March 2: Lead singer Chris Martin of Cold Play ("Viva La Vida") is 34 today.

Christopher Anthony John "Chris" Martin is a British singer-songwriter and instrumentalist who is a founding member and lead vocalist of the band Coldplay. He was born in Exeter, Devon. His mother is a music teacher.

At the preparatory Exeter Cathedral School formed his first band, The Rocking Honkies. Their debut performance was met with boos from the crowd. He then boarded at Sherborne School, a boys' independent school in Dorset where he met future Coldplay manager Phil Harvey.

At University College London, he majored in Ancient World Studies and graduated with First Class honors in Greek and Latin. He met future band mates Jonny Buckland, Will Champion and Guy Berryman at the school.

In January 1998, they formed the rock band Coldplay. Within two years the band achieved success after the release of their debut album, Parachutes, in 2000. Since then, they have released several further albums/EP's including: A Rush of Blood to the Head, Live 2003, X&Y, Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends and Prospekt's March.

On the side, Martin has written songs for a variety of acts including Embrace ("Gravity") and Jamelia ("See It in a Boy's Eyes"). Martin has also collaborated with Ron Sexsmith, Faultline, The Streets, and Ian McCulloch. He also sang a part of the vocals for the Band Aid 20 single, "Do They Know It's Christmas?" at the end of 2004.

In 2005, Martin collaborated with Nelly Furtado on the track "All Good Things (Come to an End)" for her 2006 album, Loose.

(Continued below video and Amazon portals ...)

HIGHLY Recommended (Press album covers for direct links to Amazon):
ParachutesViva La VidaProspekt's March

Martin collaborated with rapper Jay-Z for the rapper's album Kingdom Come after the two met earlier in the year. Martin put some chords together for a song known as "Beach Chair" and sent them to Jay-Z who enlisted the help of hip hop producer Dr. Dre to add the drum line to complete the track. The song was performed on September 27, 2006 by the two during Jay-Z's European tour at Royal Albert Hall.

In 2007, Martin appeared on a track titled "Part of the Plan" for Swizz Beatz' debut solo album One Man Band Man. Martin has also worked on a solo collaboration with Kanye West, with whom he shared an impromptu jam session during a 2006 concert at Abbey Road Studios. He performed the chorus of "Homecoming," from West's album Graduation.

Martin met American actress Gwyneth Paltrow in 2002 backstage at a Coldplay gig after the death of the actress' father, Bruce Paltrow. The couple married a year later on December 5, 2003.