Coldplay
1996
United Kingdom
Music group
Coldplay met at the University College of London in September 1996. It was in the residence halls there that Chris, Jon, Will and Guy established one of Britain's top guitar bands, Coldplay, and, in the process, became the best of friends. "We all lived in the same building and we took the name 'Coldplay' from Tim, one of our other flatmates who also had a band. He decided he didn't like the name any more because it was too depressing," says lead singer, Chris Martin.

"If I thought it was going to be this boring I would never have joined the band in the first place."

Chris Martin grew up in Devon (Southwest UK). He first began playing the guitar at the age of 15 by, and has not stopped strumming since. Chris picked up keyboard and piano as well when, and occassionally plays the harmonica. He also recently discovered the art of electric guitar on the North American tour 2001, which was displayed on stage and will be on the upcoming album.

Guitarist Jonny Buckland (from Mold,Wales) began playing guitar at the age of 11.

Drummer Will Champion was born and raised in Southampton, on the South Coast of the UK. Will prefers to play the guitar, but when the band wanted a drummer he offered to play with the sticks and took up the role ever since.

Bassist Guy Berryman originates from Fife in Scotland, and moved to Kent, England at the age of 12. He has been playing the bass since the age of 13.

The band's first release was entitled Safety EP. With the band's own £200, 500 limited copies of the EP were made. The three songs - Bigger Stronger, No More Keeping My Feet On The Ground and Such A Rush, recorded at Sync City Studios, were originaly intended as a demo, but Coldplay was so pleased with it that the EP was released commercially in May 1998.

All 500 copies were to be distributed around London, and only 50 copies were left after the rest had been given away to friends and family.

This EP served its original purpose when Debs Wild of Universal Records saw the band in September 1998 and was enthusiastic. She was then instrumental in hooking up the band with a top music lawyer, Gavin Maude. She gave a copy of the EP to Caroline Elleray of BMG Publishing who subsequently played it to Dan Keeling of Parlophone Records.

Meanwhile, Simon Williams, co-founder of Fierce Panda Records, saw Coldplay at the Camden Falcon on 7 December 1998. He took Steve Lamacq along with him who consequently booked them in for a session on his Evening Session on Radio One. Simon offers the group a one-off deal and mentions them to the NME in his tips for the following year. The label liked them as much as to ask the band to record a song for them.

The band signed deals with the two companies in early summer of 1999. Brothers & Sisters was played by Steve Lamacq on the UK's top radio station, Radio One, and reached #92 in the UK music charts. Thus, Coldplay began to build their now-enormous fan base.

In April 1999, Coldplay released the Brothers & Sisters EP under the Fierce Panda label. Because of this, the magazine New Musical Express (NME) tipped Coldplay to be one of the bands of 1999.

The Safety EP and the Brothers & Sisters EP helped pave the way for the October 1999 release of The Blue Room EP. Now on their new label, Parlophone, Coldplay began to play at various music festivals in the summer and had supported Catatonia.

The band then felt ready to record their first album. The recording session, however, didn't go as well as planned for various reasons, and Parlophone began pushing for another EP release in hopes that the band could gain some weight under its belt. From the push from Parlophone, Coldplay then released the Blue Room EP. The five-track release was a mix of the old and the new, with the tracks Such A Rush and Bigger Stronger reappearing from the Safety EP to join new songs Don't Panic, High Speed, and See You Soon.

Soon after the the Blue Room EP was released, Coldplay soon recieved criticism for resembling and copying the likes of fellow British band Radiohead. Those comparisons could only be partially denied, as the EP had been written during the wake of Radiohead's 'OK Computer' album.

Coldplay's first chart entry on the UK Top 40 music chart came with the release of the single 'Shiver' which reached #35 in March 2000.

At this time, Coldplay was also recording new tracks for the first album, and the album's tracklisting was beginning to change.

Due to the uncertainty to the tracklisting, none of the newly-recorded songs could feature as B-sides. It resulted in Coldplay setting aside one mere evening alone to record both B-sides, 'For You' and 'Careful Where You Stand'.

The single Shiver though was received very well by fans and critics. Any previous Radiohead comparisons that had been made were being lifted.

Airplay on the UK's top radio station, Radio One and other top radio stations across the country, in addition to the Shiver video on Europe MTV, helped bring Coldplay into the light. Coldplay's next single release was to be Yellow. With the new album nearly completed, the success of it depended upon the Yellow release.

To help, the band played an excellent performance on one Saturday afternoon at the UK's top music festival at Glastonbury. The performance was later called the highlight of the music festival, and instantly shot Coldplay to fame and to the #4 spot on the UK Singles chart.

'Yellow' did do well for the album, as 'Parachutes' made its debut into the world and entered the UK album chart at #1 a few weeks later. The album gained them many new fans and Parachutes also gained a Mercury Music Prize nomination.
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