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Fix You

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"Fix You"
Coldplay - Fix You.jpg
Single by Coldplay
from the album X&Y
  • "The World Turned Upside Down"
  • "Pour Me" (Live at the Hollywood Bowl)
Released5 September 2005 (2005-09-05)
  • 4:54 (album version)
  • 4:37 (single version)
  • 4:07 (radio edit)
Coldplay singles chronology
"Speed of Sound"
"Fix You"
Music video
"Fix You" (official video) on YouTube

"Fix You" is a song by British rock band Coldplay. It was written by all four members of the band for their third studio album, X&Y (2005). It was released on 5 September 2005 as the second single from X&Y and reached number 4 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.

The song was started by Chris Martin to comfort his then-wife, actress Gwyneth Paltrow, who he met in late 2002 after her father died. The track is built around an organ accompanied by piano and guitar in the first half and an alternative rock style in the second half featuring electric guitar, bass and drums. The hopeful message of the song, and its two-part acoustic/anthemic arrangement, was critically acclaimed. The song has been performed at memorials such as by Coldplay at the One Love Manchester benefit concert in 2017.

In September 2021, Rolling Stone named the song as the 392nd greatest song of all time.


Coldplay lead singer Chris Martin met American actress Gwyneth Paltrow in late October 2002, three weeks after the death of her father, television director Bruce Paltrow. As their relationship grew closer, Martin and Paltrow would listen to Coldplay's album Parachutes, especially the uplifting song "Everything's Not Lost," to help her process the loss of her father. Martin and Paltrow married in December 2003.[1]

"Fix You" was inspired by Martin's wish to continue helping Paltrow get through her grief. He wanted to base the song on a church organ; instead he powered up a synthesizer given to Paltrow by her father, the instrument sitting unused in their house, to find "it had these amazing sounds on it."[2] Martin said that the song's composition is influenced by English alternative rock band Elbow's 2003 anthem "Grace Under Pressure".[3][4][5] In 2005, he described "Fix You" as "probably the most important song we've ever written".[6] He wrote four other songs for or about Paltrow: "Moses" (2003), "Swallowed in the Sea" (2005), "Magic" and "Another's Arms" (2014).[7]

All of Coldplay helped in writing the song. During a track-by-track analysis, bassist Guy Berryman observed that "Fix You" takes "a bit of inspiration" from "Many Rivers to Cross" by Jimmy Cliff (1969). Berryman 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."[8]


The song features an organ and piano in the key of E major.[9] It begins as a hushed electric organ ballad, with Martin's falsetto.[10] The song then builds in acoustic guitar and piano, accompanied by the sound of string instruments during the beginning choruses. The melody shifts to a plaintive three-note guitar line, ringing through a rhythmic upbeat drum tempo. The song transitions to its bridge, which expands into a blend of piano, electric and bass guitar, drums, and a singalong chorus with an anthemic feel. Electronic sounds from a synthesiser join during the second half of the bridge.[11] The song ends with the beginning chorus, with slow, melancholic piano notes being played in the background.

The message that Martin sings throughout, is of encouragement: "Lights will guide you home / And ignite your bones / And I will try to fix you."[12][13][14] Michele Hatty of USA Weekend reported that Martin sings about recovering from grief in the song.[15] 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?"[16]


Capitol Records serviced "Fix You" to US triple A and alternative radio on 15 August 2005.[17] In the UK, Parlophone released "Fix You" on 5 September 2005 as the second single from X&Y.[18][19] The single was pressed with two B-sides: "The World Turned Upside Down" and "Pour Me".[18][20] In Australia, the song was issued as a CD single on 12 September 2005.[21] Two days later, the band released the Fix You EP in the iTunes Store.[18] 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.[18] Promotional singles were released in the UK and US.[18]

The track peaked at number four in the UK Singles Chart on 17 September 2005.[22] As of 30 July 2011, the song had spent 122 weeks on that chart.[23] It peaked at number 59 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 18 on the Billboard Hot Modern Rock Tracks.[24] The song also charted on the Billboard Pop 100 and Hot Digital Songs.[24] The single appeared in Australia's Singles Chart in the number four position on 18 September 2005,[25] after retiring in the 58 spot.[25] It also appeared at number eight on the Irish Singles Chart and spent seven consecutive weeks on the chart.[26] On 14 November 2010, the song re-entered the Australian singles chart at number 37.[27]

In 2005, Coldplay performed the song live on Saturday Night Live and the Live 8 event in July.[28] It has also become the anthem for the event.[18]

In 2009, the song also appeared on Coldplay's live album, LeftRightLeftRightLeft.[29]

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. On 4 June 2017, Coldplay performed "Fix You" at the One Love Manchester benefit concert for the victims of the Manchester Arena bombing.[30]


The song received widespread acclaim from music critics. In the Rolling Stone Magazine 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."[12] 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."[31] Adrien Begrand of PopMatters in his review of the album, noted the song as the "best ballad" off X&Y.[32] In 2005, the song appeared at number two on Q magazine's "100 Greatest Tracks of the Year",[33] and was listed as one of the "Tracks of the Year" by NME in 2005.[34] In September 2021, Rolling Stone named the song as the 392nd greatest song of all time.[35]

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".[36] The video was filmed at the end of two concerts on 4 and 5 July 2005 at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton, England, which were the band's first ever stadium performances.[37][38] The concert goers doubled as extras for the video shoot, which required two takes on each day to complete.[18][39]

In the first half of the video, 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 Baudot code colour scheme on the cover of X&Y. The tunnels that Martin is seen wandering within are located both in and around King's Cross and St Pancras railway stations, with the filming for the video taking place during the time of the redevelopment and expansion of the latter. Martin is then seen walking across Waterloo Bridge, which crosses the River Thames, connecting the South Bank with The Strand. As soon as the electric guitar kicks in, Martin's walk turns into a run as he darts through streets of London, until very quickly reaching the side of the stage at the Reebok Stadium in Bolton, where he joins the rest of the band for the song's finale. The audience sings along with the song's final refrain, and at the end of the video Martin thanks them for their support and wishes them goodnight.

The video debuted on 1 August 2005.[40] It was nominated at the 15th annual Music Video Production Association Awards in the category of Adult Contemporary.[40] After its release, the music video was repurposed as a tribute to the victims of the 7 July 2005 London bombings,[18] although it was filmed before they occurred.[41]

In popular culture[edit]

The song appears in The Acoustic Album (2006). It was performed in 2006 by the New England octogenarian group Young@Heart Chorus. 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] Knittle died on 1 January 2009, after a short battle with cancer, at the age of 83.

The song was featured in an episode of the American teen drama television series The O.C.,[47][48] and then in Without a Trace, Cold Case, Brothers & Sisters, and The Newsroom. The half part of the song was played over the trailer for the 2006 film World Trade Center.[49][50] It was also featured in the 2006 movie You, Me and Dupree.[51] The track was nominated for an Ivor Novello Award in the category of Best Song Musically and Lyrically.[52][53] The song was also nominated for a UK Festival Award in the category of Anthem of the Summer.[54] On 14 March 2009, the band performed a rendition of the song at the relief concert, Sound Relief, in Sydney, Australia.[55]

In December 2015 the song was used, alongside "Bridge over Troubled Water", in the UK charity Christmas No 1 mashup song "A Bridge Over You", by the choir of the Lewisham and Greenwich NHS Trust, selling more than 127,000 copies.[56]

A string version of the song was also featured in the computer-animated adventure film Abominable (2019).[57]

The song was also added toward the end of the Korean romance movie Tune in for Love.[58]

English singer Sam Smith covered the song in May 2020, and released it as a single in July the same year.[59]

South Korean boyband BTS covered the song in February 2021 for their MTV Unplugged appearance.[60] The performance aired during the COVID-19 pandemic and one of the members, Jimin, shared, "This song gave us comfort, so we wanted to prepare this cover to comfort [their fans] as well."[61] All four members of Coldplay congratulated BTS by sharing the video on the official Coldplay Twitter feed, with the Korean word "아름다운", meaning "beautiful".[62]

In November 2021, Kacey Musgraves covered the song as part of a stop-motion animation film from Chipotle called A Future Begins, focused on the U.S. farming industry.[63]

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) (featured on the UK Enhanced CD, Australian, and US iTunes EP versions)5:01
4."Fix You" (video) (featured on the UK Enhanced CD) 


Charts and certifications[edit]

Release history[edit]

Region Date Format(s) Label(s) Ref(s).
United States 15 August 2005 (2005-08-15) Capitol [17]
United Kingdom 5 September 2005 (2005-09-05) CD Parlophone [18][19]
Australia 12 September 2005 (2005-09-12) [21]


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External links[edit]