Coldplay are a British rock band formed in London in 1996. They consist of vocalist and pianist Chris Martin, guitarist Jonny Buckland, bassist Guy Berryman, drummer Will Champion and creative director Phil Harvey. They met at University College London and began playing music together from 1996 to 1998, first calling themselves Pectoralz and then Starfish.
After independently releasing an extended play, Safety (1998), Coldplay signed with Parlophone in 1999. The band's debut album, Parachutes (2000), included their breakthrough single "Yellow" and received a Brit Award for British Album of the Year, a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album and a Mercury Prize nomination. Their second album, A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002), won the same accolades and included the singles "The Scientist" and "Clocks", with the latter winning a Grammy Award for Record of the Year. Noted for a troubled production, the band's third album X&Y (2005) was the best-selling of the year worldwide, an achievement later repeated its successor, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends (2008), which saw them explore new musical territory following the completion of what was considered a trilogy. It received a Grammy Award for Best Rock Album and their first Album of the Year nomination, while the title track became the first single by a British group to reach number-one in both the United Kingdom and United States in the 21st century.
Since then, Coldplay further diversified their sound with the subsequent releases Mylo Xyloto (2011), Ghost Stories (2014), A Head Full of Dreams (2015), Everyday Life (2019) and Music of the Spheres (2021). Each album presented a unique theme and added new musical styles to the band's original repertoire, including electronica, ambient, pop, R&B, funk, classical, jazz fusion, and progressive rock. They are also known for "euphoric" live performances, which NME said are when the band "come alive and make the most sense". To celebrate their 20th anniversary in 2018, a career-spanning documentary directed by Mat Whitecross was premiered at selected cinemas, featuring previously unseen behind-the-scenes footage.
With 100 million albums sold worldwide, Coldplay are the most successful band of the 21st century and one of the best-selling music acts of all time. According to Fuse, they are also the sixth-most awarded group in history. Other notable achievements include the sixth-highest-grossing tour of all time, three of the 50 highest-selling albums ever in the United Kingdom, the most number-one records in the country without ever missing the top, most nominations and wins for a band in Brit Awards history, and becoming the first British group to debut at number-one on the Billboard Hot 100. Coldplay are considered one of the most influential bands of the 21st century as well, with Forbes describing them as the standard for the current alternative scene. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame included A Rush of Blood to the Head on their "200 Definitive Albums" list and the single "Yellow" is part of their "Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll" exhibition for being one of the most successful and important recordings in the industry. In spite of their popularity and impact, Coldplay have earned a reputation as polarizing music icons.