Apple’s press conference to announce Ping and iPod updates featured another surprise: A new song from Chris Martin, who appeared as a special guest. "It might not even come out," Martin said of the ballad, "Wedding Bells," which he played alone at the piano. "[This] could be the only time it ever appears." (Martin also played "Viva La Vida," a song he admits owes much of its success to its placement in an Apple commercial.)
Some Coldplay fans have known about “Wedding Bells” since last fall, when a video showing Martin play a version on acoustic guitar appeared on YouTube. (The clip originated from British television.) “If I hear a new chord that I haven’t heard — it clicks something and the melody comes out,” he said at the time. “It’s actually better on guitar, I think.” Today’s version sounded tighter and more emotional. Toward the end, though, Martin improvised on a melody that, channeled through roaring guitars, could be the groundwork for an epic new Coldplay hit.
Coldplay have been working on a fifth studio album with Brian Eno, who produced 2008’s Viva La Vida. In February, Eno discussed the sessions, saying, "It's quite different from anything they've done before ... so far, anyway. I don't know how it will end up being, but it's very fresh." Martin previewed "Christmas Lights" on 60 Minutes in 2009, and Coldplay played the Springsteen-style "Don Quixote/Spanish Rain" on tour in South America this year.