Coldplay Band Overview

Michael Kwan

Coldplay burst on to the music scene in the early 2000s and has since established itself as one of the top selling rock bands of all time. The band, originally from the United Kingdom, remains a firm fan favorite and is one of the most recognizable names in the music industry today.

Coldplay Songs and Lyrics

Many Coldplay songs have been released as highly successful singles. The melodies of the tracks certainly helped, but Coldplay songs have some great lyrics too.


The title of the song that put Coldplay on the international stage, Yellow, actually has no real meaning according to lead man Chris Martin; he just felt it sounded right.

Look at the stars
Look how they shine for you
And everything you do
Yeah they were all yellow

The Scientist

While the exact meaning is ambiguous, The Scientist appears to be about losing someone, either through death or a breakup, and wanting to start over again.

Nobody said it was easy
It's such a shame for us to part
Nobody said it was easy
No one ever said it would be this hard
Oh take me back to the start

Fix You

Discussing several possible situations where life can be challenging, Fix You offers a voice of encouragement, saying that "I will try to fix you."

When the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can't replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?

Viva la Vida

The title single from the Viva la Vida album, this song appears to be about celebration and various revolutions throughout history.

I hear Jerusalem bells a ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror, my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field
For some reason I can't explain
Once you go there was never, never an honest word
That was when I ruled the world


A song about growing up and revisiting child-like innocence embodied by fairy tales, Paradise reinforces a sense of optimism in the face of life's misfortunes.

When she was just a girl she expected the world
But it flew away from her reach
So she ran away in her sleep and dreamed of
Para-para-paradise, para-para-paradise, para-para-paradise
Every time she closed her eyes

The Beginning of the Coldplay Story


The story of Coldplay starts at University College London in 1996. During their freshman orientation, Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland met, bonded over their love of music, and decided to start a band. Martin and Buckland played together as a duo for a period of time under the name Pectoralz, but a year later they recruited fellow student Guy Berryman into the group and rechristened themselves as Starfish. Martins' friend Phil Harvey came on board as manager at this time and was considered an honorary member of the band.

Shortly after Berryman joined the group, the final band member was put in place when Will Champion joined up. Soon after they renamed themselves yet again, this time settling on Coldplay, a name they borrowed from a fellow student who had used it for his own music.

Coldplay began playing gigs around London and in 1998 they recorded a demo EP called The Safety EP. The Safety EP was mainly used to promote the group to British labels and to hand out to friends and family. Only about 50 copies or so of the short-run pressing were ever sold and the EP is now a collector's item.

Eventually Coldplay gained the attention of famed UK indie label Fierce Panda. In 1999 they released their first official release, Brothers and Sisters, on that imprint. A gig at UK music festival Glastonbury followed and the band soon moved on to a major label deal with Parlophone Records.

Making the Big Time

Coldplay's first major label release came out in the UK and Europe in 1999. The album, called Parachutes, put the band on the map thanks to the mega hit single Yellow. After making a name for themselves in their home country the band released Parachutes in the US in 2000, and again thanks to the lead single the album became a smash in the States. Parachutes eventually went double platinum, and the band picked up a Best Alternative Music Album Grammy Award in 2002 for this release.

Coldplay followed up Parachutes with A Rush of Blood to The Head and X&Y, both of which were great successes. The band toured almost constantly in support of these albums and was on the road almost continuously from 2001 to 2006.

In 2006 Coldplay began to work on their fourth album, Viva La Vida or Death and All His Friends. They recorded with legendary producer Brian Eno, who influenced the direction of the record. Viva La Vida was released in June 2008, and became the best selling album, globally, of the entire year. The album was a critical success and a fan favorite.

Their next album, Mylo Xyloto, was released in October 2011. Over six million copies of the record were sold worldwide as of July 2012, propelling Mylo Xyloto to the top of the charts in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, and abroad. It was certified double platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.

Coldplay and Activism

Coldplay, particularly singer Chris Martin, is known for their political activism. The band is heavily involved in Oxfam's campaign to promote Fair Trade and they have also been involved in the RED campaign, which fights AIDS. They have turned down high profile and lucrative offers to have their music used in commercials for companies such as Coke and The Gap. They are also active in the Make Poverty History campaign.

Coldplay's Place in History

Coldplay has solidified its place among music's elite, winning several awards and setting record sales of their albums. Their international success has been impressive both commercially and critically. Only time will tell whether Coldplay will be considered as a part of British music's upper echelon of legendary rock bands alongside The Rolling Stones and The Beatles.

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Coldplay Band Overview