If there is a question concerning the existence of a band, which does not pursue fame and wealth, the name "Coldplay" will definitely emerge as one of the answers. Their true intention to write exceptional compositions with real honesty and passion is eminently visible, proven by their rejection toward the overtures of using their songs in commercial ads. Hence, the words "genuine" and "pure" are probably the two most precise adjectives to be addressed to this British alternative rock band.
What distinguishes Coldplay from other bands is that they have created melancholic music arrangements with the theme of well-trodden love, yet there is still an earnest optimism within, which most English bands do not make use of. "We wanted to make the most passionate, moving, melodic, uplifting and sad record of all time," Chris Martin, the band's frontman, explained.
The origin of the band began when Martin met Jon Buckland during their first week as the students of University College London in 1996. Shortly thereafter, Guy Berryman joined them, followed by a multi talented young musician, Will Champion. On January 8, 1998 they eventually came up together with Chris as the vocalist, guitarist, and keyboardist; Jon as the lead guitarist; Guy as the bassist, and Will as the drummer.
"It's like when bacon, and eggs, and mushrooms, and chips are put on the same plate," Chris said. "It becomes something greater than the individual parts. It becomes a cohesive whole, that's tasty." All members agreed to name their band Coldplay, which their friend, Tim, derived from a poem. The band becomes a close-knit group with Chris' old friend, Phil Harvey, joining the crew as their manager.
Coldplay made their first recording entitled "Safety" which was an EP containing 4 tracks and getting a limited 500-copy release only. One of the songs in the EP, "Bigger, Stronger", was highly acclaimed by the U.K. press, leading the band to earn an appearance at In The City music festival in September 1998 in Manchester.
But it was their performance at London's Camden Falcon on December 7 that attracted Simon Williams, the New Express Magazine's (NME) major journalist and also co founder of an indie label named Fierce Panda Records. Williams then offered the band to record under his label, leading to their next EP "Brothers & Sisters" being launched the following year. From then on, their popularity grew.
In May 1999, Coldplay finally landed a deal with major company Parlophone Records. As a result, "Blue Room" EP was released five months later, evoking the band to gain positive responses from music press who praised them as a band to watch in 2000. However, this particular EP also ignited criticism and comparison upon the band's similarity to another British band Radiohead.
Concerning this matter, Guy Berryman wisely remarked, "The comparisons to Radiohead don't bother me. We're kind of clued up enough to understand that as a new band we're going to be compared to big stars. The easiest way for a journalist to describe a band is to compare it to somebody else. Chris and Thom Yorke can sing high and low with great strength and that's what people associate us with."
To the fans' relief, those criticisms and comparisons faded when Coldplay dropped a new single entitled "Shiver" in March 2000 and went on to get excellent reviews. Being played through U.K top radios and MTV Europe, "Shiver" was the band's first single to reach the 35th rank at U.K. Top 40 Chart. In the anticipation of their debut album, the band released another single, "Yellow", and performed wonderfully at Glastonbury music festival. They gained great accomplishment since "Yellow" landed to the 4th rank of U.K. Singles Chart while their gig was considered as the highlight of the festival, bringing them to be one of the most promising music groups in U.K.
This achievement was followed with the launching of their first full-length album entitled "Parachutes" in July 2000. It soared right to the top position of U.K. Album Charts after several weeks of its release, then securing its place in the top 10 for 33 weeks. Through "Parachutes", the band attained huge popularity and commercial success since the album has amazingly sold for 1.6 million copies in U.K. along with a nomination of Mercury music Prize.
This prompted them to expand the album distribution to U.S. under Network Records in November 2000. "Parachutes" appeared to be well received in the States, entering Billboard Hot 200 at number 51. The band then held their U.S. tour the following year as well as appearing in some notable U.S. shows, such as "Late Show with David Letterman" and "%Saturday Night Live%".
2001 apparently was a glorious year for Coldplay as they gained gold status in U.S., 3 NME Awards, and also 2 Brit Awards for The Best British Album and Group. By October 2001, the band started to work on their materials for the next album. They finally launched "A Rush of Blood to the Head" on August 27 and dispelled the persistent breakup rumors in the process.
This second album received high acclaim from critics as well as fans, claiming the album as a mature and sophisticated work, which transcended its predecessor. Amazon's Editorial Staff writer, Aidin Vaziri wrote, "...As a band they have advanced to a stage where they outshine nearly every one of their rivals in terms of imagination and emotional pull. A Rush of Blood to the Heads is a soulful, exhilarating journey, moving from the cathartic rock of 'Politik' to the hushed tones of 'Green Eyes' without once breaking its mesmerizing spell."
Sitting on the number 5 of Billboard 200, the album captured the attention of people worldwide, becoming No. 1 album in U.K., Australia, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Norway, and Switzerland, reaching multi-platinum. This remarkable success established Coldplay as one of the phenomenal alternative bands in the world.
During early 2003, Coldplay took their time to conduct world tour around Europe, Canada, and U.S. On November 11, the band launched a CD/DVD package, "Live 2003", which contained the band's performance at Sydney's Horden Pavilion during their world tour and also a new track entitled "Moses." At the end of the year, Chris married his sweetheart, an Oscar winning Hollywood actress, Gwyneth Paltrow. By April 2004, this couple welcomed their first daughter, Apple Blythe Alison Martin.
In the meantime, the band decided to concentrate on recording their third album throughout the year. During this process, Chris took his time to compose songs for other artists, like Embrace's "Gravity" and Jamelia's "See It in a Boy" which both were quite successful. After spending more than a year, 18 months to be exact, Coldplay's latest album, "X&Y", was finally released on June 6, 2005. Jon explained the long gap between the new album and the previous effort, "We needed to feel that we'd move on, that we were excited by it. And we weren't willing to put it out until it was right." Their hard work paid off as the band once more attained huge success with the new album.
Containing 12 compositions plus a hidden track, "X&Y" strengthen Coldplay's hold as one of the most prominent bands as it rocketing to the highest position at U.K. music charts a week after its launching. Being famous and successful, the music group remained independent as Will stated, "It's been all on our own terms. We have 100 percent control over any aspect of whatever we do, and that's really important to who we are and the music we make. We take control of the recording, the videos, the artwork. We're not a band that can be pushed around, although we do have some amazing advisors."
They also keep maintaining the social awareness by involving themselves in the campaigns of Oxfam's Make Trade Fair and Amnesty International as well as took part in various charity projects, such as Band Aid 20, Live 8, and the Teenage Cancer Trust. They also managed to preserve their commitment to democracy, equality, and rejection of using cocaine. This made them adored and respected everywhere, even by some well-known artists like Brad Pitt, Julia Roberts, Jack Nicholson, Winona Ryder, and Tobey Maguire.
With numerous gigs in their schedule, the band slipped some time in December 2006 to work on their next album. Two years in the works, "Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends" came out to high praises. It ruled album charts in multiple countries across the globe, won Best Rock Album at the 2009 Grammy Awards, and got nominated for Album of the Year.
After two-year gap, Coldplay returned with "Mylo Xyloto". It's a concept album with a thematic rock opera. It tells the story of a war against sound and colour by a supremeist government, set in the world of Silencia, an Orwellian society. For the umpteenth time, the band topped the album charts everywhere and got at least three Grammy nominations. "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall" was one of their hit singles from the album.
As a follow-up, the band worked on another concept album "Ghost Stories" due March 16, 2014. It's partly inspired by Chris' strained relationship with his wife Gwyneth. It tells the story of a man going through a dramatic and sudden breakup. Singles like "Magic", "Midnight", and "A Sky Full of Stars" were already released ahead of the album's arrival on the market.
"Ghost Stories" was released in May 2014 and made its debut at No. 1 on Billboard 200. A few months later, Coldplay announced another LP called "A Head Full of Dreams", which they said would be their final album. Having no plan to embark on a tour to support their 2014 effort, the band spent most of 2015 working on the new set.
"A Head Full of Dreams" is due out on December 4. It will feature guest appearances from Beyonce Knowles and Noel Gallagher as well as several important people in the band members' lives like Chris' ex Gwyneth, their children and his new girlfriend Annabelle Wallis. They've promised there will be a tour to follow the album.
But, before kicking off the tour with a string of South American dates starting in late March 2016, the band will take the Super Bowl 50 stage in February. They'll headline the big game's halftime show at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California.