Coldplay are a British rock band formed in 1996 by lead vocalist and keyboardist Chris Martin and lead guitarist Jonny Buckland at University College London (UCL). After they formed under the name Pectoralz, Guy Berryman joined the group as bassist and they changed their name to Starfish. Will Champion joined as drummer and backing vocalist, completing the lineup. Creative director Phil Harvey is often referred to as the fifth member by the band. The band renamed themselves "Coldplay" in 1998, before recording and releasing three EPs: Safety in 1998 and Brothers & Sisters and The Blue Room in 1999. The Blue Room was their first release on a major label, after signing to Parlophone.
Coldplay achieved worldwide fame with the release of the single "Yellow" in 2000, followed in the same year by their debut album Parachutes, which was nominated for the Mercury Prize. The band's second album, A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002), was released to critical acclaim and won awards including NME's Album of the Year. Their next release, X&Y, the bestselling album worldwide in 2005, received mostly positive reviews, though some critics felt it was inferior to its predecessor. Their fourth studio album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends (2008), was produced by Brian Eno and released to largely positive reviews, earning several Grammy Award nominations and wins at the 51st Grammy Awards. In October 2011, Coldplay released their fifth studio album, Mylo Xyloto, which topped the charts in over 34 countries and was the UK's best-selling rock album of 2011, but received mixed reviews. In May 2014, they released their sixth album, Ghost Stories, which also received mixed reviews and topped several national album charts. In December 2015, the band released their seventh album, A Head Full of Dreams, which reached the top two in most major markets, but received generally mixed reviews.
Coldplay have won 62 awards from 209 nominations throughout their career, including nine Brit Awards?winning Best British Group four times?five MTV Video Music Awards and seven Grammy Awards from 31 nominations. They have sold more than 90 million records worldwide, making them one of the world's bestselling music artists. In December 2009, Rolling Stone readers voted the group the fourth-best artist of the 2000s. Coldplay have supported various social and political causes, such as Oxfam's Make Trade Fair campaign and Amnesty International. They have also performed at charity projects including Band Aid 20, Live 8, Global Citizen Festival, Sound Relief, Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief, One Love Manchester, The Secret Policeman's Ball, Sport Relief and the UK Teenage Cancer Trust.
1996?1999: Formation and first years
Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland first met during their orientation week at University College London (UCL) in September 1996. The pair spent the rest of the university year planning a band, ultimately forming a group called Pectoralz. Guy Berryman, a classmate of Martin and Buckland, later joined the group. By 1997, the group, who had renamed themselves 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 the University of Oxford, to be the band's manager. Coldplay have since accepted Harvey as the fifth member of the group. The band's line-up was completed when Will Championjoined 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 met Classics student Tim Rice-Oxley. During a weekend in the English village Virginia Water in Surrey they asked each other to play 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 active. Days after, this event would shape the second line-up of Keane and keep Coldplay's unaltered, thus leaving both bands as quartets. In 1998, the band released 500 copies of the Safety EP.Most of the discs were given to record companies and friends; only 50 copies remained for sale to the public. In December of that year, Coldplay signed to the independent label Fierce Panda. Their first release was the three-track Brothers and Sisters EP, which they had quickly recorded over four days in February 1999.
After completing their final examinations Coldplay signed a five-album contract with Parlophone in early 1999. After making their first appearance at Glastonbury the band went into the studio to record a third EP, titled The Blue Room. Five thousand copies were made available to the public in October and the single "Bigger Stronger" received BBC Radio 1 airplay. The recording sessions for The Blue Room were tumultuous. Champion was briefly fired from the band, but Martin later pleaded with him to return after kicking him out, and because of his guilt, went on a drinking binge. Eventually, the band worked out their differences and put in place a new set of rules to keep the group intact. Inspired by bands like U2and R.E.M., Coldplay decided that they would operate as a democracy. Additionally, the band determined they would fire anyone who used hard drugs.
The band initially planned to record their debut album in the space of two weeks. However, tours and other live performances caused the recording to spread out between September 1999 and April?May 2000. The album was recorded at Rockfield Studios, Matrix Studios, and Wessex Sound Studios with producer Ken Nelson, although the majority of Parachutes' tracks were recorded at Liverpool's Parr Street Studios (where they accessed three studio rooms). The mixing process on all songs for the album was done by American engineer Michael Brauer in New York. During that period, they played on the Carling Tour, which showcased up-and-coming acts.
After releasing three EPs without a hit song, Coldplay had their first Top 40 hit with the lead single from Parachutes, "Shiver", which was released in March 2000 and peaked at number 35 position on the UK Singles Chart. June 2000 was a pivotal moment in Coldplay's history: the band embarked on their first headlining tour, including a showing at the Glastonbury Festival. The band also released the breakthrough single "Yellow". It was Coldplay's first release to reach the top five, rising to number four on the UK Singles Chart. "Yellow" and "Shiver" were initially released as EPs in the spring of 2000. The former was later released as a single in United Kingdom on 26 June 2000. In the United States, the song was released as the lead single from the then-untitled debut album. In October 2000, the track was sent to US college and alternative radio outlets.