Speed Of Sound

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"Speed of Sound" is the lead single from Coldplay's 2005 album, X&Y.

It made its radio premiere on BBC Radio 1 with Steve Lamacq on the evening of Monday, 18 April 2005. Beginning with a piano riff reminiscent of Coldplay's "Clocks", the song builds into a huge, synth-heavy chorus: "Birds go flying at the speed of sound, to show you how it all began / Birds came flying from the underground, if you could see it then you'd understand."

The song was created as the band attempted to work through a cover version of Kate Bush's song, "Running Up That Hill" ; the main riff of Speed of Sound resembles that of Bush's song.

"Speed of Sound" was infamously beaten to the number one spot on the UK Singles Chart by the novelty song "Axel F" by the Crazy Frog. However, it became Coldplay's first UK Download #1. It also became Coldplay's first and biggest single to chart in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #8, making it arguably Coldplay's most successful single.

Contents

Track listings

Japan

  • CD TOCP-40179 released 11 May 2005 by Toshiba-EMI
  1. "Speed of Sound" - 4:49
  2. "Things I Don't Understand" - 4:55
  3. "Proof" - 4:10

UK

  • CD CDR6664, 7" R6664, 12" 12R6664, 10" 10R6664
  1. "Speed of Sound" - 4:49
  2. "Things I Don't Understand" - 4:55
  3. "Proof" - 4:10 (CD and 10" only)

Australia

  • CD 872 9862 released 23 May 2005 by Capitol Records
  1. "Speed of Sound" - 4:49
  2. "Things I Don't Understand" - 4:55
  3. "Proof" - 4:10

Cover images

Music video

"Speed of Sound" video

The video promo for "Speed of Sound" was shot on a Los Angeles sound stage over 22–23 April 2005. Shooting took place on large sets backed by large LED displays. The performance based video was helmed by Mark Romanek, who was responsible for Johnny Cash's "Hurt" and Jay-Z's "99 Problems". The video earned 4 nominations at the 2005 MTV Video Music Awards.

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Awards and nominations

Awards

Year Award Category
2005 MTV Europe Music Awards Best Song
2006 Brit Awards Best British Single
2006 ASCAP Awards Song of the Year

Nominations

Year Award Category
2005 MTV Video Music Awards Video of the Year
2005 MTV Video Music Awards Best Special Effects
2005 MTV Video Music Awards Best Editing
2005 MTV Video Music Awards Best Cinematography
2006 Grammy Awards Best Rock Song
2006 Grammy Awards Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals

The Oracle on Speed Of Sound

September 1, 2011 - submitted by Colin, United States of America
Q. Where was the music video for Speed of Sound filmed? It has to be one of the best sets of all of Coldplay's music videos.
The Oracle replies:
There is an accurate paragraph about the video here.

July 25, 2011 - submitted by Sourjyo, India
Q. Why don't they perform Speed Of Sound live anymore? Talk and Fix You are still being performed and it's not even that old (compared to Yellow or Clocks).
The Oracle replies:
I'm glad they're not playing it; it's my least favourite single (sorry!) They can't play everything but Yellow and Fix You are hardly likely to ever be dropped from the live set. I don't know what show you've seen/listened to recently but Talk isn't actually on the current setlist.

March 3, 2011 - submitted by Phyllis, United States of America
Q. Oh Oracle,
Do you know what song was played to wake the shuttle astronauts on March 2, 2011? Thanks!
The Oracle replies:
I sure do, Speed of Sound! Very appropriate eh? And on Chris' birthday too.
You can follow NASA's latest mission updates via Twitter where they posted:
"Mission Control woke up the crews at 5:24 am EST to begin Flight Day 7. "Speed of Sound" by Coldplay was played for shuttle Pilot Eric Boe".

April 9, 2010 - submitted by Lucas, Canada
Q. Dear Oracle, what exactly is the screen-looking thing that the band used in their music video for "Speed of Sound"?
Thx in advance!
The Oracle replies:
It's actually a wall of LED lights. It's all quite technical but of course very effective!

Lyrics

How long before I get in?
Before it starts, before I begin?
How long before you decide?
Before I know what it feels like?
Where to, where do I go?
If you never try, then you'll never know.
How long do I have to climb,
Up on the side of this mountain of mine?

Look up, I look up at night,
Planets are moving at the speed of light.
Climb up, up in the trees,
every chance that you get,
is a chance you seize.
How long am I gonna stand,
with my head stuck under the sand?
I'll start before I can stop,
before I see things the right way up.

All that noise, and all that sound,
All those places I got found.
And birds go flying at the speed of sound,
to show you how it all began.
Birds came flying from the underground,
if you could see it then you'd understand?

Ideas that you'll never find,
All the inventors could never design.
The buildings that you put up,
in Japan and China all lit up.
The sign that I couldn't read,
or a light that I couldn't see,
some things you have to believe,
but others are puzzles, puzzling me.

All that noise, and all that sound,
All those places I got found.
And birds go flying at the speed of sound,
to show you how it all began.
Birds came flying from the underground,
if you could see it then you'd understand,
oh when you see it then you'll understand?

All those signs, I knew what they meant.
Some things you can invent.
Some get made, and some get sent,
Ooh
Birds go flying at the speed of sound,
to show you how it all began.
Birds came flying from the underground,
if you could see it then you'd understand,
oh, when you see it then you'll understand.

Trivia

  • Coldplay were the first British band to enter directly in the top ten of Billboards Hot 100 chart since "Hey Jude" by The Beatles.
  • Coldplay premiered "Speed of Sound" at a small warm-up gig in London in March 2005.
  • During their performance of "Speed of Sound" at the 2005 Glastonbury Festival, Chris asked "Crazy Frog, where are you now?". This was a reference to the fact "Speed of Sound" was beaten to the UK number 1 spot by "Crazy Frog".
  • There is another song by this title, written by Chris Bell.
  • "Speed of Sound" appears on the videogame Singstar rocks.
  • The song is a part of the comedian "Weird Al" Yankovic's polka medley Polkarama in his October 2006 hit album, Straight Outta Lynwood.
  • "Speed of Sound" was the billionth download from iTunes.


Chris Martin | Guy Berryman | Jonny Buckland | Will Champion
Phil Harvey | Brian Eno | Ken Nelson
Discography
EPs: Safety EP | The Blue Room EP | Norwegian Live EP | Prospekt's March EP | Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall
Albums: Parachutes | A Rush of Blood to the Head | X&Y | Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends | Mylo Xyloto
Live albums: Live 2003 | LeftRightLeftRightLeft | Live 2012
Compilations: The Singles 1999-2006
Miscellaneous: Ode to Deodorant | Mince Spies | Christmas Lights
Unofficial collections: A Rush Of B-Sides To Your Head | Castles | After After Before
Singles: Brothers & Sisters | Shiver | Yellow | Trouble | Don't Panic | In My Place | The Scientist | Clocks | God Put A Smile Upon Your Face | Speed of Sound | Fix You | Talk | The Hardest Part | What If | Violet Hill | Viva la Vida | Lost! | Lovers In Japan | Life In Technicolor ii | Strawberry Swing | Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall | Paradise | Charlie Brown | Princess Of China | Hurts Like Heaven
Tours: A Rush of Blood to the Head Tour | Twisted Logic Tour | Latin America Tour 2007 | Viva La Vida Tour | Mylo Xyloto Tour
Other Stuff
Songs | Videography | Concert Reviews | Coldplay Chronology | Collaborations
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