Christmas Lights

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Christmas Lights single cover

Christmas Lights was a song written by Coldplay in time for Christmas 2010. Described by the band, the song will be "in the key of G", before adding that it is a "mid-tempo number".

Contents

Release

Christmas Lights was available on iTunes from 8pm (GMT) on Wednesday December 1st, according to the official Coldplay website.[1]

To announce the release of Christmas Lights a handwritten note was posted on the official Coldplay website dated 24 November 2010.[2] As well as telling fans that the song is written in the key of G, the release date and that it will be available on iTunes, a portion of scrawl had been scribbled out which fans have worked out to read: "We are doing the video right now. It is a mid-tempo number."

Video

A few days before releasing a new single called "Christmas Lights", Coldplay braved the cold weather to film its music video at the South Bank of River Thames in London. They are seen performing the song on a small theater-inspired stage with red velvet curtains.

Several Elvis Presley impersonators play violins (including Phil Harvey and Simon Pegg), and a boat full of Coldplaying members[3] holding colorful balloons and singing the song in a choir-like fashion was floating on the river. "The idea for the video was like a magical, surreal theater show with loads of tricks packed in," frontman Chris Martin said.

In the meantime, fans could take a sneak peek through the behind-the-scenes footage[4]. Additionally, several on-set pictures have hit the web to provide closer look.[5]


Coldplaying Choir

The band also invited one hundred lucky fans to be part of the video and sing a small portion of their new song. The loyal one hundred flew to London from all over the globe for this special boat trip across the River Thames and an exclusive first listen to the much anticipated new track from Coldplay. The devoted fans gladly braved the blistery winter chill on the outdoor boat deck holding balloons in the air which were to be released whilst singing in a choir-like fashion.

Top of the Pops Appearance

On Wednesday 8th December, a few hundred people were able to see Coldplay film their appearance for the Christmas edition of "Top of the Pops". They played "Christmas Lights" four times. Some of the members of Coldplaying were lucky enough to attend and their reviews can be found on the following page 8 December 2010: Filming for Christmas Top of the Pops, BBC TV Centre, London, UK. The Christmas edition of "Top of the Pops" is usually aired on Christmas Day in the UK.

The Oracle on Christmas Lights

December 13, 2011 - submitted by Paul, United Kingdom
Q. I have been trying to get my hands on a copy of the CD of Christmas Lights since 2010... is there a chance you are going to sell it or stock it in any way shape or form, really wanna own it
The Oracle replies:
Does it have to be a physical copy? We don't have any. There were a limited number made but we didn't make them available for purchase. Anyway, the track is 59p this week from iTunes!

December 12, 2011 - submitted by Simon, United Kingdom
Q. Went to see the boys in Manchester they were unbelievable best I've ever seen them, but one problem they didn't play Christmas Lights :(
How come they haven't been playing it?
The Oracle replies:
The Manchester gig was on the 4th December which is a little early to be rolling out a Christmas song, no?
They performed it at Dingwalls last Tuesday but only as that is being broadcast this week on Radio 2 - a much more acceptable date to be playing festive songs I feel.
Oh and they did give it an airing on Saturday at the O2 as part of the Under 1 Roof night. It was interrupted by a certain Mr. Alan Partridge...

December 8, 2011 - submitted by Stan, United States of America
Q. Will they be playing Christmas Lights at any of their upcoming shows?
The Oracle replies:
On 1 December Will wrote "Christmas Lights being dusted off for the festive season" on the band's Twitter. It has been performed live this week already and I have a feeling it will be again...

May 9, 2011 - submitted by Junior, Australia
Q. G'day Oracle. I noticed in the song Christmas Lights that some of the lyrics used in the song were also from the unreleased song Wedding Bells. Does this mean we will never see a finished version of Wedding Bells? It would be a shame if it wasn't. Keep up the good work!
The Oracle replies:"
I very much doubt it myself but never say never. It isn't uncommon for a song to end up with lyrics from a previously written one as they often lend themselves better. If Wedding Bells ever does make the light of day, I would say there'd be some adjustment to the lyrics.

December 30, 2010 - submitted by Blake, United States of America
Q. Dearest Oracle,
Is the video performance of Christmas Lights from the Live Lounge available online? I've looked everywhere with no luck.
Thank you!
The Oracle replies:
Everywhere Blake? Are you sure about that? Here it is! Enjoy...

December 29, 2010 - submitted by Imrano, Singapore
Q. Hey Oracle!
Is the piano in the Christmas Lights video hand painted by the crew making the video or was it already painted when it arrived on set? It is stunning!
The Oracle replies:
Beautiful isn't it? It was hand painted by an artist prior to the video shoot.

December 28, 2010 - submitted by Aimee, United States of America
Q. Dear Oracle,
I hope you are well, yes? I've watched the Christmas Lights video numerous times, and I just love it. How on earth did the fans on the boat find out about it?! And why wasn't I invited? Ok, so I live far off on the other side of the pond . . .
Thanks and Merry Christmas! : )
The Oracle replies:
Once the idea for the video was confirmed we called on coldplaying.com for help to recruit fans to be part of the boat scene. In fact there were fans who travelled from the 'other side of the pond' as it wasn't restricted to U.K residents.

December 27, 2010 - submitted by Valentina, Colombia
Q. Hello again Oracle... :)
On Christmas Lights video the vinyl on the beginning, does it really exist? Is it available for purchasing?
Thank you and happy new year. Greetings.
The Oracle replies:
That record was merely a prop and the fantastic authentic central label on the vinyl was made by the multi-talented roadie, Miller.

December 21, 2010 - submitted by Valeria, Mexico
Q. Dear Oracle:
Can you tell me who are the 3 Elvises that appear on the Christmas Lights video?
p.s. Merry Christmas
The Oracle replies:
I'll assume that you mean the live version that was posted today? Anchorman did reveal who they were during the live blog from the show on Sunday night but from left to right we have Phil Harvey, Steve Strange (the band's live booking agent) and Anthony Martin (Chris' dad). Last night in Newcastle there were only 2 Elvises; brilliantly portrayed by Ant & Dec.
As previously answered the official video features Phil Harvey, Simon Pegg & Tim Crompton.

December 16, 2010 - submitted by Emilda, Malaysia
Q. How are you Oracle? I have questions for you; it's all about the Christmas Lights video:
1. When was the video was filmed?
2. Are those fireworks real?
3. Are they filming outdoors or indoors?
thanks so much!
The Oracle replies:
You may know where it was filmed as I have previously mentioned it and we now have the interview with Mat up on this website but recording took place on Thursday 25th November, less than one week before it was aired for the first time.
The fireworks weren't set off that night and so aren't "real" in terms of being live.
The entire filming took place outdoors on a specially designed set and of course a boat.

December 16, 2010 - submitted by Jens, Denmark
Q. Hello omniscient Oracle!
Hope you're having a great day.
I know this is a pretty irrelevant question, but I'm just asking it anyway. :)
In the new Christmas Lights video, who's hand is it that puts the pickup on the record in the very beginning?
Cheers
The Oracle replies:
It's a popular question Jens although the answer is not very exciting - no offence to the owner of the hand. It was a member of the filming crew so no-one we collectively know and love.

December 15, 2010 - submitted by Gretchen, United States of America
Q. Hello, Oracle!
I have two questions: 1) Is Oxford Street a real street and if so can you tell us about it and why someone would 'take their feet' there if they were feeling troubled? And 2) Are you tired of answering questions about Christmas Lights yet?!
I suppose that was technically 3 questions, so forgive me for that! ;)
Merry early Christmas, Oracle!
Gretchen
The Oracle replies:
Oxford Street is most likely the busiest shopping street in London and home to many large chains and department stores. It's pretty famous for its Christmas displays in shop windows and the lights that adorn the street. It's not necessarily somewhere you'd take your troubled self, in fact it's probably best avoided unless you want to be jostled around a fair bit - it's insanely populated most days let alone during the run up to Christmas. It can be synonymous with Christmas and I always see the lyric as referring to where one would have once gone to buy your loved one a gift.
I'm actually enjoying answering questions about the song Gretchen and there's plenty more in the Oracle's bank...

December 15, 2010 - submitted by Brad Scott, United States of America
Q. Do you remember when Coldplay was featured on 60 Minutes? Chris played a few notes of Christmas Lights for the interviewer (forgot his name). Why are the lyrics on the release of Christmas Lights different than the ones that Chris sings on the 60 Minutes clip from many months ago?
The Oracle replies:
Songs can sometimes go through many changes before the final track is recorded - even then they can be modified for live shows - Talk is an example of trying out different intros and lyrical changes. Obviously this isn't a blueprint but in the case of the version of Christmas Lights played on 60 minutes, that was then a work in progress.

December 13, 2010 - submitted by Chris, United Kingdom
Q. Hi Oracle, I was listening to the interview that Chris and Jonny gave on XFM. Chris was being very mysterious about the new album, BUT I do remember him joking about February 9th as a release date for Christmas Lights. I'm just wondering if this is a secret coded release of information for us very intrigued fans?? I hope so! :)
Thanks
Chris
The Oracle replies:
A couple of people have written in asking why Chris mentioned a February release date in radio interviews on the night Christmas Lights was released.
Just to clear this up he was referring to the fact that Christmas Lights isn't a song that you can release at any other time of year, such as February. A few fans got excited thinking he was talking about the album; he wasn't.
I guess this would be a good time to answer another question I was asked:
"Is Christmas Lights inherently a love song with Christmas context or a Christmas song with love context?" I'd say it's the former and as it wasn't written for the next album it made sense to release it at the start of the festive season - although some shops seem to think that is in October...

December 9, 2010 - submitted by Javier M E, Spain
Q. My cousin watched your Christmas Lights video and asked what Elvis had to do with Christmas. Of course I know Elvis Presley sung lots of Christmas songs, but I answered him that it might have been a mistake in the transcription or reading of the video script: Maybe the script writer intended to show THREE ELVES (like Santa's helpers) and someone read THREE ELVIS??
The Oracle replies:
Hahahahaha! That's funny! If you listen to the lyrics of the song - or you can read them here - you will hear (or see) there is actually an Elvis reference in the song so it's no mistake.

December 9, 2010 - submitted by Eman, Lebanon
Q. Dear Oracle,
I see in a previous question you clarified that the building in the Final scene in the video of Christmas Lights was St. Paul's Cathedral not a mosque, but what about at 1:14 in the video isn't that a mosque??
Also I'm guessing that Mat Whitecross directed the video of Christmas Light, did I guess right?
Thank you,
Eman = Faith
The Oracle replies:
The cardboard scenery you mean? Well, I had just thought it was maybe an Arabian skyline with no particular religious leanings at all. The song has no undertones alluding to it.

December 8, 2010 - submitted by Emily, United States of America
Q. Oracle!
Who did the art work on the Christmas Lights cover?
The Oracle replies:
It was Yu Matsuoka Pol.

December 8, 2010 - submitted by Kathryn, United States of America
Q. Where was the music video for Christmas Lights filmed? Many thanks! :)
The Oracle replies:
It was filmed at Southbank in London on the River Thames. This also answers other questions asked:
The building in the final scene is not a mosque nor is it The White House it is in fact St. Paul's Cathedral.

December 8, 2010 - submitted by Pranav, India
Q. Has the Christmas Lights video been shot in one shot? :)
The Oracle replies:
A few people have asked this and apparently the word on the street is that it was a single shot video. There might have only been one camera (to be confirmed) but I can assure you that the video was not filmed in just one take.
They didn't 'wrap' until around 3 in the morning.
FYI: For those who wish to know, 'wrap' is the term used when the final filming has taken place. My favourite example of the word being used is at 3 minutes 55 seconds in this.

December 2, 2010 - submitted by Marie, Czech Republic
Q. Dear Oracle.
What does it mean the sign above the curtain in the video Christmas Lights? Thank you
The Oracle replies:
Ha ha, a few people have been asking this. In the Christmas Lights video the words above the stage curtain say CREDO ELVEM ETIAM VIVERE. This means "I believe Elvis lives" in Latin.

December 2, 2010 - submitted by Nathanael, Ireland
Q. Hi Oracle, I've heard some rumours that Coldplay were forced to release Christmas Lights by EMI. Is this true?
The Oracle replies:
Utter rubbish Nath! It's a slightly long story to explain how that could/would work with some bands/labels but here that just wouldn't be and wasn't the case.

December 1, 2010 - submitted by Joseph, United States of America
Q. What did you mean when you said that Christmas Lights wasn't 'penned for the new album' in a response to Peter from Ireland? I looked through Coldplay's release history, and with the exception of the Parachutes album, a brand new single has only been released a month or less before a new album. This makes me think, "well hey Coldplay will have their album out for Christmas!" (And they better if they value my happiness.) I realize you couldn't tell us even if you did know when the next album comes out, but I just wanted to know what you meant in your other response. Thanks! :)
The Oracle replies:
Can I categorically say here and now that Christmas Lights is a stand alone song and has absolutely no bearing on what is to follow. Nor is it any indication of any kind as to when the album will be released. Please don't treat it as any previous single which is usually a prelude to an album; this is not the case.
I know that is both vague and specific but hey, let's just enjoy it!
The short answer is no.

December 1, 2010 - submitted by Santiago, Mexico
Q. Is it me or is Simon Pegg appearing on the video of Christmas Lights playing the violin?
Thanks a lot
The Oracle replies:
One of the Elvises - playing violin - is indeed Simon Pegg. (The other two are Phil Harvey & as mentioned yesterday, Tim Crompton).

November 30, 2010 - submitted by Kris, United States of America
Q. Is the Christmas Lights single going to have other songs on it? Like the previous singles?
The Oracle replies:
No, the track will just be released as a sole song with no extra tracks or b-sides.

November 30, 2010 - submitted by Jacob, United States of America
Q. Hello Oracle!
Have you been able to hear the entire Christmas Lights song or are you having to wait just like all of us?
The Oracle replies:
I was lucky enough to hear it a few weeks ago but it's not long now until everyone will hear it... It's rather exciting!

November 30, 2010 - submitted by Devin, Netherlands
Q. Will the single Christmas Lights only be available on iTunes, or will it be in the shops too as a CD?
Devin.
The Oracle replies:
The track will not be available to buy on CD in shops but to all those asking, it will be available on iTunes worldwide.

November 29, 2010 - submitted by Christina, United States of America
Q. Dear Oracle,
Who in the world is the third Elvis in the Christmas Lights video?! I can recognize Phil and Simon Pegg, but I don't know who the third one is. He looks a lot like Guy, but it is definitely not Guy!
Thank you, have a nice day!
The Oracle replies:
It's funny because from the photos I can see how the 3rd Elvis looks like Guy but obviously that's impossible!
The other Elvis is someone some of you may know - it is in fact Tim Crompton.

November 29, 2010 - submitted by Peter W, Ireland
Q. Oracle, is Christmas Lights an old song (Dec 2009) or is it a new album. While watching a video on YouTube I spied the titled and some Coldplay-esque art. The video was from December 2009.
The Oracle replies:
Yes Peter the idea for the song started a while ago and there were snippets of it available on the Internet e.g YouTube via video/interview footage. The song isn't penned for the new album however; it's just a single release that happens to be out this week - "cannot wait" - that we've had teasers of over the past year or so.

May 13, 2010 - submitted by Angelica, Philippines
Q. I heard a bit of a song on YouTube and it goes like this: "six feet of snow and water deep wish you would let your troubles sleep"...something like that... is there anyway that they could continue working on it and the release it...cause i really did like it.
The Oracle replies:
You were close enough with the lyrics. That song, Christmas Lights, was indeed worked on but as with all work in progress, whether it's ever officially released in any form remains to be seen. Plans constantly change during the writing and recording process so what starts as a clear song or album idea can frequently change back, forth and back again. Check out Roadie #42's Blog (#119 - 16.04.10) to see what I mean.

Lyrics

Christmas night, another fight
Tears we cried a flood
Got all kinds of poison in
Poison in my blood

I took my feet
To Oxford Street
Trying to right a wrong
Just walk away 
Those windows say
But I can't believe she's gone
 
When you're still waiting for the snow to fall
Doesn't really feel like Christmas at all

Up above candles on air flicker
Oh they flicker and they float
But I'm up here holding on
To all those chandeliers of hope

Like some drunken Elvis singing
I go singing out of tune
Saying how I always loved you darling
And I always will

Oh when you're still waiting for the snow to fall
Doesn't really feel like Christmas at all

Still waiting for the snow to fall
It doesn't really feel like Christmas at all

Those Christmas lights
Light up the street
Down where the sea and city meet
May all your troubles soon be gone
Oh Christmas lights keep shining on

Those Christmas lights
Light up the street
Maybe they'll bring her back to me
Then all my troubles will be gone
Oh Christmas lights keep shining on

Oh Christmas lights
Light up the street
Light up the fireworks in me
May all your troubles soon be gone
Oh Christmas lights keep shining on
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