|This UK band shot to prominence on the back of excitable comparisons to Jeff Buckley and Radiohead, for many commentators the twin figureheads of tortured white rock music in the late 90s. In reality, Coldplay's inoffensive and slightly bland acoustic rock songs bear stronger comparison to the hugely successful Travis.
The band was formed in January 1998 by UCL students Chris Martin (b. 2 March 1977, Exeter, Devon, England; vocals, guitar, piano), Jonny Buckland (b. 11 September 1977, London, England; guitar), Guy Berryman (b. 12 April 1978, Kirkcaldy, Fife, Scotland; bass) and Will Champion (b. 31 July 1978, Southampton, Hampshire, England; drums). Self-financed demo sessions were productive enough to warrant the release of the Safety EP in May. One of the tracks on the EP, "Bigger Stronger', earned the band excellent notices in the UK press. They appeared at September's In The City showcase for unsigned bands, but a performance at London's Camden Falcon in December, where they were watched by influential journalist and Fierce Panda Records" co-founder Simon Williams, provided the band with their big breakthrough. A one-off single for Fierce Panda, "Brothers & Sisters", broke into the UK Top 100 at the start of 1999. The same May the band signed a major label contract with Parlophone Records. Following their appearance at the Glastonbury Festival the band released The Blue Room E.P. and concentrated on recording their debut album. In 2000, short tours with fellow newcomers Terris and Muse, and breakthrough UK hits with "Shiver", "Yellow" (number 4) and "Trouble" helped maintain the hype level prior to the release of their chart-topping debut album, Parachutes, in July. The band was also nominated for the Mercury Music Prize.
Coldplay received a lot of press during the recording of their second album, with Martin stating that if it was not up to standard then they would give up. A Rush Of Blood To The Head turned out to be a strong follow-up, with tracks such as "In My Place", "The Scientist" and the stunning "Clocks" matching the freshness of their debut. The album helped break the band in the USA, and its multi-platinum status cemented their reputation as one of the new millennium's biggest rock acts. Martin married American actress Gwyneth Paltrow in December 2003. The following February, "Clocks" won a Grammy for Record Of The Year.
The long awaited new Coldplay single, "Speed Of Sound", was premiered in April 2005. Its debut at number 8 on the US singles chart meant Coldplay became the first British band to have a new entry in the US Top 10 since the Beatles. The release of the attendant album X&Y was one of the most media-saturated events of the past decade. While some of the reviews were completely over the top in hailing the album as an instant classic, it was undeniably another excellent collection showing that the band's songwriting skills had not diminished amidst all the pressure. The album went straight to the top of the charts all over the world.