A Rush Of Blood To The Head, Coldplay's second studio album is 10 years old today! (Sunday). First released on 26th August, 2002 through the label Parlophone in the UK, and a day later on 27th August in the US through Capitol Records, it topped the UK Album Charts upon its first week of release, and became the eighth biggest-selling album in the 21st century in the UK. In the US, it has since been certified four times platinum by the RIAA with sales of over 4,822,000 copies as of March 2012.
A Rush Of Blood To The Head (AROBTTH) won Coldplay the 2003 Grammy for Best Alternative Album for the second time in a row, successive to their previous win in the same category for Parachutes, and the 2004 Grammy for Record of the Year for the song 'Clocks' - a song that almost didn't make the tracklisting until a late intervention by fifth member, Phil Harvey. In 2012, AROBTTH was ranked number 466 on Rolling Stone's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The album cover [pictured] for A Rush of Blood to the Head was designed by photographer Sølve Sundsbø, using a three-dimensional scanning machine. In 2010, the cover was among the ten chosen by the Royal Mail for a set of "Classic Album Cover" postage stamps issued.
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of AROBTTH, join us at the messageboard to look back at some of the songs that made the album so successful, and read Coldplayers' comments on what the album means to them. Also, read on below/after the jump for an interview with the band that was published shortly after the album's release...
Read also: A Rush Of Blood To The Head - Track By Track
Read also: A Rush Of Blood To The Head: Album Reviews
Is it right that 'In My Place' is the oldest song on the new album?
(Chris) In My Place is the oldest pivotal song. Just when we were finishing our last record, PARACHUTES, we were in Liverpool in this little room that had been great on the last record. And the record had basically been finished so we were packing up, ready to go. And the album was coming out in about a week, so it was fine-line timing. And I was just sat at this organ that my friend had lent me, this pump organ that you have to sit and peddle which was really designed for sea shanties and drunken sailors, and I wasn't either. So I suggested we tried a sea shanty and these chords just came out. It was at a time when we were too late for the last record and we suddenly discovered things like Jimmy Cliff and even Whiter Shade Of Pale (I'm not saying that this is quite as good as that!). So that tune we've pretty well had since the end of the last record but it came too late to be included. So, it's become the lynch-pin of this new record around which everything else has been written.
The bass line on God Put A Smile Upon Your Face is worth talking about. How did it happen?
(Chris) When we came to record it in the studio, we struggled because there was something not quite right about it. I wasn't happy about where we'd left it and where we were happy to leave it. We couldn't put a finger on what it was so it was really a nice day when I was trying to record bass at the time, and me and Chris were sitting down trying to brainstorm it to find what was wrong. And so I just started to do some bass lines and between the two of us we came up with this kind of groove which stays on the same note as opposed to changing. It gave a lot of bounce to the song and made it roll along in a much more fluid way; it was a bit mechanical beforehand. And it's just interesting that something small like that can really change the whole vibe of a song. And it really nice because from then on it became one of our favourite tracks and it almost did not get on the record. It's now one of our favourite tracks.
How does the track, The Scientist, fit in?
(Chris) When me and John went up to Liverpool on the train in November, and we were listening to what we had on the record (we had eight rough done) and we had the feeling that it was alright. And then I was sitting at this battered old piano that was completely out of tune and I'd just heard All Things Must Pass by George Harrison and heard this song called Isn't It Pity with this circular chord sequence. And this is all very anal but I felt I would like a chord sequence that went around and around, and where you don't know where it begins or ends. And this chord sequence just arrived and I thought it was really lovely. And then the whole song just came out and so we recorded it then and there, and the piano and vocal was from the day it was written. That's it! And the best moment of the entire record for me was when came back three weeks later when we came back to this song, I just heard through a wall this riff and that's what he does at the end, and that's my favourite bit on the record. That was a great moment because it was brilliant.
I believe the song Clocks was the last to make it onto the album?
(Chris) We were just about to hand the record in but it was sounding rubbish but we thought we had to do it because we wanted to release it then. Some of our record company guys came in and basically everyone decided that we had to put the record back to take the pressure off and Phil, our sort of figurehead or fifth member, said 'listen, you should record that song Clocks' cos I was saying that we should save this one which was a real mistake to make because I might be shot tomorrow. And so, quite rightly, he said 'put that song on because it's good'. That song just arrived and I don't know where that came from! But I do know where the good bit came from! I was showing it to Jonny - and he picked up his guitar (a sure sign that he likes a song) and played these brilliant chords, and then Guy came in and added a bass line and then it sparked something else. It was like a chemical reaction process. That was mega and great fun. But we finished it and we thought 'that's got to go on'.
There's a very interesting sound at the start of Daylight. What's that?
(Chris) The instrument at the start of the track is a twelve-string guitar with a slide (like George Harrison) and lots of strings. What is amazing is what you can't hear; there's a kind of drone because it's very hard to play. So there's these amazing little noises on it and we still don't know why it was in there. I think we've been quite lucky that we've reocrded a lot of stuff down as soon as it's been written becaue you spend most of your life trying to recreate the first moments that you wrote. With Daylight we were all sat in a room and there was the piano track and the singing going and we were all playing over the top of it, and we just recorded all of it with Mark who does all the computer stuff with us. And then just chopped bits of it and there's quite a lot of samples or loops in it.
Is Green Eyes the most personal song on the album?
(Chris) Is that the most personal song on the album? I don't know. When Pete Waterman sent it to us we just thought what a great song, what a great track. Just add a few sleigh bells on it and we've got a Christmas number one. Jonny said no and we should do it acoustically like a Johnny Cash song. And we can pretend we wrote it about a girl that we met in America. It's got the best guitar licks on it, the only guitar licks on it!
Next track is Warning Sign. Is everybody in agreement about this song?
(Chris) Warning Sign is an old song and it's the only song I didn't want to put on the record. But everyone else did and I got out-voted. The reason I don't like the song is that it makes me feel sorry for the singer and I know it was written at a time when I was being a total knob. And that's the great joy of music in that one can present oneself as being some sort of romantic hero whereas in fact in real life that was in one of my periods of being a dickhead.
Any story behind the track A Whisper?
(Chris) The Bunneymen were a big influence on a couple of songs on there. We started to get into them and we started to see a lot of Ian in Liverpool. He said to me the reason why the song A Whisper is on there is because he asked 'Chris have you got a 3/4 song on there?' And I thought shit, we haven't! So we quickly wrote A Whisper.
Why is A Rush Of Blood To The Head the CD title track?
(Chris) I thought, I think we all thought it just seemed to fit with everything. It seemed to pull everything together. It's about impulsiveness, it's about doing things now.
Amsterdam seems a perfect closer track to the album?
(Chris) You know, certain songs when you're recording get much more attention than others. Because they're much more troublesome or they're more exciting because they're new or whatever. Amsterdam and Green Eyes just quietly have gone on the record. We didn't spend much time on them. That's pretty much live and it was just done and we did it very quickly and just left it for four months. And then came back and mixed it. That was one of the songs from the first session that made it through. And it was really quick and I think it's a nice song. It's the only song I can think of where the verse and the chorus were over a thousand miles apart. I think the end was written in Iceland. Iceland is the perfect place to write music I think.
How do you write songs?
(Guy) Chris will have a basic song structure, a melody on a piano or guitar. And then we'll sit down (either one of us or two of us or all of us) and just start playing it together writing riffs and drum beats etc. More things will get added and then we'll start to put it down. At the studio especially, you can start to layer things up quite quickly and try different sounds, and things evolve over a period of a few weeks really.
What's different technically about the latest album compared with Parachutes?
(Guy) We've had the same equipment and technology on both albums, so it hasn't changed. It's just that we've learned how to use them better and a lot of things came from sampled and synth sounds which were knocking around. And our basic recording procedure was improved so we can can the best out of our individual performances. It all helps in the end product. So nothing changed technology wise but we've got better.
What's Ken Nelson's role in the making of a Coldplay album?
(Guy) Ken's our sounding board as well as being a great engineer and has very good musical ears. He's someone we trust and depend upon to make the right decisions.
What's your favourite track on the new album?
(Guy) Every single one of them was a challenge in itself to get to a stage when we were all happy with. Sometimes it's hard to forget those bad moments during the recording. But I think we're happy with all the songs and if we thought there were any weak songs, they wouldn't be on there. There are a lot of songs that didn't go on there - maybe six or seven which we had planned originally to go on.
There seems a lot of musical diversity on the new CD. Would you agree?
(Guy) Well, there is quite a lot of diversity in the sense that there are some slow, mellow tracks and some really heavy (or heavy for us) bigger songs which we felt it was important to do. We kind of maintained this philosophy for the last album but I think the difference with this new album are more extreme. Like The Scientist which is a slow piano song and A Whisper which is a heavier soundscape. We still want to make a record that you can listen to from beginning to end without being bored and without being too long which I think we've done. We could have put on another four or five songs but I don't think that works. 18 songs, unlike Moby, I think is too much for us.
And Parr Street (in Liverpool), where most of Parachutes was recorded, must have good memories for you?
(Guy) We've got good memories of Liverpool obviously from the last record. It was kind of different with these recording sessions because we just wouldn't let ourselves get tired unlike the last album. There was much more gusto with this when every day we'd get up and get on with it and wouldn't stop until every single facet and detail was right. With this recording, weeks after finishing I still haven't accepted the fact that it's finished because it took 8 months of solid recording. The last album took 9 months but only 6 weeks recording during that time. On this album we've done almost eight times as much work.
Having finished it, how do you feel about it right now?
(Will) I dunno. I'll have about six or seven listens to it but that's about it.I think it's better than Parachutes. (Chris) This is probably not the place to say it but I can never listen to anything we do once it's finished because there's always something that isn't really finished. But it's done now. We were in the mastering studio in New York and you just flick through the tracks, one by one by one, really quickly and it sounds like another album by another band of just eleven songs. And yet to us it's weeks, months, years of work with songs written two years or two weeks ago. All the arguments, all the changing and all the songs that didn't make, and it's just another album. I'm not sure we could have done any better.
So, looks like the next year or two will be tied up with touring the album?
(Guy) It's looking like a couple of years really. But hopefully in the time we do travel we'll see more places. South America that I've always wanted to go to and I'm hoping it will take us there for a few weeks. There's going to be a lot of hard work that goes into production of the new live touring shows. But we'll just have new experiences and it's exciting for us because at the moment America is looking pretty good and we're getting a lot of support out there which hasn't happened to a British band for a while (so people keep saying). So that's something we want to grab hold of and just see for interest's sake if not for anything else just how far we can get there. In America you have to be prepared to put in the hard work becuase it's a big country with lots of places to play and so you have to do a lot of touring. It's quite hard but it's a good place and we'll be spending a lot of time there next year.
Was this album easier to write, lyrically, than Parachutes?
(Chris) No, no because lyrically I didn't feel I didn't think I was going anywhere until my uncle took me aside one day and said, "Son, you might be rich and famous but your lyrics are awful" And I said, 'what do you mean uncle, everyone loves Yellow?'. He replied "Yes, but it doesn't mean anything" And so he kicked me into shape on lyrics, like my friend Tim. And I really got into words and I got a laptop computer so when I was touring in Amercia and stuff, just flying around, I was typing inall these new songs and for the first time ever I was typing in lyrics as well. It helped me remember things which was really cool.
Looking forward to getting out and playing the new songs live?
(Chris) Yes, because there's so much scope for dance into this stuff. One of the main things for the making of this record was the Kylie video Can't Get You Out Of My Head which was released at the time we just starting recording. And the moves in that video are so great that I reckon that left something in the head about the album having a few songs that will swing. And if you look very closely at the video for In My Place there's a move that's nicked off Kylie.
Album cover for Coldplay's second album, A Rush Of Blood To The Head (2002)
Don't forget to check out your tour discussion thread if you are getting Coldplay tickets or just getting excited for the European & North American 2012 shows and other forthcoming appearances:
8 Los Angeles, CA @ Club Nokia (iHeartRadio) [discussion]
9 Los Angeles, CA @ Jimmy Kimmel Live [discussion]
10 Los Angeles, CA @ GRAMMY Week MusiCares Person of the Year tribute [discussion]
12 Los Angeles, CA @ 54th Grammy Awards, Staples Center [discussion]
16 Sydney, Australia @ 2DayFM, Mobile Live Set (intimate show) [discussion] [CANCELLED]
17 Sydney, Australia @ Sunrise (intimate show) [discussion] [CANCELLED]
21 London @ Brit Awards 2012, O2 Arena [discussion]
2 New York, NY @ Good Morning America [discussion]
4 New York, NY @ The Secret Policeman's Ball, Radio City Music Hall (Amnesty International) [discussion]
17 Edmonton, AB @ Rexall Place [discussion]
18 Calgary, AB @ Scotiabank Saddledome [discussion]
20 Vancouver, BC @ Rogers Arena [discussion]
21 Vancouver, BC @ Rogers Arena [discussion]
24 Portland, OR @ Rose Garden Arena [discussion]
25 Seattle, WA @ KeyArena [discussion]
27 San Jose, CA @ HP Pavilion At San Jose [discussion]
28 San Jose, CA @ HP Pavilion At San Jose [discussion]
1 Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl [discussion]
2 Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl [discussion]
3 Los Angeles, CA @ American Idol show [discussion] [NEW!]
4 Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl [discussion]
5 Los Angeles, CA @ KROQ's Weenie Roast y Fiesta [discussion] [NEW!]
18 Porto, Portugal @ Dragao Stadium [discussion]
20 Madrid, Spain @ Estadio Vicente Calderón [discussion]
22 Nice, France @ Stade Charles Herman / Nikaia [discussion]
24 Turin, Italy @ Olympic Stadium [discussion]
26 Zurich, Switzerland @ Letzigrund [discussion]
29 Coventry, UK @ Ricoh Stadium [discussion]
1 London, UK @ the Emirates Stadium [discussion]
2 London, UK @ the Emirates Stadium [discussion]
4 London, UK @ the Emirates Stadium [discussion]
7 Sunderland, UK @ the Stadium of Light [discussion]
9 London, UK @ Wembley Stadium (Capital FM's Summertime Ball 2012) [discussion] [NEW!]
9 Manchester, UK @ the Etihad Stadium [discussion]
10 Manchester, UK @ the Etihad Stadium [discussion]
22 Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Center [discussion]
23 Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Center [discussion]
25 Houston, TX @ Toyota Center [discussion]
26 Houston, TX @ Toyota Center [discussion]
28 Tampa, FL @ St. Pete Times Forum [discussion]
29 Miami, FL @ American Airlines Arena [discussion]
2 Atlanta, GA @ Philips Arena [discussion]
3 Charlotte, NC @ Time Warner Cable Arena [discussion]
5 Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center [discussion]
6 Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center [discussion]
8 Washington, DC @ Verizon Center [discussion]
9 Washington, DC @ Verizon Center [discussion]
23 Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre [discussion]
24 Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre [discussion]
26 Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre [discussion]
27 Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre [discussion]
29 Boston, MA @ TD Garden [discussion]
30 Boston, MA @ TD Garden [discussion]
1 Auburn Hills, MI @ Palace of Auburn Hills [discussion]
3 East Rutherford, NJ @ Izod Center [discussion]
4 East Rutherford, NJ @ Izod Center [discussion]
7 Chicago, IL @ United Center [discussion]
8 Chicago, IL @ United Center [discussion]
10 St. Paul, MN @ Xcel Energy Center [discussion]
11 St. Paul, MN @ Xcel Energy Center [discussion]
28 Copenhagen, Denmark @ Parken Stadium [discussion]
30 Stockholm, Sweden @ Olympic Stadium [discussion]
2 Paris, France @ Stade de France [discussion]
4 Cologne, Germany @ Rheinenergie Stadium [discussion]
6 The Hague, Netherlands @ Malieveld [discussion]
7 Los Angeles, US @ Shrine Auditorium (Stand Up To Cancer) [discussion] [NEW!]
9 London, UK @ Paralympics Closing Ceremony [discussion]
12 Munich, Germany @ Olympiastadion [discussion]
14 Leipzig, Germany @ Red Bull Stadium [discussion]
16 Prague, Czech Republic @ Slavia Eden Stadium [discussion]
19 Warsaw, Poland @ National Stadium [discussion]
22 Hannover, Germany @ AWD Arena [discussion]
10 Auckland, New Zealand @ Mt Smart Stadium [discussion]
13 Melbourne, Australia @ Etihad Stadium [discussion]
17 Sydney, Australia @ Allianz Stadium [discussion]
18 Sydney, Australia @ Allianz Stadium [discussion] [NEW!]
21 Brisbane, Australia @ Suncorp Stadium [discussion]
Read also: European Stadium Tour announced! (general discussion thread for the Europe tour)
Read also: North America Tour announced! (general discussion thread for the US/Canada tour)
Kit yourself up for the forthcoming MX tour and get spotted with Coldplaying's new range of merchandise! [click on the items for the full shop]
The new range of Coldplaying merchanise (unofficial of course to the official shop) has hit our stores, with our biggest range of goods so far. Prices are as low as they can be for a Cafepress shop so more people will be able to afford them. We don't take any profits for the sale of the merchandise as a result. Take a browse in one of the online stores nearest to you: UK | US | Canada | Australia | European (shipping is worldwide, but you can choose what currency to pay in) - simply alter the country dropdown menu at the top of the shop page. [thanks to TracieMorgan and zzz]