Coldplay are an English alternative rock band formed in 1996 by lead vocalist Chris Martin and lead guitarist Jonny Buckland at University College London. After forming Pectoralz, 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. Coldplay has received 43 awards from 117 nominations. They received six awards from fourteen nominations from the Brit Awards—winning Best British Group three times. They have won seven Grammy Awards from twenty nominations. 2009 was their most successful year having received seven nominations at the 51st Grammy Awards—more than they had done previously—of which they won three.
Coldplay's early material was compared to acts such as Radiohead, U2, A-ha, and Travis. They achieved worldwide fame with the release of the single "Yellow" in 2000, followed by their debut album released in the same year, Parachutes, which was nominated for the Mercury Prize. The band's second album, A Rush of Blood to the Head (2002), won multiple awards, including NME's Album of the Year. Their next release, X&Y, received a slightly less enthusiastic yet still generally positive reception upon its release in 2005. 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 favourable reviews, earning several Grammy nominations and wins. Coldplay have sold over 50 million records worldwide.
Since the release of Parachutes, Coldplay have drawn influence from other sources, including Echo & the Bunnymen,Kate Bush, George Harrison and Muse on A Rush of Blood to the Head, Johnny Cash and Kraftwerk for X&Y and Blur, Arcade Fire and My Bloody Valentine on Viva la Vida.
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, and the Teenage Cancer Trust.