Christmas Lights (song)
|Single by Coldplay|
|Released||1 December 2010|
|Songwriter(s)||Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion, Chris Martin|
|Producer(s)||Coldplay, Rik Simpson, Brian Eno|
|Coldplay singles chronology|
"Christmas Lights" is a song by British alternative rock band Coldplay released on 1 December 2010, as a digital download. Described by the band as "a mid-tempo number" in the key of G major, the song was released to very positive reviews. The cover art is by Yu Matsuoka Pol.
Chris Martin wrote the song in December 2008. The morning after he began work on "Christmas Lights", he performed a segment of the still in-progress song for journalist Steve Kroft during an interview for the American newsmagazine program 60 Minutes.
Release and promotion
The single's release date was announced through the official Coldplay website on 24 November 2010. A countdown in minutes and seconds to 1 December 8pm GMT, appeared on the homepage of the website, accompanied by an animated GIF of the album art.
Coldplay released three 'making-of' videos through their iTunes Ping page, showing the creation of the music video. Another video was also released on their website, giving a preview of the music video and the song itself, plus more 'making-of' footage.
It was originally thought that "Christmas Lights" would be a song from the band's fifth studio album Mylo Xyloto, but this was confirmed not to be the case by Coldplay's official fan-question answer system The Oracle on two separate occasions.
For the week ending 18 December 2010, "Christmas Lights" both debuted and peaked at position number 25 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and position number 12 on Billboard's Hot Digital Songs chart. A live recording of the song was also featured as the closer track on the band's Live from Spotify London live EP, released exclusively on Spotify on December 2016.
The discussions about the video started about one month before its release. The original plan was to film a simple video at Oxford Street, as the place is mentioned in the song's lyrics. After that many other options were analysed, like a similar video to The Beatles' video for "All You Need Is Love", with the band and friends at the studio. But that idea was left out as Coldplay were in the middle of the production of Mylo Xyloto, and that could disrupt the flow of the recording. Another idea for the video included filming at the Willesden Music Hall. Finally they decided to invite the designer Misty Buckley to the project and the ideas for the final video started to take shape. After a meeting at the studio called The Bakery all the ideas had been set up and the only thing missing was the location for the shooting. Some places suggested were the tunnels under Waterloo and the roof of John Lewis. However they opted for the South Bank just five days before the shooting of the video, to tie in a line about the meeting of the sea and the city.
Coldplay began filming the music video on 24 November. The video appears to be one continuous shot, and while it might have been filmed with a single camera, the amount of takes in the video is unknown. Whether this means the finished product is a mix of many clips seamlessly stitched together is unknown. It begins with the starting up of a record player, and the camera panning across a multicoloured player piano, then the four members of the band. Martin begins to sing the first verse as the camera pans and zooms out to show the piano - which is now next to him - then back. Martin has changed his position, and the rest of the band are nowhere to be seen. Martin rises up from the stage where he is lying, then begins to play the piano, which is now on a stage in front of the Thames. Curtains open to reveal the rest of the band, who join in playing the song, accompanied by fireworks and three violin-playing Elvises (who are friends of the band: the British actor Simon Pegg, the 'fifth member' of Coldplay Phil Harvey and Tim Crompton, friend of the band and frontman of The High Wire). One hundred fans of the band appear in the music video; they release coloured balloons from a boat on the Thames whilst singing along to part of the song.
"Credo Elvem Etiam Vivere" is written across the top of the stage. In Latin this means "I Believe Elvis Yet Lives". This is likely connected to the three Elvises appearing in the video, which is, in turn, connected to the lyrics of the song.
The video was directed by Mat Whitecross, a long-time friend of the band and director of several of Coldplay's other music videos, such as "Bigger Stronger", "Lovers in Japan", "Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall" and more recently, "Paradise".
Just hours after the release of the video it was removed from YouTube after the IFPI claimed a breach of copyright, despite the video being on one of Coldplay's official channels. However, it was eventually uploaded once again.
Charts and certifications
- Chris Martin - lead vocals, keyboards
- Jonny Buckland - guitar
- Guy Berryman - bass
- Will Champion - drums, percussion, backing vocals
- Yellowcard recorded the song for the Fearless Records Punk Goes Christmas compilation in 2013.
- Kylie Minogue recorded the song for her 2016 album Kylie Christmas: Snow Queen Edition.
- Straight No Chaser covered the song for their 2016 album I'll Have Another...Christmas Album.
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- "British single certifications – Coldplay – Christmas Lights". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 19 December 2016. Select singles in the Format field. Select Silver in the Certification field. Enter Christmas Lights in the search field and then press Enter.
- Horansky, TJ (31 October 2013). "Fearless Records release 'Punk Goes Christmas' commercial". Alternative Press. Retrieved 3 November 2013.