Coldplay Biography

Review The Artist (65)

Just months after Coldplay released their #1 debut album, Parachutes, in England, they were hailed as Band of the Year 2000 in the music press. How did these four college friends become the poster children for a nation's emotions? It may have happened at the speed of light, but it wasn't as easy as it seems.

Coldplay secured a permanent position in Britain's music elite by writing beautiful, simple songs that gently pulled at the heartstrings of a nation. Somewhere in between the confident, vulnerable guitar playing of Jonny Buckland, the melodic bassline of Guy Berryman, thoughtful drumming of Will Champion, and lead Chris Martin's stark, tenor vocals are answers for the soul. Although melancholy stands behind every Coldplay song, each one is also steeped in an unusual and sincere optimism rarely found in English bands. Songs face an inevitable sadness and yearning - a little thing called being real - to get to a better place where the truth held firm in pure emotion is pivotal. Songs like the remorseful "Trouble," with its memorable piano-line, the lonely "Spies" and mega-hit single "Yellow" reveal a hybrid of lyrics that can only be described as joy and remorse, all wrapped into one. "We just want the songs to reflect reality," says Chris.

In doing so, Coldplay may well be the most profound British act to emerge out of the millennium thus far. No one is more surprised by their popularity than the band. Who knew such an austere and tactile musical existence would lead to such greatness? Yet it has.

It all began when the members of Coldplay met in 1996 - their first week of college (University College London). Two and a half years later, they had their first official band session - a rehearsal in Jonny's bedroom in January of 1998. Jonny and Chris had been working on songs since they met, but the other two members hadn't really been around much until Guy joined the band to play bass just before dropping out of engineering school. The other two stuck with their studies, while also pursuing music.

Will, also still in school, loved playing guitar but was persuaded to become Coldplay's drummer so the band could play their first gig (at a Cuban Caf?at a festival for unsigned bands called "In The City" in Manchester) in late 1998. They had just six songs written including "Don't Panic" and "High Speed" - now found on Parachutes. They soon released 500 copies of an EP called Safety (financed by their now manager, Phil) and released the single "Brothers And Sisters" on a small English label called Fierce Panda, after which the UK label Parlophone signed them in 1999 just before final exam time. As they say, the rest is history, or in the stars, or whatever. In any case, another EP on Parlophone, The Blue Room, followed, as did the single "Shiver."

Before the band, lead singer/guitarist/pianist Chris Martin grew up in a close family from Devon, England. In fact, he still lives at home as the eldest of five kids raised by a teacher mum and accountant dad, where he started bashing out tunes on the family piano at an early age. Typical of the first-born, he is an over-achiever and self-proclaimed worrier. Although anything to do with "injustice" will rile him up, no one can accuse him of being the typical tortured and drunken English musician since he rarely drinks, never smokes and admits life can be pretty damn good. He's a shy product of boarding school where he soon graduated to the guitar and has been in bands since the age of 15. He considers the big three in music to be: Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Tom Waits. Oh, and the Flaming Lips aren't bad either.

Lead guitarist Jonny Buckland doesn't think he's a very good guitar player, but the rest of the world begs to differ. He was born 22 odd years ago in London, then his family relocated to Mold, North Wales when he was just four. Jonny first picked up a guitar at the tender age of 11, encouraged by his older brother who was a huge My Bloody Valentine fan. Both boys grew up in a house filled with Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix from their dad's record collection. Yet it wasn't until Jonny discovered The Stone Roses that he started taking the guitar seriously. People describe him as shy and nonchalant, but he argues he's just happy to be quiet.

Bassist Guy Berryman was born in Scotland, although his family later moved to Kent, England where he started to collect rare groove and funk records when all the other kids were into indie rock. He started playing bass at age 13 and is still inspired by a love of those early records.
Words like "calm," "reliable" and "enthusiastic" are used to describe drummer Will Champion. He was born in Southampton, England to teacher parents who encouraged him to spend his formative years learning to play a variety of instruments including guitar, bass, piano and the tin whistle. He had never played drums before joining Coldplay but was so musically inclined that he quickly caught on. "He's very quiet and very wise," says Chris about Will. "As a musician, he's got the most amazing sense of melody. He can play just about anything ... and he can do little impressions. He's good at entertaining people."

When the band went into the studio early last year with co-producer and engineer Ken Nelson to record Parachutes, they agreed that nothing would go on the album that they all four didn't agreed on. This led to a fierce and gut wrenching recording session that the guys thought might be their last. Songs ended up veering from fragile to forceful, from understated to epic, all-the-while carried by Chris' gorgeous vocal range and endearingly bashful lyrics. On a bittersweet morning in May, the album was finished.

No one predicted that just a short time later, Parachutes would debut at #1 and continue to hover in the Top Ten Charts for the remainder of the year. The band was also nominated for an esteemed Mercury Music Prize, received the Q Award for Best Album, signed to an American label (Nettwerk America/Capitol) and were exhausted by year's end from endless promotional duties and touring. Having been tirelessly in the spotlight for months now, the members of Coldplay are reticent to talk about themselves - subscribing to the school of thought that "those who say less tend to be wiser." Yet what they have to say can be heard in the music, which speaks louder than any words spoken ever will.

Chris admits that the last track on the album, "Everything's Not Lost," is the message of Coldplay's entire work up until now. The song says that when things happen to you in life, your first inclination is to think everything's terrible, what's the point? Then you realize the point is simply that - that it's not that bad and you have to keep going. Finally, you come to realize that life is good. Look for Coldplay to embark on their first-ever American tour in the beginning of 2001.

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excited about release of ghost stories | Reviewer: the bi-polar bear | 3/4/14

seeing the news of coldplay's upcoming album reminded me of when i was 11 and i heard the news of that other fab 4's second album (in north america) release.i used to feel a certain pity for generations that had nothing comparable to the Beatles to grow up with.this generation needs no pity they have Jon,Guy,Will and Chris.only heard Magic once but i think it,s another excellent song. Midnight is getting better every time i play it. love the video. didn't care much for Atlas at first but it too is growing on me.thank you for your integrity coldplay.dont worry about detractors and slanderers good spirits shine through.

the beauty of melancholy | Reviewer: 11 panther | 2/27/14

after seeing a number of reviewers complain about cold play's songs being depressing I've had some thoughts. I guess if coldplay was a blues band they would be the best? What is great music? What makes a song great if not the power of making us experience powerful emotions? I agree that it is not healthy to wallow in depression 24/7 but neither is it healthy to live in the world of manic joy. There is a big difference between bittersweet or melancholia and clinical depression. If you can't feel the beauty of melancholy you're not an emotionally healthy person in my opinion. Only those who have become acquainted with sadness can experience the highest levels of happiness. In the course of my life I have spent a lot more money than I probably could really afford on music. I don't think I would ever waste a nickel on anyone that was making just "happy sappy" music.I haven't always loved every song coldplay has made but I've never felt one of their songs was stupid.

atlas and midnight | Reviewer: 11 panther | 2/25/14

just happened to see atlas and midnight videos both for the first time in last 24 hours. atlas was probably least liked thing i've ever seen from coldplay. midnight was kind of mesmerizing. not yet sure i love it but it is certainly interesting direction if this is first offering for a new album.

yes they are very very great in music history | Reviewer: H.C. Dudley | 2/24/14

enjoy looking at all the reviews from across such a vast age range. this in itself suggests there is far more to these guys than most artists who come down the pike. I especially loved the gushing of the 15 year old "I've been listening to them my whole life". well I am 61 and my enthusiasm for coldplay rivals that 15 year old. i have seen them all come and go from Elvis, the Everlys and Roy Orbison through the Beatles the Doors, YES Moody Blues , Neil Young, Sixpence none the Richer, Crowded House and lots of others.Iused to have a collection of close to 300 Vinyl albums.Cold Play is higher in my estimation than any of those I mentioned above.Their modesty is part of what makes them so great.Do you notice that all of their c.d.s give songwriting credit to all 4 guys on every song . This probably goes a long way to explaining them surviving 16 years as band.These guys seem to be genuinely nice people.Genius and kindness are not mutually exclusive things. Viva Cold Play. Everything's not lost.My personal favorites 1 The Speed OF SOUND 2In My Place 3 Yellow 4 Myloxyloto 5Viva la Vida.

Discovered them in 2000 | Reviewer: Les Jewell | 1/28/14

Have always been a fan since Yellow. Saw them in concert a few years back. As a black guy, it's sad that I am the only one in the audience lol. People are missing out on the best band ever. Not the best of all time, but the are up there. I say that only because I am a child of the 80's and I know good music.U2, Keane, Coldplay, Snow Patrol, Arcade Fire, The Neighbourhood, are just a few.

Stop fangirling please | Reviewer: Anonymous | 1/23/14

Everyone's reviews are completely irrational, Coldplay the best band ever? please. I own all their albums and I'm a fan, but Coldplay is nowhere near the top 100 acts of all time. There are many bands like Coldplay that are more enjoyable musically, but I'm just asking you to compare Coldplay to a few other bands like Keane, and Radiohead, be open-minded, Coldplay is not that great, but they are ok. They sold out with "X&Y", just listen to the quality of their first two albums compared to the next 4, so sad.


"Parachutes" - 8/10
"A Rush of Blood to the Head" - 9/10
'X&Y" - 4/10
"Viva la Vida... And Death and All His Friends" - 6/10
"Myloxyloto" - 4/10

and "Atlas"? come on guys, big disappointment.

Good Band | Reviewer: Mateo Ospina | 1/23/14

Heck I like Coldplay, their first two albums were amazing. After that they sold out completely leaving us with garbage like "Fix You", yea, I'm sorry fans, I also used to be a huge fan that thought Coldplay was "perfect". But as I got into more music I realized Coldplay was not at all as great as I thought, especially when "Myloxyloto" came out. I hope the fans don't hate me, but Coldplay's sadly no more than a regular pop act now, pretending to be kings of the world, however, I think they would have a better prep if a specific member of the band stopped being so, something. They had a better future musically before they released "X&Y, they were doing so well, you can tell the quality of their music dropped, the production on "Parachutes" is amazing, and very impressive for a young band, but everything after "A Rush of Blood to the Head" just sounds plastic. However Coldplay seems to be loved by everyone with a growing taste in music so sure, I'll hand them that. They're ok when they play live, sort of boring but who cares when you're at a concert anyways right?

Similar artists: Keane, Snow Patrol, U2, Travis, Radiohead (Just a little)

Sorry to all the fans out there, but this is my personal opinion about them, just be a bit more open-minded and listen to more music, there's a lot more enjoyable bands like Coldplay out there.

o.O | Reviewer: Aaliyah | 9/12/13

I don't exactly know how to begin talking about Coldplay...Theyre just simple amazing... everytime..someone asks me who's my fav band? I should out "coldplay" I honestly don't know how some people think theyre depressing.. guessing they don't know what good music is..<3

ATLAS AH | Reviewer: Wired car kid | 8/18/13

omg. best. band. ever. I haven't found a SINGLE song out of there (more than 60) collection that I am the slightest bit disappointed!!!!!!! Its amazing how after 14 ish years they can still create FANTASTIC music. They are the band that will never die. Coldplay, you have to stay together.

These are my top 10 :)
if you havent heard of them. here of them already.

Fix You
Hurts like heaven
the Scientist
Charlie Brown
Speed of sound
Viva la Vidaaaaaaaa
sparks/Every Teadrop is a Waterfal


Coldplay is my favorite! | Reviewer: Abby | 12/25/12

I'm 15 and I've been listening to Coldplay like my entire life!!! I absolutely LOVE Coldplay!!!!! I own ALL of Coldplay's albums!!!!
Coldplay's songs are so inspirational, if I'm feeling sad I can just listen to any of their songs and I can feel great! Their songs are amazing u can't even chose just one as my favorite!

Great show last night | Reviewer: Susan | 8/2/12

We have all the albums. I remember reading about them one night at dinner and didn't know about their music. It is addicting.
I saw them for the first time last night 8/1/12. Such a great, great show.

Awesome Band | Reviewer: A Person | 5/2/12

I really love this band! My old #1 song used to be Viva La Vida, but now after Mylo Xyolo (I Don't know how to spell it) Paradise is my favorite by them. But, I personally believe that they USED to be rock, but now are pretty much a Pop band, kinda sorta a rock band. Just my opinion, so don't get your panties in a bunch anyone.

Una voz Unica!!! | Reviewer: Enrique Bautista | 9/11/11

Los escuche por primera vez con "Trouble" en Radioactivo de la Cd. De Mexico y fue desde el primer momento que cai rendido al estilo de su musica. Recuerdo que el locutor decia que era la primera estacion que tocaba su musica en Mexico y que llegaria muy lejos esta banda ya que Yellow habia sido ya todo un hit para los radioescucha de la estacion y seguro que no se habia equivocado. Larga Vida a Coldplay y la inigualable voz de melancolia de Chris Martin que revasa fronteras e idiomas para sentir la pasion de una musica tan original y que me hace disfrutar cada una de sus letras y acordes.

Atte. Enrique Bautista Barroso.

Best Band Ever | Reviewer: anonymous | 4/6/11

I love all types of music reggae, pop, rock, etc. But when i heard Coldplay for the first time which was the song "Viva la Vida" I fell in love with their songs (yellow,violethill,talk,lost,cemeteries of london etc.). It was an amazing thing to have discovered them, because now I listen to them almost everyday. Their just the best!

Wen u're Gud u're Gud!! | Reviewer: gideon banda | 1/4/11

Rock =Coldplay. if people dont know rock music play them Coldplay and i can assure you they will never regret.. I LOVE all the songs done by Coldplay including the Escapist from Viva la Vida album. Wil, Jo, Guy & Chris arrange to come to Zambia!! I wish i could see you perform live!! By the way how did you come up with the band name?,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, Coldplay.

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