Chris Martin Reveals How Coldplay Made ‘Yellow’ on a Farm
“The studio definitely has the most unusual of stories,” explains director Hannah Berryman. “Started by two farmers who wanted to record themselves and other locals, it grew and grew, animals getting kicked out of barns to make way for the musicians…”
Berryman is describing Rockfield, a series of converted farmhouses deep in the Welsh countryside that holds the distinction of being the world’s first independent residential recording studio. A number of celebrated bands, from Black Sabbath and Oasis to Robert Plant and Queen, have recorded at Rockfield (you probably spotted it in the film Bohemian Rhapsody, as it’s where Freddie Mercury and the gang recorded that legendary tune). And the studio is the subject of Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm, a new feature documentary by Berryman that’s releasing online May 14.
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Another band that touched Rockfield is the chart-topping rock group Coldplay, the U.K. act comprised of Chris Martin, Will Champion, Jonny Buckland, and Guy Berryman. After meeting at University College London, releasing their EP Safety, and inking a five-album deal with Parlophone, the fellas wrote and recorded portions of their debut album Parachutes at Rockfield.
“When Coldplay arrived they’d only recently been signed and not yet had a hit,” says Berryman. “They’d started recording in London, but it hadn’t gone too well, so this was make or break really. This farm, set in the majestic green Welsh hills, turned out to the inspiration they needed.”
And it was at Rockfield that Coldplay found the inspiration to record their first big hit—and arguably their greatest song: “Yellow.” As the story goes, after laying down a track, their co-producer Ken Nelson told them to come outside and look at the stars shining brightly in the night sky.
“Anyway, I went back in to sit behind the control desk… and then that chord… I started doing that [strumming]… and then I started thinking about Neil Young, ‘Stars…. for you….’” recalls Chris Martin in Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm.
In this exclusive clip from Rockfield: The Studio on the Farm, watch Martin explain how Coldplay crafted “Yellow” in this magical woodland place:
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