Fix You

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For the The Offspring song of the same name, see Rise and Fall, Rage and Grace.
"Fix You"
Single by Coldplay
from the album X&Y
B-side "The World Turned Upside Down"
"Pour Me" (Live at the Hollywood Bowl)
Released 5 September 2005
Format 7", CD, download
Genre Post-Britpop
Length 4:54 (album version)
4:07 (radio edit)
Label Parlophone
Writer(s) Chris Martin, Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman, Will Champion
Producer(s) Ken Nelson, Coldplay
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Platinum (ARIA)
Coldplay singles chronology
"Speed of Sound"
(2005)
"Fix You"
(2005)
"Talk"
(2005)

"Fix You" is a song by British alternative rock band Coldplay. It was written by all four members of the band for their third album, X&Y. The track is built around an organ accompanied by slow tempo drums and vocals. It was released on 5 September 2005 as the second single from X&Y and has reached number four on the UK Singles Chart. The song reached number 18 in the United States Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks. Promo singles were released for the UK and US. Despite being the lowest-charting single of the album, it is actually their most popular single of the album and is also one of the band's most popular songs aside from "Viva la Vida". Blythe Danner, the mother of Gwyneth Paltrow and former mother-in-law of Chris Martin, stated in an interview in May 2012 that he 'wrote the song for Gwyneth when her father died and I weep every time I hear it'.[1]

"Fix You" received positive reviews. It has been widely sampled, with different covers and sounds. The song was nominated for multiple awards in the categories of Best Song Musically and Lyrically and Anthem of the Summer. The music video was garnered as a tribute to the 7 July 2005 London bombings. The guitar solo of "Fix You" is currently used as the player introduction at all of the National Hockey League's Montreal Canadiens' home games,[2] and during the three stars of the game selection after every Los Angeles Kings home win.

The song was played live at the Steve Jobs memorial/celebration-of-life event at Apple headquarters on 19 October 2011 in Cupertino, California.

Background[edit]

When writing the song, vocalist Chris Martin originally intended to use a church-style organ for the track. Unable to gain access to the instrument, Martin instead used an old keyboard that his late father-in-law, Bruce Paltrow, gave to his daughter Gwyneth.[3] However, in other instances Martin has claimed that "Fix You" is influenced by English alternative rock band Elbow's 2003 anthem "Grace Under Pressure".[4][5][6]

When asked about the development of the song, Martin said: "My father-in-law Bruce Paltrow bought this big keyboard just before he died. No one had ever plugged it in. I plugged it in, and there was this incredible sound I'd never heard before. All these songs poured out from this one sound. Something has to inspire you, and something else takes over. It's very cloudy."[7] Martin also noted that the song is "probably the most important song we've ever written".[8]

During a track-by-track reveal, bassist Guy Berryman admitted that the song takes "a bit of inspiration" from Jimmy Cliff's 1969 song "Many Rivers to Cross". Berryman also added, "It becomes its own thing, kind of like points of inspiration that kind of lead you down certain paths. Whenever you want to write a song like someone else, it ultimately ends up sounding like something different anyway."[9]

While studying at University College London the band lived in Ramsay Hall, reminiscing on the experience they said that the lyric "lights will guide you home" comes from living next to the BT Tower, a notable landmark in London which they'd follow coming back from nights out.

Composition[edit]

The music of "Fix You" is built around a church-style organ.

Problems playing this file? See media help.

The song features an organ and piano sound.[10] The song starts with a hushed electric organ ballad, including Martin's falsetto.[11] The song then builds with both an acoustic guitar and piano sound. The sound then shifts with a plaintive three-note guitar line, ringing through a bringing rhythm upbeat tempo. Its instrumentation is varied with the sound of church-style organs hovering throughout the background,[12] piano notes, acoustic and electric guitar riffs, drums, and a singalong chorus.[13]

The message throughout the song, in which Martin sings, is words of encouragement: "Lights will guide you home / And ignite your bones / And I will try to fix you."[14][15][16] Michele Hatty of USA Weekend reported that Martin sings about recovering from grief in the song.[17] Travis Gass of the Bangor Daily News wrote that Martin offers his sympathies for the downtrodden, with "When you love someone but it goes to waste / Could it be worse?". Gass goes on to interpret that the "booming drums" and chorus is that of Queen's 1975 song "Bohemian Rhapsody".[18]

Release[edit]

Coldplay released "Fix You" in the UK and US on 5 September 2005 as the second single of their third album.[19] The single was pressed with two B-side's: "The World Turned Upside Down" and "Pour Me".[19][20] On 14 September 2005, the band released the Fix You EP in the iTunes Store.[19] In response to Hurricane Katrina, all of the sales went to the American Red Cross Hurricane 2005 Relief and the National Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences' MusiCares Hurricane Relief Fund.[19] Promotional singles were released in the UK and US.[19]

The track peaked at number four in the UK Singles Chart on 17 September 2005.[21] As of 30 July 2011, the song had spent 122 weeks on that chart.[22] It peaked at number 59 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 18 on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks.[23] The song also charted on the Billboard Pop 100 and Hot Digital Songs.[23] The single appeared in Australia's Singles Chart in the number four position on 18 September 2005,[24] after retiring in the 58 spot.[24] It also appeared at number eight on the Irish Singles Chart and spent seven consecutive weeks on the chart.[25] On 14 November 2010, the song re-entered the Australian singles chart at number 37.[26]

In 2009, the song also appeared on Coldplay's live album, LeftRightLeftRightLeft.[27]

Reception[edit]

Chris Martin playing "Fix You" on a synthesiser during the band's 2008 Viva la Vida Tour

The song received strong positive reception from music critics. In the Rolling Stone review of the album, critic Kelefa Sanneh wrote: "One of the best is 'Fix You', an unabashedly sentimental song where Martin delivers words of encouragement in a gentle falsetto [...] Proving once more that no band can deliver a stately rock ballad like this one."[14] Paul McNamee of NME magazine wrote: "It’s a wonderful song that shifts from simple stark piano and voice to a ringing, clattering burst of intent and proto-prog four-part harmony."[28] Adrien Begrand of PopMatters in his review of the album, noted the song as the "best ballad" off X&Y.[29] In 2005, the song appeared at number two on Q magazine's "100 Greatest Tracks of the Year",[30] and was listed as one of the "Tracks of the Year" by NME in 2005.[31]

In 2005, Coldplay performed the song live on Saturday Night Live and the Live 8 event in July.[32] "Fix You" was also played on Shelter from the Storm.[19] It has also become a tribute song for the victims and eventually became the anthem for the event.[19] The song was featured in an episode of the American teen drama television series The O.C.,[33][34] and then in Without a Trace, Cold Case and Brothers & Sisters. The half part of the song was played over the trailer for the 2006 film World Trade Center.[35][36] It was also featured in the 2006 movie You, Me and Dupree.[37] The track was nominated for an Ivor Novello Award in the category of Best Song musically and lyrically.[38][39] The song was also nominated for an UK Festival Award in the category of Anthem of the Summer.[40] On 14 March 2009, the band performed a rendition of the song at the relief concert, Sound Relief, in Sydney, Australia.[41] On 19 October 2011, the band played the song at the "Celebrating Steve" event for Apple employees over a global media stream to all the Apple Stores. This event was also available for Apple customers via the company website.

The song appears in The Acoustic Album (2006). It was performed in 2006 by the New England octogenarian chorus group Young@Heart. The group's performance was led by former chorus member Fred Knittle, who suffered from congestive heart failure and breathed with assistance from an oxygen tank. The performance was originally planned to be a duet between Knittle and Bob Salvini, another former chorus member, but Salvini died shortly before the show. Knittle performed it as a solo, as a tribute to his friend.[42] The performance was initially recorded for a British documentary that aired on Channel 4; footage of the performance was uploaded to YouTube in November 2006 to positive response.[43][44] An expanded version of the film, titled Young@Heart, debuted at the 2007 Los Angeles Film Festival and was released in US theatres in 2008.[45][46]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "Fix You" was directed by Sophie Muller, who had previously worked with the band for their 2002 video "In My Place".[47] The video was filmed at the end of two concerts on 4 and 5 July 2005 at Reebok Stadium in Bolton, England.[48] The concert goers doubled as extras for the video shoot, which required two takes on each day to complete.[19][49]

In the first half of the video the band's lead singer, Chris Martin, wanders the streets of London starting at Tooley Street under London Bridge Station, while the slogan "Make Trade Fair" is projected onto the Royal National Theatre, using the same ITA2 colour scheme on the cover of X&Y. The tunnels that Martin is seen wandering within are located both in and around London St Pancras and King's Cross railway stations, and the filming for the video took place during the time of the redevelopment and expansion of London St Pancras International. Martin is then seen walking across Waterloo Bridge, which crosses the River Thames, connecting the Southbank with The Strand. As soon as the electric guitar kicks in, Martin's walk turns into a run as he darts through streets until finally reaching the Reebok Stadium, where he joins the rest of the band for the song's finale. Here the audience can be clearly heard singing along, and at the end of the video Martin thanks them for their support and wishes them goodnight.

The video debuted on 1 August 2005.[50] The music video was nominated at the 15th annual Music Video Production Association Awards in the category of Adult Contemporary.[50] After its release, the music video was repurposed as a tribute to the 7 July 2005 London bombings, although it was filmed before they occurred.[19]

In popular culture[edit]

Cover versions[edit]

Media[edit]

The song has been used on the final sequences of the episode "I'll Try To Fix You" of the 2012 HBO's television series The Newsroom, as well as an episode of Scrubs. The song also briefly featured in the Australian family drama Packed to the Rafters. In 2013 "Fix You" was used to powerful effect in the final episode of the first season of British public television Channel 4's comedy-drama Derek. "Fix You" was played during an episode of Brothers & Sisters.

On an episode of the BBC comedy game show Never Mind the Buzzcocks, the Coldplay song "Violet Hill" was used in a segment, and when regular panelist Noel Fielding said that he "genuinely hated Coldplay," host David Tennant then played a snippet of "Fix You" and mouthed the line "And I will try...to fix you." Comedienne Catherine Tate also finished the lyrics of the chorus correctly in a different segment of the same episode.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Fix You" (edit) – 4:37
  2. "The World Turned Upside Down" – 4:32
  3. "Pour Me" (Live at the Hollywood Bowl) – 5:01 (featured on the UK Enhanced CD, Australian, and US iTunes EP versions)
  4. "Fix You" (video) (featured on the UK Enhanced CD)

Charts and certifications[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ Video on YouTube
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External links[edit]