Crafting the Chris Martin Sound: 5 Bands That Influenced Coldplay’s Frontman

Piecing together the sonic landscape that inspired one of today's foremost rock vocalists

March 16, 2016
Photo: Landmark / PR Photos

Few artistic mediums can be created in a vacuum — least of all music. As such, we took a look at some of the bands that Coldplay frontman Chris Martin (Wednesday’s Stern Show guest) has credited with inspiring his iconic sound.

Listen below for some sonic match-ups that highlight Chris’ influences (which range from Scottish rockers to Norwegian pop stars and one of the best-selling groups of all-time), plus hear how they manifested in his music. Also be sure to check out Coldplay’s latest album, A Head Full of Dreams,” out now.

Band: Travis

Chris Martin Says: Travis is “the band that invented [Coldplay] and lots of others.”

Listen to: Travis “Turn”

Hear It In: Coldplay “Spies”

Band: a-ha

Chris Martin Says: “… I put a-ha’s first record on … I just remembered how much I loved it. It’s incredible songwriting…Everyone asks what inspired us, what we’ve been trying to steal from and what we listened to as we were growing up – the first band I ever loved was a-ha.”

Listen to: a-ha “Hunting High and Low”

Hear It In: Coldplay “Don’t Panic”

Band: Radiohead

Chris Martin Says: “Sometimes I feel like they cleared a path with a machete, and we came afterward and put up a strip mall… I would still give my left ball to write anything as good as ‘OK Computer.'”

Listen to: Radiohead “2+2=5”

Hear It In: Coldplay “God Put A Smile On Your Face”

Band: U2

Chris Martin Says: “U2 are the only band whose entire catalog I know by heart … The first U2 album I ever heard was ‘Achtung Baby.’ It was 1991, and I was 14 years old. Before that, I didn’t even know what albums were.”

Listen to: U2 “In God’s Country”

Hear It In: Coldplay “Speed of Sound”

Band: Muse

Chris Martin Says: “We were really getting into things like P.J Harvey and Muse – things with a bit more energy.”

Listen to: Muse “New Born”

Hear It In: Coldplay “Clocks”

Check out Coldplay’s new album “A Head Full of Dreams,” out now!

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