Chris Martin and Jonny Buckland met during their orientation week at University College London in 1996. They were fast friends and immediately set about planning to form a band, a project that would take the rest of that school year. They eventually formed Pectoralz. Later, a fellow classmate named Guy Berryman joined the group and by 1997 they had changed their name to Starfish. Together they played gigs for local Camden promoters at local clubs. Chris Martin recruited his longtime friend Phil Harvey to be the band’s manager and the band was rounded out by Will Champion, who joined as a percussionist. It was then that the band decided on the name that would stick: Coldplay.
The band released three records in the next couple of years: Safety in 1998, followed by the single Brothers & Sisters in 1999 and, also in that year, The Blue Room. The latter of these was the band’s first release on a major label, following their signing with Aprlophone.
It was in 2000 that Coldplay skyrocketed to international fame with their smash-hit single, “Yellow,” which was followed up by their debut album in the same year. That album, entitled “Parachutes” was nominated for the Mercury Prize that year.
The band’s sophomore album, “A Rush of Blood to the Head” was released in 2002 and received critical acclaim. It won many awards, including NME’s Album of the Year. The band’s next album, entitled X&Y, became the best-selling album in the world in 2005, although some felt it wasn’t as good as the band’s previous effort.
The band’s 2008 album, “Viva la Vida or Death and All his friends” earned the band several Grammy nominations at the 52st Grammy Awards. The band took home some of that coveted hardware that night.
In October of 2011, the band released their fifth studio album with the tongue-twisting title “Mylo Xyloto.” Like their other albums, this one was met with favorable reviews by fans and critics alike.
Throughout their rise to fame, the band has won many music awards. Among them are seven Brit Awards (they won Best British Group three times!), four MTV Video Music Awards and 7 Grammys (they have been nominated a whopping 20 times!).
Aside from making great music, the band also turns a conscious eye to various social and political causes. They use their fame in positive ways, to further causes such as Oxfam’s Make Trade Fair campaign and Amnesty International. They have also performed at many charity concert events, including Band Aid 20, Live 8, Hope for Haiti Now and the Teenage Cancer Trust, among others.
When the band released the EP “Safety,” the released 500 copies of it, most of which were given to record company executives and friends. Only 50 copies ended up being available for sale to the public. In December of 1998, the band signed with an independent label called Fierce Panda It was under this label that they released the three-track Brothers & Sisters, which was recorded in just four days in February of 1999.
After their final university examinations in 1999, Coldplay signed to their first major label, Parlophone. They signed a five-album contract with the label and after making their first appearance at Glastonbury, they went into the studio to record “The Blue Room,” of which 5,000 copies were made available for public to buy,. The single from that album, “Bigger Stronger” receive airplay on BBC Radio 1.
Today, Coldplay enjoys international success on a major scale. The band says that they operate as a democracy, sharing all profits equally between the members. Front man Chris Martin is married to actress Gwyneth Paltrow, with whom he has two children.
Despite their massive popularity, the band maintains a close watch on how their music is used in the media. They do not allow their music to be used for product endorsements, having turned down multi-million-dollar endorsement deals from such huge companies as Diet Coke, Gap and Gatorade. Martin has been quote as saying he does want to “sell the songs’ meanings” by offering them up as part of an endorsement deal.
The band gives 10 percent of their profits to charity, a practice they started in their early days. In addition, they ask that any gifts that are intended for them be donate instead to chairty. They are ardent supporters of Meat Free Monday, an initiative started by music legend Paul McCartney as a way to reduce climate change by having at least one day per week on which we don’t eat meat.