Coldplay has officially bagged the biggest gig of 2016 — according to the Wall Street Journal, the British rockers will headline the halftime show at Super Bowl 50. With so much excitement surrounding Chris Martin and co., we decided to dig up a few lesser-known facts about the band.
1. They weren’t originally called Coldplay
In fact, when Chris Martin and lead guitarist Jonny Buckland first met at University College London (UCL) in 1996, they formed under the name “Pectoralz.” It gets better, though. When bassist Guy Berryman joined the group, they swapped that name for “Starfish.” Fortunately, after manager/fifth member Phil Harvey and drummer/vocalist Will Champion joined the band, they settled on Coldplay — fellow UCL student Tim Crompton actually suggested it after finding it too depressing for his own band.
2. “Fix You” is sentimental in lyric and sound
You may already know that the single “Fix You” from Coldplay’s 2005 album X&Y was written for Martin’s then-wife Gwyneth Paltrow after her father, Bruce, passed away. What you may not realize, however, is that you can hear Bruce’s keyboard playing in the original recording. It was given to Gwyneth by Bruce before his death. In a 2012 interview with Daily Mail, Gwyneth’s mom, Blythe Danner, admitted, “I weep every time I hear it.”
3. They have a special clause concerning substance abuse
When the band’s star began to rise, they decided to set some ground rules in stone so they wouldn’t fall into the stereotypical rock ‘n’ roll black hole of sex, drugs and such. Accordingly, they created a clause stating that “any member of the band caught using hard drugs will be dismissed immediately.” As for soft drugs, well, it would seem there’s nothing in Coldplay’s bylaws governing those!
4. The inspiration for “Yellow” is extraordinarily ordinary
The release of the single “Yellow” launched Coldplay into worldwide stardom, so you may never expect that the title of the song came from a decidedly un-glamorous source — the Yellow Pages. Martin admitted that when he was writing the song, which appeared on their debut album Parachutes, that he landed on the title upon looking at the object nearest to him at the time: the phone book.
5. They’re incredibly generous givers
For starters, Coldplay donates 15 percent of all band profits to charity. Above and beyond that, though, they are also just incredibly kind guys. Once, at a charity event thrown by Sean Penn, Martin dropped $400k large on a Bansky art piece in the name of charity. Plus, rumor has it the guys took a $5.5 million loss on their 2011 Mylo Xyloto tour because they went all out for their fans with stage production, catering and even multimillion dollars worth of wristbands that changed color with time.
6. Martin learned to sing backwards for a song
Well, sort of. In the video for their hit single “The Scientist,” Martin appears to be singing the song in reverse. In reality, he learned the phonetic movements of the words to create the illusion that he was singing the words backwards (and correctly) the entire time. Clever!
7. The first song Coldplay ever wrote and performed was about a toiletry
I kid you not. The song, “Ode to Deodorant” was originally intended as a joke. But with lyrics like “Here’s an ode, ah, to deodorant/It’s my thing, ah/It’s my favorite hygiene/It keeps me through the day,” how could it not be a hit? Real talk: In true Coldplay fashion, it’s fantastic. I never thought I’d rock out to a song about deodorant, but I just did… so there’s that.
8. They are not for sale
Many artists jump at the chance for endorsement deals because, well, money. In that respect, Coldplay is clearly an exception to the rule. They’ve reportedly turned down numerous offers from big brands over the years, including Coca-Cola and the company that makes Gatorade — the latter of whom allegedly offered the band $9 million to use the song “Yellow” in one of their commercials.
9. Sometimes, they aren’t content to give a song just one title
In 2008, Coldplay released the track “Lost!” from their fourth album, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends. Several versions of the song exist, however. There is “Lost+” (which features Jay Z), “Lost@,” Lost?” (which includes Martin’s separate recording and piano accompaniment), “Lost-” and the official “Lost!” Fun fact? The drumbeat of the song was inspired by Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me A River,” which was drummer/songwriter Will Champion’s jam at the time.
10. They aren’t big on collaborations
Actually, they’re not even remotely into them — with one major caveat. For Mylo Xyloto, Coldplay collaborated with Rihanna to create “Princess of China.” And I think it’s safe to say Martin is a fan. “I love being in the studio with Rihanna. I wasn’t necessarily ‘with,’ I was working for her. I don’t think she even asked, I just said, ‘Please, can I try something?'” Martin said of working with the R&B/pop star. He has since said, “Rihanna was the only name on the list. It’s the only duet we’ve done and the only one we wanted to do.”