Though Parachutes’ lead single, “Shiver,” didn’t make much impact, the follow-up, “Yellow” (Number 48, 2001), was omnipresent on radio and one of the first power-ballad hits of the new decade. The group’s follow-up, A Rush of Blood to the Head (Number 5, 2002), consolidated Coldplay’s position as the go-to band for melodically sturdy guitar-rock weepers, as it spun off a fistful of big hits: “In My Place” (Number 17 Modern Rock, 2002); “The Scientist” (Number 18 Modern Rock, 2003); the piano-driven “Clocks” (Number 29, 2003), which won the 2004 Grammy Award for Record of the Year; and “God Put a Smile on Your Face.”
In Rush’s wake, Martin became an outspoken advocate of fair trade (he appeared with the phrase “Make Trade Fair” written on his hand on a magazine cover) and spoke in favor of John Kerry’s presidential bid. (Martin doesn’t have an American vote, but his wife, the Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow, does.) The band gives ten percent of their profits to charity.
Those profits went way up in 2005, when Coldplay released their third album, X & Y, which went straight to Number One in 22 countries, including the U.S. and U.K. Despite critical pans (including a high-profile drubbing in the New York Times), the album spun off the radio tracks “Speed of Sound” (Number Eight, 2005), “Fix You” (Number 59, 2005), “Talk” (Number 86, 2006), and “The Hardest Part” (Number 37 Adult Contemporary, 2006). Martin became a tabloid fixture thanks to his marriage, but his image, and his band’s, remained relatively down to earth.
On 2008’s Viva La Vida Or Death And All His Friends (Number One, Top 200) Coldplay’s sound became more overtly experimental as the band worked with boundary-pushing producers like Brian Eno, who helped bring the band win significant critical acclaim. The album’s first single, “Violet Hill,” hit Number Eight, while the follow-up, “Viva La Vida,” hit Number One and won Song of the Year at the 2009 Grammy Awards. After the release of Viva La Vida, Coldplay embarked on tours in North America, Latin America, and Europe. In December, 2009, they convened in a North London church to focus on a new album, again working with Brian Eno.
Preceded by first single “Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall,” Coldplay’s fifth studio album, 2011’s Mylo Xyloto, was produced by Markus Dravs, Daniel Green, and Rik Simpson (the official press release adds “with enoxification and additional composition by Brian Eno”). Live 2012, the band’s second concert film/recording, followed in 2012 after a hugely successful world tour, which included a special performance at the London Paralympics closing ceremony. Work began on their sixth album in late 2012 at their Bakery and Beehive studios in North London, where longtime producers Paul Epworth, Daniel Green, and Rik Simpson joined them for sessions. As the recording progressed, other producers, including Avicii and Timbaland, were brought in, making the resulting Ghost Stories quite different from its predecessors in that there were many producers instead of a handful.
Coldplay began promoting Ghost Stories in March 2014, two months prior to its May release, playing a showcase concert held during the 2014 South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas. Around the time of the concert, it was revealed that Martin was separating from his wife. This news was counterbalanced by the announcement that Martin was going to act as an advisor on the U.S. series of singing competition The Voice. Additional television duties for the band included a concert called Coldplay: Ghost Stories on NBC (the same network that aired The Voice), which aired on May 18, the Sunday prior to the release of Ghost Stories. Thanks to this promotional push, Ghost Stories debuted at number one throughout the world and the singles “Magic” and “A Sky Full of Stars” performed well too, with the latter reaching the Top Ten in every major international market. For the holiday season of 2014, the band released Ghost Stories: Live 2014, a CD/DVD package that contained live versions of every song from the album.
Soon after finishing their promotional duties for Ghost Stories, Coldplay returned to the studio to work on their seventh album. Recording in Los Angeles and London, the band collaborated with Noel Gallagher, Beyoncé, Tove Lo, and Merry Clayton (best known for her vocals on the Rolling Stones’ “Gimme Shelter) as well as producers Rik Simpson and Stargate. The joyous, disco-tinged lead single “Adventure of a Lifetime” arrived in November 2015, just a few weeks before the full-length A Head Full of Dreams was released that December. ~ Andrew Leahey, Rovi
Sourced by Rolling Stone and MTV.com
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