The Story of Pop: 2002 (Chapter 32)

Revisiting all the biggest sights and sounds of the UK charts twenty years ago every Thursday, this is The Story of Pop: 2002. This week: one of the biggest British rock bands of the last two decades take their leap to global domination with their highly anticipated second album…

  • Artist: Coldplay
  • Song: In My Place
  • Released: 05/08/2002
  • Writers / Producers: Guy Berryman / Jonny Buckland / Will Champion / Chris Martin / Ken Nelson / Coldplay
  • Highest UK Chart Position: #2
  • Weeks on Chart: 12

With the release of their debut album Parachutes in 2000, Coldplay quickly established themselves as one of the biggest new alternative rock bands of the 21st century.

Winner of both a BRIT Award and a Grammy Award for Best Album, it topped the chart here and sold over 2.7 million copies in the UK alone, as it’s singles including “Yellow” and “Trouble” became established as something approaching modern classics.

Expectations were running high therefore, for the release of their follow up album, A Rush Of Blood To The Head, in August 2002.  Recording began in September 2001 with their producer, Ken Nelson, who had also worked on Parachutes, and unlike the more acoustic feel of some of their first album, greater incorporation of electric guitar and piano was prevalent on the tracks on this album.

Recording for the album was completed by June the following year, after they had headlined at that year’s Glastonbury Festival. But despite recording a multitude of songs, the band was convinced the output from it was “rubbish” and talked to their label, Parlophone Records, about postponing it’s release until later that year.

But upon hearing some songs that were held back for their third album – on a disc titled “Songs for #3” – the label insisted that these needed urgent beefing up to full production and including on the album. And so with that, A Rush Of Blood To The Head was in the can and ready to be unleashed to the world on Monday, 26th August 2002.

“In My Place” was one of the first songs the band had written and recorded when sessions for the album began up in Liverpool, and had been premiered at residual live shows in support of the Parachutes album. Of the song, Chris Martin said: “We felt it should be the first single because it was the song that made us want to do a second album. It kept us going and made us think we could still write songs.”

And with its distinctive guitar riff and moving lyrics, it was clear to see how right their decision to continue with a second album was. Released as the first single at the start of August, it at the time became their highest charting single in the UK to date, entering and peaking at #2. But it was only the tip of the iceberg when it came to the further global success once it’s parent album was released.

Not only was it critically acclaimed (The Guardian for example, in their review said it was “the sound of a band ready to take on the world”) but commercially it was a hit too. Selling over a quarter of a million copies in its first week on sale here, A Rush Of Blood To The Head topped the album chart as expected. It’s 3 million sales to date here in the UK have exceeded those of Parachutes.

But as more singles from the album came, including “The Scientist” (#10, November) and the near epic and Grammy Award winning “Clocks” (#9, March 2003), they also became one of the few British artists who were a huge success over in the States during the early 00s, as they set off on their first of numerous world tours they’ve taken in over their career.

In fact, with them set to play Wembley Stadium again in just a matter of weeks at time of writing, looking back twenty years on it’s no secret as to why Coldplay grew and took off at the rate they did in the early 00s. Timeless, classic songs with a wide appeal, especially if they’re as stunning as “In My Place”, will always have a space in modern music.

Don’t forget to follow our brand new playlist on Spotify – updated weekly so you never miss a song from the story of pop in 2002. And you can leave your memories of the songs below in the comments, Tweet us or message us on Instagram, using the hashtag #StoryofPop2002.

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