U2’s Bono on Coldplay: They should not be judged by rock rules

U2 frontman Bono has said Coldplay should not be “judged by rock rules” as he revealed his favourite song by the British band is Clocks.

Dublin-born singer Bono, real name Paul Hewson, was speaking on new series Music Uncovered, the first instalment of which sees BBC Radio 1’s Greg James attempt to “unravel the phenomenon” of Coldplay.

Music Uncovered: The Genius Of Coldplay features eight episodes with James speaking to people close to the band, including manager Phil Harvey and Glastonbury co-organiser Emily Eavis, as well as musicians who have worked with the band through the years.

Coldplay – Music Of The Spheres World Tour
Coldplay in concert at Manchester’s Etihad Stadium as part of their Music Of The Spheres tour (Peter Byrne/PA)

“The clock face of one band sharing a moment in time… I remember when I first heard it, punching the air in a manly but not aggressive way, and then the feeling of, ‘oh, this is just better than anyone else’s song at the moment’.

“I should mention Coldplay are not a rock band. I hope that’s obvious. There is something much more interesting going on there like the Isley Brothers or something.

“They should not be judged by rock rules… Rage is the river running under most rock formations. Coldplay’s music has a different source and I think it’s best revealed in this song Clocks.”

The Grammy award-winning band – Chris Martin, Jonny Buckland, Guy Berryman and Will Champion – were recently announced as part of this year’s Glastonbury line-up.

Graham Norton Show – London
Bono spoke to BBC Radio 1’s Greg James (Matt Crossick/PA)

They move ahead of The Cure, who have headlined four times.

Coldplay’s appearance at Worthy Farm comes amid their world tour, titled Music of the Spheres.

Eavis recalled their 2016 headline set, which included a tribute to British band Viola Beach and their manager.

Indie four-piece Viola Beach – Kris Leonard, River Reeves, Tomas Lowe and Jack Dakin, – and their manager Craig Tarry were killed in a crash in Sweden in 2016 when their car plunged more than 80ft from a bridge into a canal near the capital Stockholm.

Coldplay performed Viola Beach’s song Boys That Sing on the Pyramid Stage, in a tribute to “all the bands that don’t exist any more”.

Lead singer Chris Martin said: “We’re going to create Viola Beach’s alternate future for them and let them headline Glastonbury with their song.

“So Kris and Jack and River and Tomas and their manager Craig, this is what would have maybe been you in 20 years or so and I hope we do this song justice.”

Eavis said: “The crowd had just stayed… quite often… with headliners, people move about a bit, but the field was full and everybody was just totally locked in and they always have the most beautiful light shows, and it was just kind of covering the valley… the clouds were kind of overhead and the lights were just beaming on to the clouds and bouncing around in the valley.

“And the band were on stage and it was just a sort of beautiful, colourful, joyous moment, really.

“In a time where they’re headlining and it’s their stage, it’s very unusual for a headliner to give their stage over. But it was exactly right. And so fitting and so beautiful and so moving. And I just thought. God, where can it go from here, really?”

Music Uncovered: The Genius Of Coldplay with Greg James is available as a box set on BBC Sounds from May 13.

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