The pensive vocals of Coldplay frontman Chris Martin has often been compared to Thom Yorke of Radiohead. However, it is the ghost of the late Jeff Buckley, one of Martin's favorites, that haunts his sad, emotionally vulnerable singing. Martin was born in Devon, England, on March 2, 1977, the eldest of five children. Raised in Devon, Martin attended University College London where he met future Coldplay guitarist Jon Buckland more than a year before forming the band. On January 6, 1998, Martin began to rehearse songs with Buckland. Guy Berryman (bass) and Will Champion (drums) were subsequently added to the lineup. In April 1999, while Martin studied for his finals, his group was signed to the British label Parlophone. Coldplay's first two EPs, Shiver and Yellow, were applauded by critics for their dreamy riffs and bittersweet lyrics; Martin's warm, comforting voice on the song "Yellow," a moving declaration of love, provided listeners with an alternative to the barrage of aggressive rap-metal acts in 2000. The track, already a hit in England, topped the request lines of modern rock radio stations in Seattle and Los Angeles before MTV exposure enabled Coldplay's debut album, Parachutes, to sell more than 500,000 copies. Success was followed by the inevitable backlash: Martin's clean-cut image, especially his public disdain for alcohol, was ridiculed by some British writers. ~ Michael Sutton
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