Hailed as one of the most commercially successful bands of the 21st century, Coldplay’s ascent to superstardom comes on the back of their genre-bending music, nine platinum albums, and numerous global chart-toppers. Formed in 1998, this British quartet even has seven Grammy Awards to their name with several of their video productions achieving cult pop culture status. Ahead of the band’s Asia tour, we take a look at Coldplay’s most streamed songs on Spotify for your next pre-show music binge.
Having met in their freshman year at University College London, it was vocalist Chris Martin and guitarist Johnny Buckman who started the band in 1996, originally naming themselves Starfish. Their first extended play, Parachute, was released two years later. Today, Coldplay consists of Martin, Buckman, bassist Guy Berryman, drummer Will Champion and creative director Phil Harvey. Their breakthrough single, ‘Yellow’, continues to be one of their most iconic tracks, raking in a staggering 1.7 billion streams on Spotify.
How did Coldplay become so popular?
Apart from their A-list collaborations with global powerhouses like The Chainsmokers, Rihanna, BTS, and several others, Coldplay’s productions have always resonated with music lovers as a result of their ever-evolving melodies. Think of the dance electronic track, ‘A Sky Full Of Stars’, the synth-pop song, ‘My Universe’, or the contemporary R&B hit, ‘Paradise’. The band’s ability to transform their music to the likes of the current generation, coupled with their many lucrative tours and affordable ticket pricing, has resulted in Coldplay’s emergence as an indomitable force within the music industry.
For their most streamed tracks, ‘Something Just Like This’ finds itself on the top spot, followed by ‘Yellow’, ‘The Scientist’ and ‘Viva La Vida’.
What are Coldplay’s most streamed songs on Spotify?
1. Something Just Like This
Year of release: 2017
Total streams on Spotify: 2,174, 465, 857
About the song: Created by American electronic music duo The Chainsmokers in collaboration with the British rock band, this song debuted at number 56 on the Billboard Hot 100 and soared to number five in its second week. The song was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards in 2018. The lyric video which was released simultaneously received over 2.1 billion views on YouTube and is one of the 70 most viewed videos on the platform. It also takes the first spot on the list of Coldplay’s most streamed songs.
Year of release: 2000
Total streams on Spotify: 1,707, 870, 152
About the song: On The Howard Stern Show in November 2011, Chris Martin explained that he was impersonating Neil Young when he came across the first chord of the song, which to his surprise stuck with him for a bit. He further explained that the word “yellow” had absolutely no relation to the song. When composing the track, he was looking around him, only to discover the yellow pages lying around. As the night progressed and the song took shape, “yellow” became the word of choice, and the rest is history!
The minimalist video was filmed in Dorset, England, featuring only Martin as he walks along the beach. Originally, it had been intended for the whole band to appear in the video. Unfortunately, drummer Will Champion’s mother’s funeral was being held on the day of filming, so it was decided that only Martin would appear in the video. The song went on to be nominated at the 2002 Grammy Awards for Best Rock Song and Best Rock Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal.
3. The Scientist
Year of release: 2002
Total streams on Spotify: 1, 584, 610, 875
About the song: A part of Coldplay’s second album, A Rush Of Blood To The Head, this piano ballad features lyrics conveying the story of a man’s desire to love and apologise to his loved one. During a track-by-track reveal on the band’s e-magazine back in the day, Martin enlightened fans with an interesting insight about the lyrics. “That’s just about girls. It’s weird that whatever else is on your mind, whether it’s the downfall of global economics or terrible environmental troubles, the thing that always gets you most is when you fancy someone,” he added.
It was the accompanying video that created waves. A reverse narrative that employed reverse motion graphics was used. In order for Martin to appear to sing the correct lyrics, he had to learn the entire song backward, which he did so in about a month. Directed by Jamie Thraves, the video was filmed at various locations, including London and the Bourne Woods in Surrey. In 2003, ‘The Scientist’ won three MTV Video Music Awards in the categories: Best Group Video, Best Direction, and Breakthrough Video. It was also nominated at the 2004 Grammy Awards for Best Short Form Music Video.
4. Viva La Vida
Year of release: 2008
Total streams on Spotify: 1, 547, 348, 636
About the song: The song’s Spanish title is taken from a 20th-century painting by Frida Kahlo. In an interview with The Rolling Stones in 2008, the lead vocalist revealed that the band was inspired by Kahlo’s ferocity. “She went through a lot of pain, of course, and then she started a big painting in her house that said ‘Viva la Vida’, I just loved the boldness of it,” Martin added.
When asked about the song, bass guitarist Guy Berryman told Q magazine: “It’s a story about a king who’s lost his kingdom, and all the album’s artwork is based on the idea of revolutionaries and guerrillas. There’s this slightly anti-authoritarian viewpoint that’s crept into some of the lyrics and it’s some of the pay-off between being surrounded by governments on one side, but also we’re human beings with emotions and we’re all going to die and the stupidity of what we have to put up with every day. Hence the album title.”
‘Viva la Vida’ was nominated for Record of the Year, and won Song of the Year, and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or a Group at the 2009 Grammy Awards.
5. Fix You
Year of release: 2005
Total streams on Spotify: 1, 209, 706, 189
About the song: Written by all four members of the band for their third studio album, X&Y, the song was started by Martin to comfort his then-wife, actress Gwyneth Paltrow, whom he met in late 2002, just months after the demise of her father, Bruce Paltrow. In an interview with X FM, he added, “It’s supposed to be a church organ but it isn’t. In fact, it’s a keyboard that my father-in-law gave to Gwyneth my wife, and it sat in the house for ages and then I turned it on one day and it had these amazing sounds on it.”
In September 2021, the song was ranked number 392 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the ‘500 Greatest Songs of All Time‘.
6. Hymn For The Weekend
Year of release: 2016
Total streams on Spotify: 1, 150, 512, 461
About the song: According to Berryman, Martin originally wanted the track to be a party song with the lyrics “drinks on me, drinks on me”, but his bandmates didn’t think it would sit well with their fans. His longtime friend and icon, Beyoncé, was asked to chime in, and she accepted the request.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Martin recollected, “It’s such a shame that Coldplay could never have one of those late-night club songs, like “Turn Down for What”. I thought I’d like to have a song called ‘Drinks on Me’ where you sit on the side of a club and buy everyone drinks because you’re so f-king cool.”
The music video was filmed in parts of India in 2015 and featured Worli Village, Fort Vasai, and Maratha Mandir in Mumbai. It also showcased the festival of Holi and includes a cameo by Bollywood star, Sonam Kapoor.
7. A Sky Full Of Stars
Year of release: 2014
Total streams on Spotify: 1, 141, 598, 828
About the song: The band co-wrote and co-produced the song with Avicii. The song marked the band’s first dance track, with EDM and house influences. It was nominated for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance at the 57th Grammy Awards.
In terms of pop culture significance, ‘A Sky Full Of Stars’ was the song of choice for the first introduction of the Apple Watch at Apple’s 2014 unveiling event back in 2014. In terms of Coldplay’s most streamed songs, this 2014 release stands at 7th position.
8. My Universe
Year of release: 2021
Total streams on Spotify: 1, 037, 799, 591
About the song: ‘My Universe’ is a synth-pop track, co-written by all four members of Coldplay, as well as BTS members J-Hope, RM, and Suga, as well as Bill Rahko, Oscar Holter, and Max Martin. The song debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the United States with 11.5 million streams and was nominated at the 2023 Grammy Awards for Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.
The futuristic video is directed by Dave Mayers and Coldplay’s parts were filmed at an empty, abandoned municipal swimming pool complex in Rubí, Barcelona. BTS, however, shot their portions in front of a green screen in Seoul, Korea.
Year of release: 2011
Total streams on Spotify: 1, 033, 486, 976
About the song: In a sit-down interview with BBC Radio’s David Lowe, the 46-year-old singer revealed that the producers of the hit reality show, The X Factor, had initially approached him to compose a winner’s song back in 2010. ‘Paradise’ was conceived as a result of that. However, when Will heard the track, he asked the vocalist to include it in their then-upcoming album, Mylo Xyloto.
Today, the song stands at the ninth position on Coldplay’s most streamed songs on Spotify. Paradise won the award for Best Rock Video at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards and was also nominated for a Grammy Award, in the category Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.
Year of release: 2000
Total streams on Spotify: 601, 359, 129
About the song: A part of their debut album Parachutes, ‘Sparks’, is one of the band’s lesser performed songs of the lot. One of the few times that they did this was at the Amman Citadel in Jordan in 2019 after people voted for iy in an online poll.
Speaking to BBC Radio 2‘s Jo Whiley on the 20th anniversary of Parachutes in 2020, Buckland spoke about the fond memories of recording the song. “It was the one song we basically got in two takes or something, and we just played it all together in a room, and we didn’t have any arguments about it,” he added. “Just played it, and everybody went, ‘Oh yeah, there we go, done.”
Which of Coldplay’s most streamed songs is on your playlist?
(Main and featured image: Christopher Polk/Getty Images, Coldplay )
This story first appeared here.