During David Bowie's long hiatus prior to releasing The Next Day, the singer would sporadically reappear to contribute background vocals for artists like Arcade Fire ("Reflektor"), TV on the Radio and Scarlett Johansson. However, when Chris Martin attempted to recruit Bowie to contribute vocals to a song Coldplay was working on, Bowie rejected the collaboration because the track wasn't good enough.
Martin made the revelation at the inaugural BBC Music Awards on December 11th during a video tribute to Bowie, a nominee for the British Artist of the Year award. "One time I sent him a song to ask him to sing on it. He called me and said, 'It's not one of your best,'" Martin admitted (via NME). "He's got very high standards and I appreciate that. It inspires the rest of us to keep our standards high." Martin didn't elaborate which Coldplay song Bowie had turned down.
Despite being rejected by Bowie, Martin had nothing but praise for The Next Day. "When 'Where Are We Now?' came out I was staggered, and also annoyed," Martin said at the BBC Music Awards. "Like, 'Come on, it's not fair.' He's already got all these amazing songs and then this instant classic."
If Coldplay hopes to get Bowie to join them in the studio, they better write something that meets his high standards, and fast: Martin previously hinted that the band's in-the-works next LP, tentatively titled A Head Full of Dreams, could be their "final" album. "It's our seventh thing, and the way we look at it, it's like the last Harry Potter book or something like that," Martin said. "I have to think of it as the final thing we're doing. Otherwise we wouldn't put everything into it."