Parachutes is the debut album by Coldplay, released on July 10, 2000 in the UK and on November 7 in the U.S., making it the only Coldplay album to have a delayed release in America. Parachutes quickly shot to number one in the United Kingdom, staying in the top ten for thirty-three weeks.

The album produced four hit singles: “Shiver“, “Yellow“, “Trouble“, and “Don’t Panic“. In the United States, the album peaked at fifty-one on the Billboard 200, eventually selling over two million copies.

Parachutes was placed #14 in Channel 4’s 100 greatest albums of all time. In 2006 the album was placed #33 in NME’s 100 greatest British albums. Still, Chris Martin said in 2006 that Coldplay looks beyond Parachutes: “We know that’s terrible music,” he said, “and we always try to think about what we can do next.[1]

Parachutes: Album Reviews


Musical style

Parachutes was recognized to have an alternative rock sound similar to alt-rock band Radiohead in their The BendsOK Computer era. In fact, it has been suggested that the album’s commercial success was due in part to a portion of Radiohead’s audience being alienated by the band’s experimental and more electronic-influenced Kid A album.[2][3]

Lush and often quiet, the music in Parachutes is quite removed from the pop/rock anthems that would dominate Coldplay’s later works, especially X&Y. The folksy, easy listening feel of the album is the only one of its kind in the band’s discography, and most songs here, such as “High Speed”, “We Never Change” and the title track, are driven by acoustic guitars, subtly layered electric parts, and delicate piano melodies. More upbeat tracks like “Shiver” and “Yellow” employ louder guitar riffs, albeit never entering the genre of ‘hard rock’. This proved to be rather unique at its time, as the British music scene was just emerging from the 90’s, wherein the crunching guitar songs of bands such as Oasis reigned. However, the highest selling UK album of the previous year had been The Man Who, by the Scottish rock band Travis. Coldplay was seen to benefit from the path Travis had paved, subsequently eclipsing the band in popularity.

The album’s third track “Spies” drew some attention from the Chinese government, who interpreted it as an anti-Communist song. This led to the album being banned in the country. Guitarist Jon Buckland comments, “We’ve been banned in China because of the song ‘Spies’. Very strange.[4]

Just as distinguishing as the instrumental compositions is lead singer Chris Martin‘s vocals, often reaching falsetto. This is most prominent in the last track, “Everything’s Not Lost”, which begins as a piano ballad leading to a climax of harmonious falsetto singing. A hidden track, “Life is for Living”, follows soon after.


  • Most of the album was recorded at Liverpool’s Parr Street Studios, with a total of nine to ten weeks of actual recording, interrupted by two mini-tours. However, “High Speed” was recorded with interim producer Chris Allison over Summer 1999 at Orinoco Studios, London.[5]
  • The album cover for Parachutes contains a photograph of a globe personally taken by the band with a disposable Kodak camera. The globe had been purchased from WH Smith for £10; it was featured in the “Shiver” and “Don’t Panic” music videos, and also accompanied the band on their tours.

Track listing


A picture from the Parachutes inner sleeve.

  1. Don’t Panic” – 2:17
  2. Shiver” – 4:59
  3. Spies” – 5:18
  4. Sparks” – 3:47
  5. Yellow” – 4:29
  6. Trouble” – 4:30
  7. Parachutes” – 0:46
  8. High Speed” – 4:14
  9. We Never Change” – 4:09
  10. Everything’s Not Lost” / * “Life Is for Living” – 7:15
  11. † “Careful Where You Stand” – 4:45
  12. † “For You” – 5:42

* Hidden track contained within “Everything’s Not Lost” from 5:39.
† Japanese version only.


Year Award Category
2000 Q Awards Best Album
2001 Brit Awards Best British Album
2002 Grammy Awards Best Alternative Music Album


Shiver_cover_art Shiver

  • Released: 6 March 2000
  • Producers: Coldplay, Ken Nelson
  • Video Director: Grant Gee
  • Chart position: #35 (UK)
240px-Yellow_cover_art Yellow

  • Released: 26 June 2000
  • Producers: Coldplay, Ken Nelson
  • Video Director: James & Alex of The Artists Company
  • Chart positions: #4 (UK), #48 (US)
240px-Trouble_cover_art Trouble

  • Released: 26 October 2000
  • Producers: Coldplay, Ken Nelson
  • Video Directors: Sophie Muller (UK) / Tim Hope (US)
  • Chart position: #10 (UK)
DontPanic1 Don’t Panic

  • Released: 27 August 2001
  • Producers: Coldplay, Ken Nelson
  • Video Director: Tim Hope

Release details

The album was released in various countries.

Country Date Label Format Catalogue
United Kingdom July 10 2000 Parlophone CD 7241 5 27783 2 4
United Kingdom July 10 2000 Parlophone 12″ limited edition 7243 5277831
Japan August 9 2000 Toshiba-EMI CD TOCP 65472
Canada September 19 2000 Parlophone CD 7241 5 27783 2 4
United States November 7 2000 Capitol Records, Nettwerk CD 0 6700 30162 2 3
United States November 7 2000 Capitol Records, Nettwerk Cassette 0 6700 30162
Taiwan 2000 EMI CD 7243 52778324

The Oracle on Parachutes

September 6, 2012 – submitted by Sam, United States of America
Q. Dear Oracle
I was wondering if the names of the songs in the parachutes album, were chosen to sort of show someones thought while skydiving for example, or on a less literal scale, doing something that they’re nervous about. Please let me know I’m quite curious.
The Oracle replies:
There wasn’t a deliberate pre-planned theme to the Parachutes album even if the songs’ contents seem linked. The time scale between the writing of the first to last song is so vast that it’s merely coincidence that they appear to allude to similar subjects – though not unusual if we look at Chris’ writing historically.

The title definitely represents the feeling they had prior to releasing their debut album. When they were deciding upon a name, they decided it summed it up perfectly.

February 22, 2011 – submitted by Lilac, United Arab Emirates
Q. Hello Oracle!
Did you ever wonder if the globe on the Parachutes album cover is glowing? Is it actually glowing?
The Oracle replies:
I didn’t wonder myself Lilac because I know that yes, the globe is glowing as it is in fact a lamp.

January 5, 2011 – submitted by Madeline, United States of America
Q. Dear All-Mighty Oracle,
On the back of the Parachutes album, there are four people. Which one is which band member?
Mad :)
The Oracle replies:
I’m sure there are people who have a different back cover to the album, but the photo on the back of Parachutes shows the band from left to right: Guy, Will, Chris & Jonny.
There were photos in the NME on July 8th 2000 with photos from the same shoot.
There’s also one of the back of their heads; that’s trickier to see who’s who but not impossible as I have already answered that.

September 7, 2010 – submitted by Jack, United Kingdom
Q. Hi!! I have been wondering for a while…where were the pictures of the band taken on the back of Parachutes? It looks like a spot in Hull. I really want to go there! Thanks
The Oracle replies:
It’s not Hull; it’s Blackpool.

August 9, 2010 – submitted by Teddy, United States of America
Q. O Oracle,
I was wondering who did the cover Parachutes and how they got the effect of the lit spinning globe and such. I was really stunned by the artwork and that was ultimately what compelled to buy the record, which in turn created my lifelong love of Coldplay.
The Oracle replies:
It was actually a lamp so the light was already inside the globe. The shutter speed of the camera is key to the actual effect.

August 6, 2010 – submitted by Jason, United States of America
Q. Hello Oracle!
I would like to know what’s the difference between this Parachutes and this one.
Why are there two of them?
The Oracle replies:
The difference is immense; they’re not the same song. The former is Coldplay’s Parachutes (plural) and the latter is Guster’s Parachute (singular).
So there are not two versions of Parachutes, just the one.

May 10, 2010 – submitted by William, United States of America
Q. Dear Oracle, Was the original parachute globe bought specifically for the album cover, or was it just a globe that one of the band mates had lying around at their house?
The Oracle replies:
It wasn’t bought for the album cover. The globe was used during their live shows at the time and was only used for the cover as a last minute idea.

February 10, 2010 – submitted by Mat, United States of America
Q. In one of the Coldplay posters featured during the Viva tour there is a globe that is above Chris’ and Guy’s head. Is this the same globe pictured on the Parachutes album?
The Oracle replies:
It isn’t the same globe. Up until the recent Kids Company auction the original globe was in storage; now it belongs to Carrie in Michigan.

January 20, 2010 – submitted by Virgil, Australia
Q. Hello, would you please tell me about the cover art of the first album. The spinning globe…why it was chosen by the band. Thank you.
The Oracle replies:
The pressure to come up with an idea for the Parachutes cover was mounting. At that time, the globe was being used at live shows sitting atop Chris’s piano and had been a fixture during the recording process. It was almost a whimsical last minute decision in absence of any other idea. As it goes, it was the perfect image to fit with the songs contained within.

November 21, 2008 – submitted by Jon, United States of America
Q. What ever happened to the globe on the cover of parachutes? I know the band took it on tour with them, but where is it now?
The Oracle replies:
They’re all in storage. I say “all” because there wasn’t just one globe lamp, there were several.

August 26, 2008 – submitted by Jasmine, United States of America
Q. I’ve heard rumors of Coldplay bring a globe from Parachutes with them on tour in the past, and I’ve seen them with an old tv set on stage for Viva La Vida. Is it a habit of theirs to bring props with them on tour? If so, what other objects have they brought along before, and is there some sort of meaning behind them? Thanks, Oracle.
The Oracle replies:
Back in the days of the Parachutes tour they did indeed have the globe lamp lit on the piano. They only had a backdrop in those days and a simple light show. These days there’s an elaborate set so there’s not what you’d call props. The globe was one of several that are now housed in a storage unit. The fact the globe became the cover for the Parachutes album was more of a last minute panic rather than a pre-determined decision.