As Steve Jobs concluded a music-heavy list of Apple product announcements yesterday in San Francisco, he introduced a surprise guest, Coldplay's Chris Martin, who took to the stage with a piano and unveiled a new song, "Wedding Bells."
"It could go terribly wrong," said the notoriously self-deprecating Martin as he prepared to play the tune, which he said "might not ever come out," and mentioned this might be its lone performance.
Like many songs in Coldplay's catalog, "Wedding Bells" had the feel of something instantly familiar, with Martin singing elegantly of love squandered. "Wedding bells ringing up upon that hill / And I don't wanna swallow such a bitter pill," Martin crooned in the chorus, which reminded us a bit of Bruce Springsteen's "Hungry Heart." "You keep on movin' but baby I stay still / I always loved you and I always will."
Before playing it, Martin uncorked some clever Apple-related humor. "This is a new song that we've been working on called 'Coldplay 2.6.' It has a lot of features," he quipped. "It features seven different kinds of chord, including a new one that even our closest rivals have no idea about which [Apple's legendary designer of the iMac, iPod, etc.] Jonathan Ive designed. It's the chord of I-minor."
Martin, clad in a Flaming Lips T-shirt, also played "Yellow," from his band's 2000 debut album, Parachutes, and a scratchy-throated take on "Viva la Vida," the title track from Coldplay's 2008 album, which was featured in an iPod ad.
"This song was around for awhile, six months, and our record company said, 'This is not a hit single,' and they were probably right," Martin said before playing "Viva la Vida." "But with the weight of Apple, they managed to turn it from a pile of something terrible into our most successful song. So we're very grateful. Which proves that your marketing people can sell anything."
Click here to watch video of the performance. You'll have to fast-forward to the 1:11:47 mark to see Jobs introduce Martin, and to the 1:22:00 mark for "Wedding Bells." The video plays in Safari web browsers only.