Paradise (Coldplay song)

Single by Coldplay
from the album Mylo Xyloto
Released 12 September 2011 (2011-09-12)
Format Digital download
Recorded 2010 (2010) – 11 (11)
  • 4:39 (album version)
  • 4:20 (radio edit)
Coldplay singles chronology
"Every Teardrop Is a Waterfall"
"Charlie Brown"
Music video
"Paradise" on YouTube

"Paradise" is a song by British alternative rock band Coldplay. The song was released on 12 September 2011 as the second single from their fifth studio album, Mylo Xyloto.[3] The song received its radio debut at 7:50 a.m. on The Chris Moyles Show (BBC Radio 1) on 12 September 2011.[4][5] According to Coldplay's official website, the single was not initially chart eligible in the United Kingdom, because it was available on iTunes as an "instant grat" (immediate download) when pre-ordering the album.[6] Following the release of the album on 30 October 2011, the song became chart eligible in the UK and entered the UK Singles Chart at number 14, before taking the number 1 spot on its tenth week, becoming the band's second number-one single after "Viva la Vida" in 2008. The song was met with positive reviews, and was the best selling rock song of 2011 in the United Kingdom, selling 410,000 copies.[7]

On 30 November, the song was nominated for a Grammy Award, in the category Best Pop Duo/Group Performance. On 12 February 2012, Coldplay performed "Paradise" live at the RE, along with "Princess of China".[8] At the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards on 6 September, the song won the award for Best Rock Video.[9] Following the 2012 Stanley Cup playoffs on CBC, the song was featured in a yearly finale montage on CBC recapping the Stanley Cup Playoffs as well as British and American television advertisements and trailers for the Academy Award winning film Life of Pi which was nominated for 11 Academy Awards.


In 2010, the producers of ITV reality show The X Factor originally approached Chris Martin to write a winner's song for the seventh series of the show in 2010. "Paradise" was originally conceived by Martin as a response to the show's request, but drummer Will Champion insisted that the song be included on Mylo Xyloto.[10]


Critical reception

The song was met with positive reviews from the majority of music critics. Billboard gave a positive review calling the track "another slice of hug-warm ecstasy" and gave praise to the "boiling strings, rattling synthesizers, and bass-heavy-beats" saying "it shows they know how to bring a few new tricks to the table". Both Q and Rolling Stone offered similar praise, and also noted that it was another step in the right direction. gave a similar review remarking that there are "Drums that you would expect in a Rihanna song and melodies you would expect from a band like Friendly Fires and the "oohs" from 3OH!3 is what you first hear. That is, of course, until Chris Martin's vocals come into play and there is no doubt in your mind that this is Coldplay. A wonderful chorus of "para-para-paradise" reminds you just how good they really are. It will remain with you for weeks to come, like that new piece of clothing you just can't get enough of". said, in a three-and-a-half star review, that "even when Coldplay sound a bit like they are spinning their wheels musically, it can still have quite beautiful moments. The huge opening fanfare of 'Paradise' is simply gorgeous" but felt the rest of the song didn't hold up as well as it could have. NME gave a more mixed reaction to the song and felt that "It's hard to say what the band is aiming for with the song. To replicate the epic football stadium 'moment' of 'Yellow'? The energy of a 'Viva La Vida'? If so it doesn't quite work on either count" but continued "if you're going to have a mid-paced Coldplay-by-numbers single-single, you may as well have one as grand and gorgeous as 'Paradise'."

Chart performance

"Paradise" became a top five hit in 16 countries. In the United States it peaked at number 15 on the Billboard Hot 100. Following the release on 12 September 2011, "Paradise" was revealed chart ineligible in the United Kingdom, having been offered as an "instant grat" (immediate download) for anyone who pre-ordered the album, Mylo Xyloto. The release of the album on 24 October 2011 saw "Paradise" debut at number 14 on the UK Singles Chart with sales of 27,277 copies (the track had a total of 118,547 downloads in the six weeks of chart ineligibility). After being made purchasable at 59p (instead of 99p) on the UK's iTunes Store and being played on the X Factor final, "Paradise" regained momentum in the UK and climbed up to number two on 18 December 2011. On 1 January 2012, almost four months after its release, "Paradise" peaked at number one becoming the first number-one single of 2012 in the UK. It is Coldplay's first UK number-one single since "Viva la Vida" (2008). "Paradise" was the biggest-selling rock single of 2011 in the UK, with sales of 410,000 copies.[11] It has sold 954,500 copies in the UK as of February 2016.[12]

Live performances

"Paradise" was first played for a television studio audience on the night of 9 September 2011. It was shot for France 2's Taratata, a Parisian music show. The crowd's response of this first performance was described as "unmistakable" by one of the band's roadies.[13] The song was first played for a big audience at the Austin City Limits Taping event on 15 September 2011 and then on the following day at the Austin City Limits Festival when it was for the first time officially broadcast live.

Coldplay performed the song on the finale of The X Factor, as well as an episode of Saturday Night Live in which the band was the musical guest. On 28 October, Coldplay performed the song before a studio audience on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

"Paradise" became the anthem for the 2012 Summer Paralympics and was played twice during the closing ceremony, the latter performance featuring rapper Jay-Z.

Music videos

Screenshot from the official video version, showing Chris Martin on a unicycle in an elephant costume.

Coldplay initially announced that the single's music video would be directed by Hype Williams[14] but that version was scrapped after shooting and the band decided instead to record a new version directed by long-time collaborator Mat Whitecross. The band called Whitecross just a day before the shooting and the video's concept was finished just hours before the director traveled from London to South Africa. The band's frontman Chris Martin created the video's concept storyline, which was ultimately filmed in the style of a nature documentary. The unicycle and elephant suits had to be found in a hurry. The suits had to be as lo-fi and spontaneous as possible.[15] The video was released on 19 October 2011.[16]

In the video, a man dressed as an elephant (played by Chris Martin) escapes from a zoo (which is Paradise Wildlife Park) in London and attempts to hitch-hike his way to another country (doing so finally by stowing away inside a suitcase). An aerial shot reveals that his initial destination was Cape Town, South Africa. He is then seen wandering around Johannesburg, at one point, walking past Nelson Mandela Bridge and a set of railway tracks in Braamfontein. He then earns enough money (which appears to be ZAR 67.05, roughly equivalent to GBP 5.34 or USD 8.40) for a unicycle by busking on the street, and after a seemingly hopeless wander comes across three other elephants (the rest of Coldplay) playing the song in the veld (South African grasslands). The video shifts to the band playing a concert together, before returning to the veld where they run towards the camera.

The music video was shot on location in London, Cape Town, the Klein Karoo in the Western Cape and Johannesburg.[17] The bike shop shown is Woodstock Cycleworks in Woodstock, Cape Town. The concert segment was filmed at the end of a live show at the FNB Stadium in Nasrec, Johannesburg, on 8 October 2011. After performing this song live, the band donned their elephant heads and gloves and pretended to perform as the last minute of the studio recording played. The concertgoers were encouraged to cheer as if they were really performing. While preparing for the shoot, Chris told the waiting crowd, "When you're not as attractive as Beyoncé, you have to do what you can for videos."

Another music video was directed by Shynola who had directed the video for "Strawberry Swing". The video was intended as the first incarnation for the video before the band came up with the elephant concept.[18] The promo pictures the life of a little girl that comes out from jail.

A special video of "Paradise" was created for the 2012 Summer Paralympics and shown between event breaks. This version featured clips of Paralympian Athletes competing in events.

In 2012, the song was played at the Sydney New Year's Eve Embrace Midnight fireworks display, on December 31st.

Track listing

UK promotional single
1."Paradise" (Radio Edit)4:20
2."Paradise" (Instrumental)4:38
Digital download
1."Paradise"  4:38


Digital download – Fedde le Grand Remix[19]
1."Paradise" (Fedde le Grand Remix)7:15
Digital download – Tiësto Remix
1."Paradise" (Tiësto Remix)4:45

Charts and certifications

Weekly charts

Chart (2011–14) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[20] 3
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[21] 22
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[22] 3
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Wallonia)[23] 3
Brazil (Billboard Brasil Hot 100)[24] 13
Brazil Hot Pop Songs[24] 2
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[25] 13
Czech Republic (Rádio Top 100)[26] 1
Czech Republic (Singles Digitál Top 100)[27] 67
Denmark (Tracklisten)[28] 5
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[29] 5
France (SNEP)[30] 5
Germany (Official German Charts)[31] 12
Germany (Airplay Chart)[32] 1
Greece Digital Songs (Billboard)[33] 5
Hungary (Rádiós Top 40)[34] 7
Ireland (IRMA)[35] 2
Israel (Media Forest)[36] 2
Italy (FIMI)[37] 2
Japan (Japan Hot 100)[38] 16
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[39] 3
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[40] 3
Norway (VG-lista)[41] 1
South Korea International Singles (Gaon)[42] 84
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[43] 5
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[44] 4
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[45] 1
US Billboard Hot 100[46] 15
US Adult Alternative Songs (Billboard)[47] 1
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[48] 27
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard)[49] 5
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[50] 1
US Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[51] 7
US Hot Rock Songs (Billboard)[52] 3
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard)[53] 35


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Australia (ARIA)[54] 6× Platinum 420,000^
Belgium (BEA)[55] Gold 15,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[56] 3× Platinum 240,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[57] Platinum 30,000^
France (SNEP)[58] Gold 150,000*
Germany (BVMI)[59] Gold 150,000^
Italy (FIMI)[60] 3× Platinum 90,000*
Mexico (AMPROFON)[61] Platinum 60,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[62] 2× Platinum 30,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[63] Platinum 965,500[12]
United States (RIAA)[64] Platinum 1,000,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Year-end charts

Chart (2011) Position
Australian Singles Chart[65] 54
Belgian Singles Chart (Flanders)[66] 47
Belgian Singles Chart (Wallonia)[67] 72
Hungarian Airplay Chart[68] 85
Netherlands (Mega Single Top 100)[69] 25
New Zealand Singles Chart[70] 32
Spanish Singles Chart[71] 43
Swiss Singles Chart[72] 34
UK Singles Chart (OCC)[73] 39
Chart (2012) Position
Hungary (Rádiós Top 40)[74] 52
Israel (Media Forest)[75] 11
New Zealand Singles Chart[76] 49
UK Singles Chart[77] 45
US Billboard Hot 100[78] 69

Release history

Region Date Format Label
United Kingdom[79] 12 September 2011 Digital download Parlophone
United States[80]
United States[81][82][83][84] 26 September 2011 Adult album alternative radio Capitol
27 September 2011 Modern rock radio
3 October 2011 Hot adult contemporary radio
4 October 2011 Contemporary hit radio


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