Writer(s): Guy Berryman, Jon Buckland, Will Champion, Chris Martin (see lyrics here)
Released: June 26, 2000
First Charted: July 8, 2000
Peak: 48 US, 20 RR, 11 A40, 2 AA, 6 MR, 4 UK, 5 AU (Click for codes to singles charts.)
Sales (in millions): 2.0 US, 1.38 UK, 3.45 world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.2 radio, 652.19 video, 967.89 streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
This was the American market’s introduction to Coldplay and lead singer Chris “Martin’s unique dreaminess.” RS’09 The band “translated Radiohead’s paranoid soundscapes into something that was palatable to the mass audience.” TC Rolling Stone said, “Has any band had a better line for their first single than ‘Look at the stars, see how they shine for you’?” RS’09
The song tells a familiar tale of unrequited love, although Martin has said it could be brotherly love and not necessarily romantic devotion. SF He said, “That’s just about somebody throwing themselves in front of a car for somebody else…I’d do anything for them and they’d do anything for me.” TC While a simple song, it is elevated by the “romantic, spiraling boy-wail” TB of Martin’s “killer falsetto in the bridge” TB and the unusual move of closing with the same chords as played throughout, but switching them from major to minor. TB
He got the inspiration for this song from the yellow pages phone book. AB’00 He said, “It was simply because that word sounded nice, it just seemed to fit, no other reason. None of the other colors would have sounded right really!’” SF
In addition, a bare-bones emphasis on “the song’s sheer quality ensured classic status for the video.” TB Only Martin was featured in the video as his Coldplay cohorts attended the funeral of mother of Will Champion, the band’s drummer. Since it was shot at a fast shutter speed to achieve a slow motion effect, Martin had to lip-sync to the song played at twice its normal speed. SF
Martin used to change the song’s melody while performing it, but R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe told him, “’Stop doing that. People want to hear the songs the way they know them.’” SF
First posted 7/31/2012; last updated 10/26/2021.