Safety EP

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Safety EP Album Cover

The Safety EP was the first public release by English band Coldplay. It was recorded over a weekend during May 1998, and was intended as a demo for record companies. It was financed by the band and their manager Phil Harvey for around £200.

Everyone involved was so pleased with the finished product that they decided to pay for 500 copies to be manufactured for distribution around London, however only 50 copies ever made it to record stores, as they gave most of the copies away to record companies and their friends and families.[1] The EP is such a rarity that it is known to fetch in excess of £2000 on eBay.

The cover photo of singer and pianist Chris Martin was taken by John Hilton, a friend of the band. It was revealed that it was him on Coldplay's timeline on their website.

Track listing

  1. "Bigger Stronger" – 4:46
  2. "No More Keeping my Feet on the Ground" – 4:30
  3. "Such a Rush" – 4:56

Artwork

On June 10th 2010, the official Coldplay site [2] begun a new series of news articles that focus on interviewing the designers of some of the artwork to their previous releases. They began with Coldplay's very first release, the self-funded Safety EP, of which only 500 copies were released in May 1998. Its cover was designed by a friend of the band, John Hilton.

Hi John. So you designed Coldplay's first two covers.

I did, yeah. The Safety one and the Brothers & Sisters one.

How did you meet them?

I was friends with Jonny from school. In fact, I was in a band with him in sixth form. When he moved to London for university, I moved to Birmingham to do an art course. They started doing their band stuff and I'd come down to visit them in halls of residence. I was doing photography at the time, so I was taking lots of photographs of them when they first started.

And how did you come to design the Safety EP cover?

My course was a a commercial art course, so I asked if I could do a cover for one of my projects. And they were happy to do that. At the time, nobody really thought they were going anywhere, so nobody was that bothered!

Where is that photograph from?

It's just a photograph that I took of Chris. Just a really blurry picture. And the Safety bit actually came from the little bit of writing on the top of the camera film. I just dropped the negative down and it came out on the print.

Is that where it got its title from?

I think so, yeah. They were happy just to leave it there. So the name came from the picture.

Where's the picture of Chris from?

Probably from a gig at the Laurel Tree, in London.

Is it deliberately blurred?

Well, there were just loads of pictures, all in black and white. There were blurred ones and sharp ones, but that one just looked nicely weird. I suppose at the time, I was justifying it as trying to capture him moving around the stage and being all crazy. And it also it fitted in with that dark, Radiohead-y thing that everyone was into at the time.

Did you create the Coldplay logo too?

I can't actually remember who did that. But I might well have done.

Did you have other ideas for that cover?

I think there's a sketch book somewhere full of other ideas. There were even more Brothers & Sisters. I've got a whole notebook somewhere where Chris and the boys have written comments on each picture, saying things "No, I don't like this one, it's too spooky" or whatever. And then eventually we'd narrow it down to the one that they liked.

Were they taking the band quite seriously by this point?

Oh, definitely. At the time I did think they were going to get big, and I was telling all my mates at college about them. I remember when they did start making it, I was like "See, I told you!" It did always seem like they'd get somewhere. I'd go up with them to In The City or whatever to help put up posters and that sort of thing. It was obvious they were really good, but whether you got that lucky break or not was another thing. Happily, they did.

Were they demanding about the Safety EP cover?

No, they were quite easy with that one. The second one was a bit more difficult.

The Safety EP itself is worth quite a lot of money now.

Yeah. And guess what, I haven't got any! At the time my dad was telling me to ask for loads of them, but I thought that'd be a bit crass! But I used to take a few copies round in my portfolio when I was trying to get work as a graphic designer. They'd started to get big by then and it was a really good way of getting jobs in design places. My two are not the most amazing covers, obviously, but they did help me get some jobs! But as a consequence, I broke all the CD cases that I had and the CDs themselves got pulled out and put in different places, so I've ended up with none.

It'll cost you quite a bit to buy another.

Apparently so. I've heard they go for £800 on eBay.

But you're not very proud of the cover?

Actually, I like the Safety EP one. It's not a brilliant photograph by any means, but the reason I like it is that it's a photograph by a kid at college of some kids at college and they went on to be a really big band. So, in that way, I'm really chuffed about it.

Art History - Interview - Safety EP

The Oracle on the Safety EP

May 21, 2012 - submitted by Dhamar, Mexico
Q. Hey, dear Oracle!
What's first? Ode to Deodorant or Safety EP? I'm confused, please reply!
Greetings from all the members of the League of Latinamerican's Coldplayers!
Thank you!
The Oracle replies:
Safety (on CD) came first in May 1998. Ode to Deodorant (on cassette) was recorded later in the same year and served as a second demo.

February 9, 2012 - submitted by Josh, United Kingdom
Q. Dear Oracle, a couple of questions which will test your Coldplay knowledge.
Firstly, Ron Niblett (who produced the Safety EP) said there were 8 tracks recorded for the EP and they picked 3. What were the other 5? Did they get lost or did they go onto The Blue Room/Parachutes?
Secondly, on the Timeline there is a video relating to Coldplay/Starfish's first gig at The Laurel Tree. In the video there is a song playing with lyrics "there goes another day...", do they have a lot of unreleased old songs recorded and is there any way of getting them/could you envisage them ever being released somehow?
Thanks!
Josh
The Oracle replies: I have a cassette in storage about 200 miles away from me containing the songs recorded at that time. So Sad (the one you quoted from), Vitamins, Panic, High Speed spring to mind immediately but I am only guessing the other song was If All Else.
Panic became Don't Panic and High Speed was re-recorded twice before it ended up on Parachutes but wasn't initially considered. As I've said before, there are a lot of unreleased songs but as for this little lot, they won't be released.

January 26, 2012 - submitted by Sajni, United Kingdom
Q. I was looking online to see if I could buy the Saftey EP and I was shocked to find that it is about £1000 - £3000 I was just wondering why it is so expensive? Is it because it is now an antique item and because they have stopped making the CD's? Thanks!!
The Oracle replies:
Not exactly no. There were only 500 copies of the Safety EP pressed up back in 1998 and none since. That makes the EP an incredibly rare and much sought after item which is why the price is so high.

January 23, 2012 - submitted by Wde Le, Netherlands
Q. Q. Hello Oracle!
Why is the Safety - EP called Safety? There is no song on it that's called Safety.
So: why?
The Oracle replies:
Well, there doesn't have to be a song with the title of an EP or album but in answer as to why, it's because when the photo of the cover was developed, the word safety was still visible on the camera film. From negative to print it remained.

December 21, 2011 - submitted by Britt, United States of America
Q. Hello, Oracle! I have a CD copy of the Safety Room EP, but I'm not sure if it's the original 1999 version or the 2001 re-release. Is there any way to tell the difference?
The Oracle replies:
Unless I am going mad, do you mean The Blue Room? The Saftey EP was never re-released... It was 'released' in 1998 too so that would rule it out.
It's hard to know with The Blue Room but I'm not sure it would make much difference in financial worth or investment terms.

April 4, 2011 - submitted by John, United States of America
Q. Why did Coldplay name the Safety E.P. as they did?
The Oracle replies:
There's an interview with the band's lovely friend John Hilton who took the photo for the Safety E.P cover. He explains that the name came about accidentally from a piece of the camera film...

March 14, 2011 - submitted by Rolando, Peru
Q. Dear Oracle, does it exist a vinyl edition of the Safety EP?
The Oracle replies:
Safety EP was a CD only "release" so there isn't a vinyl.

April 14, 2010 - submitted by Gemma, United Kingdom
Q. I have a rare copy of Coldplay's Safety ep. What makes it even rarer is it comes enclosed with a signed letter to Jo Whiley begging her to play the CD - then a demo of sorts - on her radio show. I read a couple of years ago that the Safety ep could make around £2,000 and wondered if you had any idea how much my copy, complete with letter, would be worth? Am open to offers - even from Chris and co if they want to retrieve their letter for old time's sake!
The Oracle replies:
Well the band won't be buying that back seeing as though erm, it was theirs in the first place! Anyway, the Safety EP usually fetches around the £1,000 mark rather than double that amount. Your signed letter does make the item more desirable but it would depend on whether it was signed by the whole band and I guess who wrote it. At the time it would have been either Phil or Chris and of course Chris would be of more value in that scenario.
Or you could always auction it for charity presuming that particular CD was intended to - and yet didn't - reach Jo Whiley?

September 24, 2009 - submitted by Mehmet, Turkey
Q. Who is the man on the cover of Safety EP?
The Oracle replies:
That photograph was taken by the band's friend John Hilton and it's of Chris Martin.

July 7, 2009 - submitted by Matthew, United States of America
Q. Dear wise one,
Firece Panda Records Re-released Brothers and Sisters due to its extreme limited first run production. Are there any plans to do the same for the Safety ep? I think I speak for many Coldplay fans whose CD collections are incomplete without it. I understand that the original recordings can be found on other CD singles but it's nice to have the CD itself with album art. If there are no plans I think it would be a great idea....Just a thought. Please let me know what you think. If you can post this I would like everyone to know, if you have an original copy of the Safety ep....name your price. Thank you!
The Oracle replies:
Safety goes for around £1000 these days but I would never sell mine! There'll never be a re-release as it was for demo purposes only. Plus all the original recordings have appeared on official releases now, so you can have those...
Check the discography to see the singles which contain the Safety tracks.


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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