Viva La Vida

by Coldplay

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Lyrics for Viva La Vida by Coldplay:

Verse 1: Chris Martin
I used to rule the world
Seas would rise when I gave the word
Now in the morning I sleep alone
Sweep the streets I used to own

Verse 2: Chris Martin
I used to roll the dice
Feel the fear in my enemy's eyes
Listen as the crowd would sing
Now the old King is dead, long live the King
One minute I held the key
Next the walls were closed on me
And I discovered that my castles stand
Upon pillars of salt and pillars of sand

Chorus: Chris Martin
I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror, my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field
For some reason I can't explain
Once you'd gone there was never
Never an honest word
And that was when I ruled the world

Verse 3: Chris Martin
It was the wicked and wild wind
Blew down the doors to let me in
Shattered windows and the sound of drums
People couldn't believe what I'd become
Revolutionaries wait
For my head on a silver plate
Just a puppet on a lonely string
Oh, who would ever want to be king?

Chorus: Chris Martin
I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing
Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
Be my mirror, my sword and shield
My missionaries in a foreign field
For some reason I can't explain
I know Saint Peter won't call my name
Never an honest word
But that was when I ruled the world

Bridge: Will, Jonny, Guy, Brian
Oh-oh-woah, oh-oh, oh
Oh-oh-woah, oh-oh, oh
Oh-oh-woah, oh-oh, oh
Oh-oh-woah, oh-oh, oh

Breakdown: Chris Martin & Will, Jonny, Guy & Brian
(Oh-oh-woah, oh-oh, oh) I hear Jerusalem bells are ringing
(Oh-oh-woah, oh-oh, oh) Roman Cavalry choirs are singing
(Oh-oh-woah, oh-oh, oh) Be my mirror, my sword and shield
(Oh-oh-woah, oh-oh, oh) My missionaries in a foreign field
(Oh-oh-woah, oh-oh, oh) For some reason I can't explain
(Oh-oh-woah, oh-oh, oh) I know Saint Peter won't call my name
Never an honest word
But that was when I ruled the world

Outro
Mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm
Mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm
Mmm, mmm...

Lyrics powered by Genius.com.

Song Facts

Revered as an essential rock song of the 2000s, “Viva la Vida” tells the story of a monarch who’s lost his kingdom. In another aspect, the song is also seen as a narrative on the French Revolution given the historical and biblical references in the lyrics. The instrumental is based around a string and piano background, led by an orchestral drum beat.

The title derives from the Spanish phrase “Long Live Life,” and takes its name from Frida Kahlo’s last painting before her death. During a March 2008 interview with Rolling Stone, frontman Chris Martin explained the reason for naming the song and album in honor of Kahlo:

She went through a lot of s–t, of course, and then she started a big painting in her house that said ‘Viva la Vida.’ I loved the boldness of it. […] It just felt right.

This song debuted to massive success and acclaim, peaking at number one on both the Billboard 100 and UK Singles Chart. Coldplay received several awards for the track, including Song of the Year at the Grammy Awards in February 2009.

The chorus has musical similarities to Joe Satriani’s instrumental piece, “If I Could Fly.” Satriani sued Coldplay for plagiarism—they settled out of court. The band Creaky Boards also accused Coldplay of taking the song’s melody from their record, “The Songs I Didn’t Write,” however, Coldplay denied the allegations.

Coldplay released two music videos for this song. Hype Williams made the official video, which premiered in August 2008, depicting the band against a backdrop of Eugène Delacroix’s painting, Liberty Leading the People. The alternate music video dropped alongside the first one but was directed by Anton Corbijn and starred Chris Martin as a king.

Facts powered by Genius.com.

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