Coldplay are a British rock band formed in 1996 by lead vocalist and keyboardist Chris Martin and lead guitarist Jonny Buckland at University College London (UCL).
After they formed under the name Pectoralz, Guy Berryman joined the group as bassist and they changed their name to Starfish. Will Champion joined as drummer and backing vocalist, completing the performing line-up. Creative Director Phil Harvey is often referred to as the official fifth member by the band. 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 Blue Room 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. This was followed by their debut album Parachutes released the same year, 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 multiple awards, including NME’s Album of the Year. Their next release, X&Y, the best-selling album worldwide in 2005, was met with mostly positive reviews upon its release, though some critics felt that it was inferior to its predecessor.
The band’s fourth studio album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends (2008), was produced by Brian Eno and released again to largely positive reviews, earning several Grammy Award nominations and wins at the 51st Grammy Awards. In October 2011, they released their fifth studio album, Mylo Xyloto, which received mixed to positive reviews, topped the charts in over 34 countries, and was the UK’s best-selling rock album of 2011. In May 2014, they released their sixth album, Ghost Stories, which also received mixed to positive reviews and topped the iTunes Store albums charts in over 100 countries. In December 2015, 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.
The band has won 62 awards from 209 nominations throughout their career, including nine Brit Awards—winning Best British Group four times—five MTV Video Music Awards and seven Grammy Awards from 31 nominations. Coldplay have sold more than 80 million records worldwide, making them one of the world’s best-selling music artists. In December 2009, Rolling Stone readers voted the group the fourth-best artist of the 2000s. Coldplay have been an active supporter of various social and political causes, such as Oxfam’s Make Trade Fair campaign and Amnesty International. The group have also performed at various charity projects such as Band Aid 20, Live 8, Sound Relief, Hope for Haiti Now: A Global Benefit for Earthquake Relief, The Secret Policeman’s Ball, Sport Relief and the UK’s Teenage Cancer Trust.