Coldplay is an English alternative rock band formed in 1996 by lead vocalist Chris Martin and lead guitarist Jonny Buckland at University College London. Guy Berryman joined the group as a bassist and they changed their name to Starfish. Will Champion joined as a drummer, backing vocalist, and multi-instrumentalist, completing the lineup. Manager Phil Harvey is often considered an unofficial fifth member.
The band renamed themselves “Coldplay” in 1998, before recording and releasing three EPs, “Safety” in 1998, “Brothers & Sisters” as a single in 1999 and “The Blue Room” in the same year. The latter was their first release on a major label, after signing to Parlophone.
They achieved worldwide fame with the release of the single “Yellow” in 2000, followed by their debut album released in the same year. “Parachutes,” was nominated for the Mercury Prize and won the Grammy Award for Best Alternative Album. Upon release, the album quickly reached #1 in the United Kingdom, and has since been certified 7x platinum. In the United States, the album peaked at #51 on the Billboard 200 Albums chart, and has since been certified 2x platinum.
The band's second album, 2002’s “A Rush of Blood to the Head,” won multiple awards, and it won the 2003 Grammy for Best Alternative Album for the second time in a row. It has since been certified 8x platinum. The album spawned the hit singles “In My Place,” “The Scientist,” “Clocks” and “God Put a Smile upon Your Face.” They also won the 2004 Grammy for Record of the Year for the song “Clocks.”
Their next release, “X&Y,” received a slightly less enthusiastic yet still generally positive reception upon its release in 2005. The album spawned the singles “Speed of Sound,” “Fix You,” “Talk,” “The Hardest Part,” “What If” and “White Shadows.” The album has been considered a landmark achievement of the band, topping many charts worldwide, including in the U.K. and U.S. with the latter being their first. With accumulated sales of over 11 million units, “X&Y” was the best-selling album released in 2005 worldwide. “X&Y” scored Coldplay their third consecutive Mercury Prize nomination. It was also nominated for Best Rock Album at the 48th Grammy Awards.
The band's fourth studio album, 2008’s “Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends,” was produced by Brian Eno and Markus Dravs. Five singles were released in promotion of the album, “Violet Hill” and “Viva la Vida” in May 2008, “Lovers in Japan” and “Lost!” in November 2008 and “Strawberry Swing” in September 2009. “Viva la Vida” became the band's first song to reach #1 in both the U.S. and the U.K. It won Best Rock Album at the 2009 Grammy Awards and globally was the best-selling album of 2008. By September 2009 the album became the most paid-for downloaded album of all time. In the U.S. it peaked at the #1 spot for two weeks.
As one of the world's best-selling music artists, Coldplay has sold over 50 million records worldwide.