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
Label(s) | Parlophone
Website | coldplay.com
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 success.
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 quartets.