With hindsight, it’s hard to overstate the impact of Coldplay's first full-length album Parachutes just over two decades ago. The release garnered almost immediate global success and practically ushered in a new era of alternative rock music.

Moving away from grunge and Brit Pop guitar-focused bands, Coldplay opened the doors to a more subtle, soft rock sound of the new millenium, accompanied by piano, and complete with Chris Martin’s heart-piercing vocals on tracks like “Yellow” and later “The Scientist.” 

The enduring success of the band over the years since has always been down to their innovation, moving through heavier rock, to incorporating EDM and hip hop influences on later albums like 2011’s Mylo Xyloto which also featured a duet with Rihanna.

The band has been able to be experimental with their sound and incorporate modern signifiers (their upcoming album out this October has several track names which are just emojis) while still maintaining their position as a reliably epic stadium act with crowd-pleasing singles like “Viva La Vida” and emotional singalongs like “Fix You” in their repertoire.

From the start of their musical success to now Coldplay has never shied away from using their platform to go beyond music too — lending their support and talent to myriad social and political causes.

From joining Oxfam’s Make Trade Fair campaign in 2002, to opting not to tour in 2019 until they could figure out how to do so in a carbon neutral way, they’ve kept their ideals at the heart of decision-making. Back in 2003, Martin wrote of their motive to push for fair trade: “If a few people were slightly less greedy, the people at the bottom would have an awful lot more.”

Coldplay has performed at a number of benefit concerts too, including Hope for Haiti after the devastating 2010 earthquake and One Love Manchester, organized in 2017 in the wake of the Manchester bombings in the UK, and even writing a song for Texas hurricane victims in 2017 — they’ve always stood up for people and places that need support.

It comes as no surprise then that Coldplay has frequently shown support for, and collaborated with, Global Citizen — regularly taking part in initiatives to drive action and make a difference in the fight to end extreme poverty all over the world, as well as entertaining crowds at Global Citizen’s concerts. Vocalist Martin has also been a curator for Global Citizen’s international festivals, helping to rally support from some of the world’s leading artists in the mission to achieve the UN’s Global Goals to end extreme poverty.

Over the years, Coldplay has been part of so many memorable Global Citizen moments. They performed at Global Citizen Festivals in New York in 2015, in Mumbai in 2016, and in Hamburg in 2017 — the latter including an awesome duet on stage with Shakira. Another stunning collaboration took place at Global Citizen Prize, in December 2019 in London, where Chris Martin took to the stage with Stormzy to perform the grime artist’s hit “Crown.”

The band really stepped up during the COVID-19 crisis too. Famously, Martin’s impromptu decision to perform a live concert from home over Instagram to encourage people to be safe and stay at home during the start of the pandemic morphed into the regular “Together at Home”Instagram concert series, launched in partnership with Global Citizen and the World Health Organization.

From then on, dozens of new artists joined in and Global Citizen started hosting and promoting the shows to help amplify important health and safety messaging, bring people together around the world, and take action to call for more funding for the WHO and its COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund.

Central to those at-home performances was the message that everyone needed to pull together to do their bit to end the pandemic and support frontline workers. It’s a message that later became key to One World: Together At Home, an 8-hour TV and digital broadcast special in April 2020. A total of $127.9 million was raised by the show to support the WHO’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, as well as local and regional responders.

Later on in June 2020, Coldplay also got involved in Global Citizen and the European Commission’s Global Goal: Unite for Our Future campaign and concert, calling for equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments for all. As well as performing in the globally televised and digitally streamed special, the band also made a personal appeal on Twitter to Sweden’s Prime Minister Stefan Löfven to back the campaign, getting a swift positive response.

Now, as live music starts to make a return, the band will be back to where they are used to being: in the spotlight in front of a huge (vaccinated, tested, and masked) crowd, by taking to the stage in Central Park, New York, on Sept. 25 for Global Citizen Live.

The 24-hour global broadcast of live events and programming from all around the world is part of a drive for worldwide action to defend the planet from the climate crisis, defeat poverty, and push for vaccine equity. You can find out more about Global Citizen Live globally here, and head here to find out more about the event in New York City here. For information about COVID-19 protocols and how we’re keeping people safe, click here.

We can’t wait to be back in NYC’s Central Park with our favorite bands and artists, and a crowd of Global Citizens — and we’re sure ever-evolving Coldplay will bring their trademark blend of music and activism to the once-in-a-generation show. Head here to join Coldplay in taking action to help stop the climate crisis.

You can find out all about Global Citizen Live events and the global broadcast, as well as how you can get involved to support the campaign to defend the planet and defeat poverty here.

You can join the Global Citizen Live campaign to defeat poverty and defend the planet by taking action here, and become part of a movement powered by citizens around the world who are taking action together with governments, corporations, and philanthropists to make change.

Global Citizen Life

Demand Equity

Coldplay: A Superstar Rock Band That Never Let Go of Their Ideals

By Helen Lock