Are a British alternative rock band formed in 1996 by lead vocalist Chris Martin and lead guitarist Jonny Buckland at University College London. After they formed Pectoralz, Guy Berryman joined the group as a bassist and they changed their name to Starfish. Will Champion joined as a drummer, backing vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist, completing the line-up. Manager Phil Harvey is often considered an unofficial fifth member.The band renamed themselves "Coldplay" in 1998,before recording and releasing three EPs; Safety in 1998, Brothers & Sisters as a single in 1999 and The Blue Room in the same year. The latter was their first release on a major label, after signing to Parlophone.
They achieved worldwide fame with the release of the single "Yellow" in 2000, followed by their debut album released in the same year, 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 multiple awards, including NME's Album of the Year, and has been widely considered the best of the Nelson-produced Coldplay albums. Their next release, X&Y, the best-selling album worldwide in 2005, was met with mostly positive reviews upon its release, though some critics felt that it was inferior to its predecessor. 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 positive reviews, earning several Grammy nominations and wins at the 51st Grammy Awards. On 24 October 2011, they released their fifth studio album, Mylo Xyloto, which received mixed to positive reviews, topped the charts in over 34 countries, and was the UK's best-selling rock album of 2011.
The band has won a number of music awards throughout their career, including seven Brit Awards—winning Best British Group three times, five MTV Video Music Awards, and seven Grammy Awards from twenty nominations. Coldplay have sold over 55 million records worldwide. In December 2009, Rolling Stone readers voted the group the fourth-best artist of the 2000s.
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, Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief, The Secret Policeman's Ball, and the Teenage Cancer Trust.
Formation and first years (1996–99)
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 Champion joined 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 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 to Parlophone for a five-album contract in early 1999.After making their first appearance at Glastonbury, the band went into 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.