Coldplay


Biography

The UK band Coldplay shot to prominence on the back of excitable comparisons to Jeff Buckley and Radiohead, for many commentators the twin figureheads of tortured white rock music in the late 90s. The members of the band met in the residence halls of University College London in September 1996. Martin and Buckland were the first members of the band, having met one another during freshers' week. They spent the rest of the year planning a band; at one point Martin had considered forming a *NSYNC inspired boy band called Pectoralz. Eventually, Berryman joined the ranks, regardless of what musical direction the band was taking. On January 8, 1998, the band's lineup was complete when Champion joined the band to take up percussion duties. The multi-talented Champion had grown up playing piano, guitar, bass, and tin whistle; he quickly learned the drums, despite having no previous experience with that instrument. At the time, the band performed under the name Starfish. Eventually, they took the name Coldplay from a mutual friend, Tim who had his own band. According to Martin, "He (Tim) decided he didn't like the name anymore because it was too depressing."

In 1998, Coldplay was performing small club gigs for local Camden promoters. Wanting more creative freedom, Martin recruited fellow student and childhood friend Phil Harvey to act as band manager. Harvey helped the band raise money needed to record a demo. On May 18, 1998 the band released 500 copies of 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 was signed by indie label Fierce Panda, after founder Simon Williams had attended the band's gig that evening. The result was the three track EP Brothers And Sisters which was quickly recorded over four days in February 1999. The disc was released in April, only 2500 copies were pressed in a very limited release. Buzz was slowly growing across the UK, helped by regular airplay from BBC Radio 1 DJ Steve Lamacq.

Upon completing their final examinations, Coldplay was signed to Parlophone for a five album contract in Spring 1999. After making their first appearance at Glastonbury, the band went into studio to record a third EP titled The Blue Room. The disc was released in October and 5000 copies were made available to the public. The recording sessions for The Blue Room were tumultuous. Champion walked out for a week causing Martin, a self-proclaimed non-drinker and non-smoker to go on a drinking binge. Eventually, the band worked out their differences and placed 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 REM. Second, the band would fire anyone who used coke. In later years, Martin joked about the band's clean-cut image by saying "This (playing music) is better than doing coke off a hooker's back! Which we don't do!"

In November 1999, Coldplay focused their efforts on their debut album. The band spent the New Year by completing album tracks "Yellow" and "Everything's Not Lost". They also played on the NME Carling Premier Tour, which showcased up-and-coming acts. After releasing three EPs without a hit song, Coldplay scored their first Top 40 single, "Shiver". Released in March 2000, the single placed at a modest #35 and earned the band their first airplay on MTV.

June was a pivotal moment in Coldplay's history. The band embarked on their first headlining tour, which included a triumphant return to Glastonbury. More notably, the band released the breakthrough single "Yellow". The song shot to #4 on the UK Singles Chart and placed the band in public consciousness.

Coldplay released their first full-length album, Parachutes in July 2000. Along with critical acclaim, Parachutes was sometimes criticised for bearing a strong resemblance to the music of Radiohead in their The Bends - OK Computer era. "Yellow" and "Trouble" earned regular airplay on radio on both sides of the Atlantic. Parlophone originally predicted sales of 40,000 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. Parachutes was released in November 2000. The band embarked on a US club tour in early 2001 coupled with appearances on Saturday Night Live, Late Night with Conan O'Brien and The Late Show with David Letterman. Parachutes was a modest success, and was certified with Gold status in the United States. The album was also critically well received, and Parachutes earned Best Alternative Music Album honours at the 2002 Grammy Awards.

Coldplay returned to the studios in October 2001 to begin work on their second album. The sessions were sometimes difficult. There were numerous rumours that the band was on the verge of a breakup or that the album would be their final relase.

With much anticipation, Coldplay released their sophomore album, A Rush Of Blood To The Head in August 2002. The album was generally considered to be a more sophisticated effort than Parachutes. For example, the charged opening track "Politik" was written days after the September 11 terrorist attacks. A Rush Of Blood To The Head became a best-seller and earned the band more critical accolades. The album spawned many popular singles, notably "In My Place", "The Scientist", and "Clocks". A Rush Of Blood To The Head was perhaps most reminiscent of classic era Echo and the Bunnymen. This is not surprising since Bunnymen singer Ian McCulloch was invited to recording sessions as an unofficial studio consultant. On one occasion, Martin was actually wearing McCulloch's jacket when recording "In My Place". Chris Martin and Jon Buckland returned the favour by guesting on McCulloch's solo album Slideling. Coldplay also performed live renditions of the Bunnymen hit "Lips Like Sugar" on a regular basis.

Coldplay toured for over a year from June 2002 to September 2003, visiting 5 continents including co-headlining festival dates at Glastonbury festival, V2003, and Rock Werchter. The tour showed the band's progression into a bona fide stadium act. Many shows included elaborate lighting and individualized screens reminiscent of the U2 Elevation Tour. Coldplay also built a reputation of performing eclectic covers, including Aqua's "Barbie Girl", Rammstein's "Du Hast", and Nelly's "Hot in Herre". During the extended tour, Coldplay also recorded a live DVD and CD, Live 2003, at Sydney's Horden Pavilion.

In December 2003, Coldplay covered The Pretenders hit "2000 Miles", which was made available for download on their official site. It was the top selling UK download that year, with proceeds from the sales were donated to Future Forests and Stop Handgun Violence campaigns. A Rush Of Blood To The Head won two trophies at the 2003 Grammy Awards. At the 2004 Grammy Awards, Coldplay earned Record of the Year honours for "Clocks".

2004 was a quiet year for the Coldplay, as they spent most of the year out of spotlight resting from touring and recording their third album. In May, Coldplay teased fans with a new song and music video on their official site to celebrate the birth of Martin's daughter, Apple. Famed producer Sir George Martin introduced the promo as Coldplay and their producer Ken Nelson performed as The Nappies, a satirised rap/glam rock outfit. Martin joked that this music had been inspired by Jay-Z.

Coldplay's third album, X&Y will be released on 6 June 2005 in the UK. The lead single "Speed of Sound", made its radio and online music store debut on April 18 and will be released as a CD on May 23, 2005. To promote the new release, Coldplay performed at a series of intimate secret gigs in Europe and in North America in March to May of 2005, which resulted in sold-out shows in locations such as San Francisco, Chicago, Toronto, Boston and New York City. They have announced a European tour in June and July and will be performing at 40 North American cities from August to late September during the Twisted Logic Tour. Coldplay will also be headlining the 2005 Coachella and Glastonbury festivals.

The album was originally set to be released in late 2004. In the middle of that year, Coldplay had penned over 40 new songs for their third album. Several of these songs such as "Ladder To The Sun", "World Turned Upside Down", and "Poor Me" had been performed live on the A Rush Of Blood To The Head Tour. However, they were scrapped and the band regrouped to write and record new tracks. X&Y was recorded over 18 months in 8 studios in New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, Liverpool, and London.


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