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Last Updated: Thursday, 5 May 2005, 12:27 GMT 13:27 UK
Coldplay's slow-burning success
In under a decade, Coldplay have become one of the UK's biggest bands and have successfully done what most other British acts fail to do - crack America.

Coldplay met at university in London in the mid-1990s

The foursome came together during their first week at University College London in the mid-90s.

Singer Chris Martin began writing songs with guitarist Jonny Buckland, joined by Guy Berryman on bass.

Will Champion was so keen to join his friends in the band that he dropped playing the guitar and taught himself to play drums.

Even from the start, there was a determination to succeed not only but to be the best, practising every day wherever they could find rehearsal space.

They pressed 500 copies of their first EP, which secured them a gig as part of an influential Manchester music festival in 1998.


They were then spotted by Fierce Panda record label boss Simon Williams who signed them for a one-single deal for the release of their song Brothers and Sisters.

The attention helped them land a major deal with Parlophone - but the band's independent streak meant they wanted control of all aspects of their music, from videos to artwork.

But their breakthrough came when their single Yellow reached number four and became an anthem in summer 2000.

Their first album Parachutes followed and provided proof of Coldplay's talent and popularity.

Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow
Chris Martin married Hollywood star Gwyneth Paltrow in 2003
The album was a huge critical and commercial success, making them one of Britain's most talked-about bands.

They took a clutch of awards - including best group and album at the Brits 2001 and Q's best band in the world two years running.

As festival headline material they topped the bills at V2001 and Glastonbury 2002.

But the band appeared to have a crisis of confidence for their "difficult" second album, A Rush of Blood to the Head.

"We were pleased with it, but then we took a step back and realised that it wasn't right," Buckland told the band's website.

"It would have been easy to say we'd done enough, to release an album to keep up the momentum, but we didn't and I'm glad."

Reluctant star

This extra effort went down well with fans and A Rush of Blood to the Head, released in 2002, was considered a worthy successor to Parachutes.

It earned them two more Brit Awards in 2003, a brace of wins at the 2003 NME bash, and three prestigious US Grammy awards, including honours for hits Clocks and In My Place.

Along with musical success has come fame and Chris Martin has became a reluctant star of tabloid showbiz columns.

Much of the attention started when he began a relationship with Oscar-winning actress Gwyneth Paltrow.

Coldplay on stage
Coldplay have managed to shed their "music for bedwetters" tag
His exasperation at his celebrity status became apparent when he was charged with hitting out at a photographer on Australia's Byron Bay beach, but the charges were later dropped by police.

The couple married in December 2003 and a daughter, Apple, followed in May 2004.

Away from the tabloid headlines, Martin became a vociferous charity campaigner, with Oxfam's Make Trade Fair campaign his main project.

He travelled to Haiti and the Dominican Republic with the charity to see the problems first hand and highlight world trade issues.


The band also donate 10% of all their earnings to charity and perform at fundraising gigs for a host of causes.

In December 2004, with Coldplay's international success continuing to grow, the band took part in the Band Aid 20 project to raise money for projects in Africa.

Now firmly established, the band are moving into the next phase of their careers with the release of their third album, X&Y, in June, followed by a return to Glastonbury.

Once derided for making music for "bedwetters" by former Oasis label boss Alan McGee, Coldplay have proven to be more successful around the world than any of the Britpop bands.

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