Coldplay – in concert at Glastonbury 2011 – Recorded June 25, 2011 – BBC 6 Music –
Coldplay at Glastonbury 2011 tonight. Probably one of the most commercially successful of the Alt/Indie/post-Brit-Pop genre, Coldplay have parlayed commercial success into social activism while maintaining a goodly amount of integrity and a massive popularity world-wide.
Coldplay formed in London in 1996. Vocalist and pianist Chris Martin, guitarist Jonny Buckland, bassist Guy Berryman, and drummer Will Champion met at University College London and began playing music together from 1996 to 1998, first calling themselves Pectoralz and then Starfish before finally changing their name to Coldplay. Creative director and former manager Phil Harvey is often referred to as the fifth member by the band. After changing their name to Coldplay, they recorded and released two EPs: Safety in 1998 and The Blue Room in 1999. The latter was their first release on a major record label, after signing to Parlophone.
Coldplay achieved worldwide fame with the release of the song “Yellow” in 2000, followed in the same year by their debut album 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 many awards, including NME’s Album of the Year. Their next release, X&Y, the best-selling album worldwide in 2005, received mostly positive reviews, though some critics felt it was inferior to its predecessor. Their fourth studio album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends (2008), the best-selling album worldwide of 2008, was produced by Brian Eno and released to largely positive reviews, earning three Grammy Awards. In October 2011, Coldplay released their fifth studio album, Mylo Xyloto, which topped the charts in over 34 countries, was the UK’s best-selling rock album of 2011, and received moderately positive reviews. Their sixth album, Ghost Stories, released in 2014, received mixed reviews and topped several national album charts. The following year the band released their seventh album, A Head Full of Dreams, which reached the top two in most major markets, but received generally mixed reviews. Four years later, in November 2019, they released their eighth album, Everyday Life, which received mainly positive reviews.
Coldplay supports Amnesty International and performed for them at The Secret Policeman’s Ball fundraiser in 2012. Martin is regarded as one of the most visible celebrity advocates for fair trade, supporting Oxfam’s ongoing Make Trade Fair campaign. He has been on trips with Oxfam to assess conditions, has appeared in its advertising campaign, and is known for wearing a “Make Trade Fair” wristband during public appearances (including at Coldplay concerts). The band were also filmed for Make Poverty History, clicking their fingers.
During the early years, Coldplay became widely known in the media for giving 10 per cent of the band’s profits to charity, which they continue to do. Bassist Guy Berryman said, “You can make people aware of issues. It isn’t very much effort for us at all, but if it can help people, then we want to do it.” The band also asks that any gifts intended for them are donated to charity, according to a response on the FAQ section of Coldplay’s website. Martin spoke out against the 2003 invasion of Iraq by the US, UK and other forces during the Teenage Cancer Trust show at London’s Royal Albert Hall on 24 March 2003, where he encouraged the sell-out crowd to “sing against war”. He would later endorse the US Democratic presidential candidates John Kerry and Barack Obama in 2004 and 2008 respectively.
In June 2009, Coldplay began supporting Meat Free Monday, a food campaign started by Paul McCartney which attempts to help slow climate change by having at least one meat free day a week. From 17 and 31 December 2009, Coldplay auctioned a quantity of significant band memorabilia, including their first guitars. Proceeds went to Kids Company, a charity which helps vulnerable children and young people in London. A month later in January 2010, Coldplay performed a slightly modified version of “A Message”, entitled “A Message 2010”, at the Hope For Haiti Now telethon special, raising money for the victims of the 2010 Haiti earthquake.
As a reminder of what they were up to in 2011, have a seat and crank up their show from Glasto.