recording having performed in the 2004 version (Band Aid 20). In June 2016, the band supported Vote Remain in the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum. Following the Brexit result which saw 52% of the UK voting to leave the EU (despite the majority of younger people voting remain), Chris Martin stated: "This decision does not represent us or indeed most of our generation and the generation following us."
On 4 June 2017, Coldplay performed at the One Love Manchester benefit concert for the victims of the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing. They opened with a segment of "Sit Down" (by James) followed by "Fix You", and they also performed with Liam Gallagher on "Live Forever". On 24 September 2017, Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland performed as special guests at the "Concert for Charlottesville", a unity concert in Charlottesville, Virginia after the events of the "Unite the Right rally" that occurred on 12 August 2017. The band have also given over £800,000 in donations throughout the year according to The Sunday Times.
They contributed to the Plastic Oceans Album by Artists' Project Earth (APE) which was released on 20 February 2018 at the Ocean Plastics Crisis Summit in London. The motive of the album is to raise awareness and funds aiming to counter plastic pollution of the ocean. As of 2021, Coldplay supports over thirty charities and foundations.
Coldplay are regarded as the most successful band of the 21st century. With over 80 million albums sold worldwide, they are one of the best selling artists of all-time. Parachutes, A Rush of Blood to the Head and X&Y are all amongst the best-selling albums in United Kingdom's history, with the latter being one of the fastest selling ever in the country as well. In 2008, "Viva la Vida" became the first song by a British group to top Billboard's Hot 100 since "Wannabe" by the Spice Girls in 1997, the track was also praised as one of the best songs of the decade by Rolling Stone and BBC America. Its parent album Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends was the best selling of the decade in the digital download format. Meanwhile, 2011's Mylo Xyloto topped the charts of over 34 countries around the world upon release. In 2013, Coldplay were the most influential British celebrities in the world according to Forbes, they were also the most googled band of 2016. One year later, they finished the A Head Full of Dreams Tour in La Plata, Argentina. It is currently the 5th highest-grossing tour of all-time.
The band have also won numerous awards throughout their career, including nine Brit Awards, being the most awarded and nominated group of all-time in the ceremony. They are the first act in history to win British Album of the Year three times and British Group four times, scoring the most nominations for both of these categories as well. Including Song of the Year and Record of the Year, Coldplay have received 7 Grammy Awards from 35 nominations, the second-most in history for a British group after the Beatles' nine wins. They have also been nominated in the Golden Globe Awards for their song "Atlas" and named Songwriters of the Year by the Ivor Novello Awards and ASCAP London Music Awards in 2003 and 2010 respectively. They won an American Music Award, seven Billboard Music Awards, eight MTV Europe Music Awards and seven MTV Video Music Awards. In 2014, Fuse ranked Coldplay as the 28th most awarded act of all-time (sixth place amongst groups).
2002's A Rush of Blood to the Head is considered one of the best albums of all-time by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, NME and Rolling Stone, while the latter publication also ranked "The Scientist" as the 50th best song of the 21st century and placed "Clocks" at 490 in their "Best Songs of All-Time" list. In its 20th anniversary review, Jon O' Brien from the Recording Academy labeled Parachutes as the band's most influential album to date, impacting on the work of artists such as The Fray, Snow Patrol and OneRepublic. He also noted that "Coldplay, and to a lesser extent Travis, helped to open the floodgates for those who didn’t subscribe to the Rock N' Roll Star way of thinking". The second single "Yellow" is considered one of the best tracks of the 2000s decade by Pitchfork and was included in Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's "Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll" list for being one of the most successful and important recordings in music.
Coldplay has influenced artists such as Ed Sheeran, Harry Styles, U2, Imagine Dragons, Justin Timberlake, Future, BTS, Kanye West, Mumford & Sons, Jacob Collier, David Guetta, Jon Bellion, The Chainsmokers, Leona Lewis, Lauv, Mike Will Made-It, American Authors, The Script, Sheppard, and more. Their songs have also been widely sampled by other musicians, including Drake, Frank Ocean and Chance the Rapper. Music arranger and producer Mattias Bylund explained that he made "Coldplay-like rhythm chords" for Taylor Swift's "Wildest Dreams". Xylobands creator Jason Regler stated that he conceived the idea for the flashing wristbands while he was in one of the band's concerts. Other artists such as Jay-Z, OneRepublic and Taylor Swift have since followed the trend and came up with their own versions on live performances.
- Chris Martin – lead vocals, piano, rhythm guitar, keyboards, harmonica
- Guy Berryman – bass, backing vocals, keyboards, mandolin, harmonica
- Jonny Buckland – lead guitar, backing vocals, keyboards, piano
- Will Champion – drums, percussion, backing vocals, guitar, piano, keyboards
- Phil Harvey – creative director (recognised by Coldplay as their fifth member)
- Parachutes Tour (2000–2001)
- A Rush of Blood to the Head Tour (2002–2003)
- Twisted Logic Tour (2005–2007)
- Viva la Vida Tour (2008–2010)
- Mylo Xyloto Tour (2011–2012)
- Ghost Stories Tour (2014)
- A Head Full of Dreams Tour (2016–2017)
- List of best-selling music artists
- List of alternative rock artists
- List of artists who reached number one on the Hot 100 (US)
- List of artists who reached number one on the UK Singles Chart
- List of highest-grossing concert tours
- Creative director, see Band members section.
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- "The Case Against Coldplay". The New York Times. "Coldplay reached its musical zenith with the widely sampled piano arpeggios that open 'Clocks'". 5 June 2005. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 18 May 2021.CS1 maint: others (link)
- "Every Track From Drake's 'So Far Gone,' Ranked: Critic's Picks". Billboard. "Congratulations was a lyrical exercise for Drake, who raps over a sample of Coldpaly’s 'Viva La Vida'. He gets off some strong metaphors, similes and wordplay that still hold up today". Retrieved 18 May 2021.CS1 maint: others (link)
- "Sound of 2012: Frank Ocean". BBC News. Nostalgia, Ultra is an album packed with warm tones, languid grooves, satisfying hooks and vivid stories, helped by samples from the likes of Coldplay, MGMT and The Eagles. 5 January 2012. Retrieved 18 May 2021.CS1 maint: others (link)
- "Chance The Rapper samples Adele and Coldplay on newly-discovered mixtapes". NME. Discovered by a Reddit user who found the artist’s old Facebook page, the mixtapes include a 16-year-old Chance rapping over instrumental’s including Adele’s ‘Hometown Glory’ and ‘In My Place’ by Coldplay. 11 December 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2021.CS1 maint: others (link)
- "Behind The Album: Taylor Swift's 1989". American Songwriter. "I was really happy to get the mission to arrange and record strings on 'Wildest Dreams'. [...] I added some big chords and a build-up in the bridge. On the choruses I recorded Coldplay-type rhythm chords". 13 July 2020. Retrieved 18 May 2021.CS1 maint: others (link)
- "Coldplay: News - Interview: Xylobands inventor Jason Regler". 10 May 2012. Archived from the original on 10 May 2012. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
- "Coldplay's plastic problem: what will become of those glowing wristbands?". The Telegraph. "And where Coldplay have gone boldly others have followed. Taylor Swift used (non-Xyloband) wristbands on her 2018 tour. Regler has also worked with Jay-Z and OneRepublic. 3 December 2019. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 20 May 2021.CS1 maint: others (link)
- Roach, Martin (September 2003). Coldplay: Nobody Said It Was Easy. Omnibus Press. ISBN 0-7119-9810-8.
- Spivack, Gary (2004). Coldplay: Look at the Stars. MTV. ISBN 0-7434-9196-3.