Speed Of Sound

News

Yes

“Speed of Sound” is the lead single from Coldplay’s 2005 album, X&Y.

It made its radio premiere on BBC Radio 1 with Steve Lamacq on the evening of Monday, 18 April 2005. Beginning with a piano riff reminiscent of Coldplay’s “Clocks”, the song builds into a huge, synth-heavy chorus: “Birds go flying at the speed of sound, to show you how it all began / Birds came flying from the underground, if you could see it then you’d understand.”

The song was created as the band attempted to work through a cover version of Kate Bush’s song, “Running Up That Hill” ; the main riff of Speed of Sound resembles that of Bush’s song.

“Speed of Sound” was infamously beaten to the number one spot on the UK Singles Chart by the novelty song “Axel F” by the Crazy Frog. However, it became Coldplay’s first UK Download #1. It also became Coldplay’s first and biggest single to chart in the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #8, making it arguably Coldplay’s most successful single.


Contents

Best Rock Performance By A Duo Or Group With Vocals

The Oracle on Speed Of Sound


September 1, 2011 – submitted by Colin, United States of America

Q. Where was the music video for Speed of Sound filmed? It has to be one of the best sets of all of Coldplay’s music videos.

The Oracle replies:

There is an accurate paragraph about the video here.

July 25, 2011 – submitted by Sourjyo, India

Q. Why don’t they perform Speed Of Sound live anymore? Talk and Fix You are still being performed and it’s not even that old (compared to Yellow or Clocks).

The Oracle replies:

I’m glad they’re not playing it; it’s my least favourite single (sorry!) They can’t play everything but Yellow and Fix You are hardly likely to ever be dropped from the live set. I don’t know what show you’ve seen/listened to recently but Talk isn’t actually on the current setlist.

March 3, 2011 – submitted by Phyllis, United States of America

Q. Oh Oracle,

Do you know what song was played to wake the shuttle astronauts on March 2, 2011? Thanks!

The Oracle replies:

I sure do, Speed of Sound! Very appropriate eh? And on Chris’ birthday too.

You can follow NASA’s latest mission updates via Twitter where they posted:

“Mission Control woke up the crews at 5:24 am EST to begin Flight Day 7. “Speed of Sound” by Coldplay was played for shuttle Pilot Eric Boe”.

April 9, 2010 – submitted by Lucas, Canada

Q. Dear Oracle, what exactly is the screen-looking thing that the band used in their music video for “Speed of Sound”?

Thx in advance!

The Oracle replies:

It’s actually a wall of LED lights. It’s all quite technical but of course very effective!


Lyrics


How long before I get in?
Before it starts, before I begin?
How long before you decide?
Before I know what it feels like?
Where to, where do I go?
If you never try, then you’ll never know.
How long do I have to climb,
Up on the side of this mountain of mine?

Look up, I look up at night,
Planets are moving at the speed of light.
Climb up, up in the trees,
every chance that you get,
is a chance you seize.
How long am I gonna stand,
with my head stuck under the sand?
I’ll start before I can stop,
before I see things the right way up.

All that noise, and all that sound,
All those places I got found.
And birds go flying at the speed of sound,
to show you how it all began.
Birds came flying from the underground,
if you could see it then you’d understand?

Ideas that you’ll never find,
All the inventors could never design.
The buildings that you put up,
in Japan and China all lit up.
The sign that I couldn’t read,
or a light that I couldn’t see,
some things you have to believe,
but others are puzzles, puzzling me.

All that noise, and all that sound,
All those places I got found.
And birds go flying at the speed of sound,
to show you how it all began.
Birds came flying from the underground,
if you could see it then you’d understand,
oh when you see it then you’ll understand?

All those signs, I knew what they meant.
Some things you can invent.
Some get made, and some get sent,
Ooh
Birds go flying at the speed of sound,
to show you how it all began.
Birds came flying from the underground,
if you could see it then you’d understand,
oh, when you see it then you’ll understand.


Trivia


  • Coldplay were the first British band to enter directly in the top ten of Billboards Hot 100 chart since “Hey Jude” by The Beatles.

  • Coldplay premiered “Speed of Sound” at a small warm-up gig in London in March 2005.

  • During their performance of “Speed of Sound” at the 2005 Glastonbury Festival, Chris asked “Crazy Frog, where are you now?”. This was a reference to the fact “Speed of Sound” was beaten to the UK number 1 spot by “Crazy Frog”.

  • There is another song by this title, written by Chris Bell.

  • “Speed of Sound” appears on the videogame Singstar rocks.

  • The song is a part of the comedian “Weird Al” Yankovic’s polka medley Polkarama in his October 2006 hit album, Straight Outta Lynwood.

  • “Speed of Sound” was the billionth download from iTunes.