Top 10 Coldplay Songs of All Time

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Coldplay had their first hit songs in 2000 and rose throughout the decade to become one of the world's most beloved pop-rock bands. Their hits could be heard all over the world and at a wide variety of events. These are 10 of the best Coldplay songs.

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"Paradise" (2011)

Coldplay - "Paradise"

Parlophone Records

"Paradise" was the second single released from Coldplay's album Mylo Xyloto. It earned the group a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. Chris Martin first started writing "Paradise" when approached to write a winner's single for the competition show Instead, Coldplay kept it for themselves. They did end up performing the song live on the X Factor finale show. They also performed it live on the US television show Saturday Night Live. "Paradise" became a top 5 hit in the US on the alternative, rock, and adult pop charts. It also became a dance hit peaking at #7 and broke into the adult contemporary radio chart. "Paradise" went all the way to #1 on the UK pop singles chart.

The accompanying music video features lead vocalist Chris Martin dressed as an elephant. Shot on location in London and South Africa, it earned a Best Rock Video honor from the MTV Video Music Awards. The band is also shown performing in elephant costumes at FNB Stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa. The music video was directed by long-term Coldplay collaborator Mat Whitecross after a clip filmed with Hype Williams was discarded.

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"Speed Of Sound" (2005)

Coldplay - "Speed Of Sound"

Parlophone Records

Chris Martin of Coldplay has said that "Speed Of Sound" was inspired by the band listening to music by Kate Bush and his own daughter Apple. The drumbeat was inspired by Kate Bush's song "Running Up That Hill." "Speed Of Sound" was released as the lead single for the album X and Y. It reached the top 10 on the US pop singles chart becoming the band's biggest hit single to that point. It also reached the top 10 at adult pop and alternative radio. With its top 10 debut on the Billboard Hot 100, Coldplay were the first British group to accomplish that feat since the Spice Girls nine years earlier with "Say You'll Be There." "Speed Of Sound" was the group's biggest chart success in the US until "Viva La Vida" hit #1 three years later.

In recent years Chris Martin has said that he dislikes "Speed Of Sound" because the band never got it right when recording it. That makes him reluctant to perform the song live. Others were happier with it. "Speed Of Sound" earned two Grammy Award nominations including for Best Rock Song and won a Brit Award for Best British Single. The MTV Europe Awards also named "Speed Of Sound" Best Song.

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"Hymn For the Weekend" (2016)

Coldplay Hymn for the Weekend

Atlantic Records

Featuring uncredited additional vocals by Beyonce, "Hymn For the Weekend" was released as the second single from the album A Head Full of Dreams. This Coldplay song was originally intended to be a more simple party anthem, but it evolved into exploring what happens when an angelic person enters your life. "Hymn For the Weekend" accomplished the unusual feat of reaching the top 10 on both the rock and dance charts. It also reached the top 10 at adult pop radio and top 20 on the mainstream pop radio chart.

The accompanying music video was directed by Ben Mor and filmed on location in multiple cities in India. The clip was inspired by the Hindu spring festival Holi which is also known as the festival of colours. Beyonce and Indian actress Sonam Kapoor make appearances in the music video.

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"Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall" (2011)

Coldplay - "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall"

Capitol Records

Coldplay released "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall" to introduce their album Mylo Xyloto. It received two Grammy Award nominations for Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song. The song was written around elements of the 1976 single "I Go To Rio" by Peter Allen. Coldplay clarified for fans and the media that Chris Martin was inspired to write "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall" after he heard chords in a nightclub scene in the Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu directed film Biutiful. The chords are based on the song "I Go To Rio." "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall" was a top 10 alternative, rock, and adult pop radio hit in the US.

The artwork for the single and the music video use graffiti style visuals extensively. Mat Whitecross directed the video which used a stop-motion approach. The locations used were in London, but the clip also opens with a sunrise over the downtown Los Angeles skyline.

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"The Scientist" (2002)

Coldplay - "The Scientist"

Capitol Records

"The Scientist" is a song built around regret. It was released as the second single from the album A Rush Of Blood To the Head in the UK and the third in the US. The desire to go "back to the start" echoes throughout the song. The innovative accompanying music video runs in reverse depicting the events leading up to a tragic accident. Chris Martin had to learn to sing the lyrics of the song backward so that he could look like he was singing the lyrics correctly in the reversed film. Experimental British filmmaker Jamie Thraves directed the clip. The music video won three honors from the MTV Video Music Awards including Best Group Video and Best Direction. It also earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Short Form Music Video. 

Coldplay hit the top 10 in the UK and Canada with "The Scientist" while reaching the top 20 on the US alternative radio chart. Rolling Stone named "The Scientist" to its list of the top 100 songs of the decade.

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"A Sky Full of Stars" (2014)

Coldplay - Sky Full Of Stars

Atlantic Records

Coldplay joined forces with star dance music producer and artist Avicii as well as producer Paul Epworth, known for his work with Adele and Florence and the Machine to create "A Sky Full of Stars." The result is an expansive, danceable track released in advance of the group's sixth studio album Ghost Stories. It became Coldplay's third top 10 pop hit single in the US and first in six years. The chart success crossed musical genres hitting #1 on both rock and dance charts while reaching the top 10 at adult pop radio. "Sky Full Of Stars" earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Pop Duo or Group Performance. 

"A Sky Full of Stars" is more upbeat in sound than most of the rest of the songs on Ghost Stories. Chris Martin has said the album is about the concepts of exploring the impact of past actions on the future and personal capacity for unconditional love. Chris Martin's breakup with his wife Gwyneth Paltrow is also seen as a significant influence on the album.

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"Fix You" (2005)

Coldplay - "Fix You"

Parlophone Records

Coldplay's Chris Martin says the inspiration for "Fix You" began with the sound from a keyboard left behind after his father-in-law Bruce Paltrow died. Chris Martin says he still weeps every time he hears it. Coldplay bass player Guy Berryman also says that reggae legend Jimmy Cliff's "Many Rivers To Cross" inspired "Fix You." The song slowly builds through lyrics aiming to help someone overcome adversity. "Fix You" was a top 5 pop hit in the UK and reached the top 20 of the US alternative chart. It also made progress on the adult pop radio chart climbing to #24. Coldplay performed "Fix You" live at the Steve Jobs memorial at Apple computer headquarters. 

Coldplay performed "Fix You" live on Saturday Night Live as well as at the Live 8 event in the summer of 2005. "Fix You" earned an Ivor Novello award nomination in the UK for Best Song Musically and Lyrically.

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"Yellow" (2000)

Coldplay - "Yellow"

Parlophone Records

This was the breakthrough hit single for Coldplay. Reportedly the title "Yellow" came up somewhat randomly to title the song. Multiple stories exist to explain how the band decided on "Yellow." Chris Martin told Howard Stern that the word means nothing at all, and through the years he made up stories about it to encourage an interviewer to move on to the next question. Once "Yellow" was settled on, the rest of the lyrics were then built around the title. Reportedly the melody line for "Yellow" came to Chris Martin while the band Coldplay were outdoors looking at stars in the sky. 

"Yellow" hit #4 in the UK and then broke into the top 10 of the alternative radio chart in the US. It also reached #11 at adult pop radio. "Yellow" earned two Grammy Award nominations including for Best Rock Song. The minimalist music video was directed by James Frost and Alex of The Artists Company. The clip is a continuous slow-motion shot of Chris Martin singing "Yellow" as he walks along a beach in England.

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"Clocks" (2003)

Coldplay - "Clocks"

Parlophone Records

"Clocks" is built around one of the most beautiful pop piano riffs of all time. Coldplay put the song together in the very late stages of recording the album A Rush Of Blood To the Head. The urgent lyrical theme fits the speed with which the band recorded the song. "Clocks" won a Grammy Award for Record of the Year. It was used in a wide variety of commercials, movies, and TV shows. "Clocks" became very familiar to US music fans even though it only reached #29 on the Billboard Hot 100. It reached the top 10 at both alternative and adult pop radio. The album A Rush of Blood To the Head became Coldplay's first top 10 hit album in the US climbing to #5 on the chart.

Chris Martin has explained that "Clocks" was inspired by the British rock band Muse. "Clocks" was issued as the third single from A Rush of Blood To the Head in the UK and the second in the US. 

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"Viva La Vida" (2008)

Coldplay - Viva La Vida

EMI Records

Coldplay's "Viva La Vida" is a grand songwriting and recording achievement. The lyrics center on the contemplation of being swept from a position of power and esteem and are filled with historical and religious references. The title is taken from a painting by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo. An English translation of the title is "Live the Life." Musically, the song soars along on a percussive beat overlaid with a gorgeous string arrangement. "Viva La Vida" won the Grammy Award for Song of the Year and was nominated for Record of the Year. It went to #1 on pop singles charts in the US and the UK. It also reached the top at alternative, adult pop, and adult contemporary radio. Many publications listed "Viva La Vida" as one of the top 10 songs of the year. 

Two music videos were shot for "Viva La Vida" by two of the world's most accomplished music video directors. Hype Williams, known for his work with Kanye West among others, shot the official clip. It shows Coldplay performing in front of a blurry, warped image of the Eugene Delacroix painting Liberty Leading the People which forms the album cover art for Viva La Vida. The alternate video was directed by Anton Corbijn, known for his innovative work with Depeche Mode. It is a takeoff on his celebrated "Enjoy the Silence" clip. Chris Martin appears as the king in the lyrics of "Viva La Vida" carrying the Delacroix painting with him.