Coldplay bows to irresistible force of 'Glee'

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The Independent Culture

It is one of the more unlikely cultural synergies of recent times: Glee and Coldplay, together at last. After months of denial, lead singer Chris Martin has finally given in to allowing the hit US show access to the band's back catalogue.

One of the show's creators has revealed that Martin had issued an apology to the makers the show for turning down a request to use their music on the program in March, and granted them permission last week.

"Coldplay called a week ago and said, "We're sorry – you can have our catalogue," co-creator Matthew Ryan told the Hollywood Reporter. He also revealed that, other than the British band, the only other act to turn them down had been Bryan Adams.

The list of acts subjected to the Glee treatment reads like a roll call of pop history: Beyonce, Duffy, Kanye West, John Denver, Queen, Avril Lavigne, The Rolling Stones, Ike and Tina Turner, Lily Allen, Charlie Chaplin (who wrote the Nat King Cole hit "Smile"), The Beatles, Lady Gaga and Lulu – to name a few.

Glee became an instant hit when it hit US screens last year, and is now shown in the UK on E4. The comedy follows the fortunes of New Directions, a fictional Ohio high school show choir.

Glee had originally been hoping to produce a special episode, exclusively of Coldplay hits. In April, American network Fox aired the first ever Glee special, 'The power of Madonna', featuring eight of the American superstar's hits, and on which Madge herself actually appeared. The accompanying EP entered at Number 1 on the US Billboard 100.

The series' cover versions have racked up 7 million digital sales on iTunes. In 2009, the cast had 25 singles on the Billboard Hot 100, the most by any artist since The Beatles had 31 songs in the chart in 1964. Their performance of "Don't Stop Believin' " was certified gold in November 2009, having achieved more than 500,000 digital sales. The series' cover versions have also had a positive effect on the original recording artists, with sales of Rihanna's "Take a Bow" increasing by 189 per cent after the song was covered in the Glee episode 'Showmance'. So ubiquitous has their success been that the cast was invited to sing at the White House at the behest of Michelle Obama in April 2010 for the annual Easter Egg Roll.

Earlier this year the show surprised no one when it picked up a Golden Globe Award for Best Television Show – Musical or Comedy. Its stars Lea Michele and Matthew Morrison also received nominations for Best Actor and Best Actress.

Before unveiling the show's ratings-winning all-Madonna-themed episode, which aired last week, series creator Ryan Murphy approached Coldplay with an offer to feature the band's music on a special episode of the Fox show but was disappointed when the group turned him down.

With the exception of Coldplay, at least until now, any early difficulties its creators had in securing access to artists' songs quickly evaporated.

"At the beginning, a lot of people didn't know what we were and asked to see pages [in advance]," Murphy said. "But I refused because I didn't want to set a precedent of them having any involvement."