Coldplay performing Oasis' "Songbird" didn't happen in the 2004-2006 era. It happened at the Bowery Ballroom in 2002. I was there. Oasis was indeed in attendance that night upstairs. GREAT cover.
Coldplay B-Sides, Rarities and Unreleased Songs [Part I]
Here at MUF, we pride ourselves on being in on the ground floor when it comes to music. A large part of that is supporting those groups as they grow and in those extremely rare situations, they become rock legend. Coldplay is one of those bands who we’ve followed since The Blue Room EP and honestly has no place on an indie music blog. However, because of that early relationship and similar instances with countless other bands, my musical relationship has grown; Seeing them play the day after the Phillies won the World Series and hearing Chris Martin give a shout to all Phillies fans sealed the deal for an already sold fan.
Whether it be a new album, EP or bit of news, we’ve been all over it. So much so, that I have a disgusting amount of unreleased songs of theirs. No, we’re not talking about songs from Coldplay’s A Rush of B-Sides To The Head. That B-side album would come out regardless given the blinding pace Coldplay grew in popularity in the early 2000s and ease at which files and MP3s were shared. We’re not talking about songs from the fan-made collection of rarities titled Castles either.
This list of unreleased songs is the collective effort of the tireless fans on Coldplaying.com, who I just can’t say enough about. They are truly dedicated, and sometimes downright frustrated when it comes down to never being able to hear a good quality version of an unreleased song – something I can truly relate to. This effort from Coldplay’s relentless fans fed into the information on wikicoldplay.com, which has more Coldplay information even for myself and has a list of their complete unreleased songs, a good deal of which are released on the fan-made Castles. Coldplaying.com makes Coldplay a band with perhaps the most information out of any band on the planet given the size of their database records and the ridiculously good information provided within the fan forums.
These tracks were discovered using a little bit of information from the referenced sources above, as most should (given the depth at which some songs are discussed on coldplaying.com), but also from my own findings. That means removing myself from the Coldplay community, taking Coldplay Wiki as the Bible, but not the whole story; it means me looking beyond what most people would do to find these songs and set off on my own adventure. I eventually found myself much where many others have found themselves; going through the same search methodology, pushing further, but with fruitless efforts.
I consider this my personal fan collection of unreleased songs, rarities and b-sides that really haven’t had their spot in the limelight, or not even a spot at all. Many of these tracks are those discussed in those dusty forums, and I think most Coldplay fans would agree that the time period around Viva La Vida had a lot of special music created, particularly at a few concerts. There is hope left that we will someday hear the full version of these songs, but this is my ode to the rest of the Coldplay community for their help in bringing these songs back to life.
Hopefully this saves all of you dedicated Coldplay fans some time finding these songs:
MP3: Coldplay – Harmless
From Coldplay’s 2001-2002 era, “Harmless” rings very familiar to songs from A Rush of Blood To The Head. The piano is so obvious, that you can clearly tell that this track is early on in Coldplay’s career. This track was leaked onto the Internet, then never saw the light of day on their subsequent albums.
MP3: Coldplay – Loveless
This is one track out of a series of songs Chris Martin was experimenting with. If you’ve read Coldplay’s blog, you’ll see that as each new album approaches, such as Mylo Xyloto, they go through many, many songs to reach their final product. This song is an example of this where the creative process halted simply because there was something better. It gets painful around twenty seconds as Martin tries to self-correct a note.
MP3: Coldplay – Lukas
While many traditional Coldplay fans would love to see every one of these b-sides mastered and officially released at some point, there are some that I truly believe were best handled the way they were. This track is a prime example – the guitar, rhythm and everything about it screams Brian Eno and the Viva La Vida era. This track was either sold or just given to the UK singer/songwriter Natalie Imbruglia who included it on her 2009 album Come To Life. Imbruglia does a great job with this song and while her vocals fit the song quite well, the melodies might make it their best unreleased song to date. It’s a shame it was given away, but you have to trust Martin and company knew what they were ditching.
A variation of this song was included on the Prospekt’s March EP in 2008. While it can be found as clean and polished on that EP, this version was a primitive song that evolved into part of their follow-up EP to Viva La Vida, an era for Coldplay which may be regarded as their most creative given the amount of overflow songs they simply could not fit onto their award-winning 2008 album. Just as a movie score combines several parts played throughout a movie, this song acts like a movie score in the respect where it really envelopes what VLV was all about. As you’re listing to this song, you’ll realize this is taken an extended version of track #10 “Death And All His Friends”, the alternate name for VLV. Wonderful stuff here.
Many of the following tracks do not provide the quality of “Sleeping Sun”. This track was released as a B-side on the Talk single as part of the pre X&Y promotion. The track is exemplary of many of the smooth acoustic songs that Coldplay could simply not add to their albums. But as we’ve seen on each album, the last few tracks are typically acoustically styled in the same manner as this song. Regardless of what makes the final album cut, you can always bank on Coldplay to sneak songs like these here and there as B-sides.
One of the first unreleased live song on this list, like that of “Moses”, except this track was not recorded professionally for a live album. ”Solid Ground” was played live on Coldplay’s 2001-2002 tour around the Blue Room EP / Parachutes time period.
MP3: Coldplay – Songbird
“Songbird” was played around around the same time Coldplay “Fix You” was a hot new track. In this case, that would be between 2004 and 2006. The track itself is nothing new, however. ”Songbird” is an Oasis track, which to those UK rock fans’ chagrin, was included as a crowd pleaser in this instance.
One of my favorite rarities on this list is “Spiderwebs”. The sound quality is not there, but just like “Loveless”, it’s a demo of sorts. As Martin churns out songs and ideas prior to an album release, many of these leaked recordings show the thought process and development of a song. In this case, “Trouble” was the finished product.
Another demo song in the bunch which abruptly ends at 1:16. But the glory of this song is the classic refrain melodies developed by Martin on piano. This is Coldplay’s essential formula at work here.
Another anomoly of sorts as “Sweet Marianne” was never recorded in the studio. So even if Coldplay wanted to give you some sneak peek of what they’ve recorded and never released, you still wouldn’t find this track. Many of their songs are tried on tour to see how they float with the crowd. Apparently, this one didn’t make the cut when they got back. You can hear the phrase “Ladder To The Sun” in this track, which is another unreleased song from 2003.
Ah yes, originals… Before they were cut down, modified or changed into something massively distributed. This beauty may sound a lot like the official version of this song. But before you get too confident, you’ll hear the intro to the first verse around 40 seconds into the track. I really like this version as it gets right into the lyrics with the classic hook as more of an afterthought. There are also more breakdowns between verses. Of course, we all know this track wouldn’t exist without Kraftwerk’s “Computer Love”.
This track was first heard in 2008 during Coldplay’s Viva La Vida tour and was written to be “part of some kind of EP” according to Martin in this recording. The EP was on the chopping block for Coldplay’s fourth album, but obviously never made it. In terms of Irish songs, Coldplay certainly nailed it here.
Video Bonus: Coldplay – Viva La Vida (Alternate Music Video)
Did you know Coldplay had an alternate music video for “Viva La Vida”. Well you do now. Coldplay’s alternate is actually much more relatable and likeable than the published version.
Update: See Part II which has another 13 unreleased songs.
TagsA Rush Of B-Sides To Your Head B-sides Castles Coldplay Coldplay Harmless download Loveless Lukas Rainy Day School Rarities Sleeping Sun Solid Ground Songbird Spiderwebs Early Version of Trouble St. Stephen Sweet Marianne Talk Original Version The Dubliners Unreleased Viva La Vida Alternate Music Video
@Ed_Rocks Thanks for the kind words, Ed - We'll have part II up either at the end of this week or next. I'll see what we can do about a part III too, but these were really tough to find. Cheers!