Coldplay's first single from their fifth studio album was released digitally on June 3, 2011. The release date coincided with the day the band's summer festival run kicked off in Germany. "We're about to play a bunch of summer festivals so it's as good a time as any to put out a new song," said drummer Will Champion.
Coldplay performed the new single for the first time during its gig at the Rock Im Park festival in Nuremberg, Germany on June 3, 2011.
The song contains elements of "I Go To Rio" written by Peter Allen and Adrienne Anderson in 1976. Originally recorded for Allen's fourth studio album, Taught By Experts, it was released as a single in Australia, spending five weeks at #1 there. In 1979 a cover by the pop rock band Pablo Cruise was a hit in the United States.
Chris Martin was inspired to write the upbeat song after hearing the dance track "Ritmo de la Noche" by Lorca during a nightclub scene in Javier Bardem's film Biutiful. The track is based on "I Go To Rio," hence Allen and Anderson credits as writers on this tune.
Speaking to Mojo magazine Martin explained: "There's a scene (in Biutful) where he walks through a club, and I'm thinking, 'This is the best chord sequence I've ever heard! I've got to find out what it is and make a song out of it!' So I traced it back… I used those two chords and got in touch with his people. It felt very fresh - we'd never sounded like that before."
Chris Martin explained the song's meaning in an interview with Music Week: "The central theme of the record – 'Paradise' is kind of about this as well – is trying to turn bad things into good things somehow. We as a band have been through some funny incidents in terms of people being aggressive towards us or whatever. And a lot of the record is fuelled by a kind of fire which comes from turning that negativity into positivity. And I think everyone in their life has something like that."