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Snow Patrol - Chasing Cars (Live Earth 2007)

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Retrieved from Wikipedia:
Chasing Cars on Wikipedia
"Chasing Cars"
Single by Snow Patrol
from the album Eyes Open
Released6 June 2006
  • 7"
  • 12"
  • CD
GenreAlternative rock
  • Gary Lightbody
  • Jonny Quinn
  • Nathan Connolly
  • Tom Simpson
  • Paul Wilson
Producer(s)Jacknife Lee
Snow Patrol singles chronology

"Chasing Cars" is a song by Northern Irish/Scottish alternative rock band Snow Patrol. It was released as the second single from their fourth studio album, Eyes Open (2006). It was recorded in 2005 and released on 6 June 2006 in the United States and 24 July 2006 in the United Kingdom.[1] The song gained significant popularity in the US after being featured in the second season finale of the popular medical drama Grey's Anatomy.[2]

"Chasing Cars" became notable as one of the songs that revealed the impact of legal downloads on single sales in the UK, selling consistently for years after its release. The song is Snow Patrol's biggest-selling single to date, ending 2006 as that year's 14th best-selling single in the UK[3] and that year had the distinction of being the last song performed live on the BBC's Top of the Pops. Also, on the strength of downloads, it was the UK's 34th best-selling single of 2007.[4] The song peaked at number 6 on the UK Singles Chart, and number 5 on the US Billboard Hot 100.[5][6]

At the 49th Annual Grammy Awards in 2007, "Chasing Cars" was nominated for Best Rock Song, and at the 2007 Brit Awards it was nominated for Best British Single.[7][8] In 2009, the PPL announced "Chasing Cars" was the most widely played song of the decade in the UK.[5] As of 2015, the song has spent 111 weeks in the official UK Top 75, 166 in the Top 100[9] and had sold over 1 million copies in the UK by October 2013.[10][11][12] It has also sold 3,900,000 copies in the US by January 2015, making it one of the top best-selling rock songs in the digital era.[13] In a 2009 Channel 4 UK poll, "Chasing Cars" was voted the number one "song of the noughties".[14]


  • 1 Background
  • 2 Promotion and release
  • 3 Music video
  • 4 Reception
    • 4.1 Critical reception
    • 4.2 Commercial performance
    • 4.3 Accolades
  • 5 Covers and samples
  • 6 In popular culture
  • 7 Formats and track listings
  • 8 Personnel
  • 9 Charts
    • 9.1 Weekly charts
    • 9.2 Year-end charts
    • 9.3 Decade-end charts
    • 9.4 All-time charts
  • 10 Certifications
  • 11 See also
  • 12 References
  • 13 External links


It has been reported that lead singer Gary Lightbody wrote the song, sober after a binge of white wine, in the garden of producer Jacknife Lee's Kent cottage.[15] The song has Lightbody singing a plain melody over sparse guitars, which has an ever-building crescendo.[16] In an interview with Rolling Stone, he said "It's the purest love song that I've ever written. There's no knife-in-the-back twist. When I read these lyrics back, I was like, 'Oh, that's weird.' All the other love songs I've written have a dark edge."[17] The phrase "Chasing Cars" came from Lightbody's father, in reference to a girl Lightbody was infatuated with, "You're like a dog chasing a car. You'll never catch it and you just wouldn't know what to do with it if you did."[11]

Promotion and release

Snow Patrol played "Chasing Cars" on an appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. The song was also performed as the last live performance on long-running music programme Top of the Pops. The band also performed the song when they were the musical guest on the 17 March 2007 episode of Saturday Night Live, hosted by Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Additionally, the band played the song live in their appearance at Live Earth. On 7 July 2007, this song was performed during the London leg of the Live Earth concert at Wembley Stadium and at Oxegen later on that night in Ireland.

"Chasing Cars" was heard on the TV show One Tree Hill's third season finale episode "The Show Must Go On", which aired in the US on 3 May 2006. Several weeks later, the song appeared on the second season finale of Grey's Anatomy on 15 May 2006, and the song found a larger listening audience and pushed its way onto the download and pop charts in the United States. The song was made into a music video for the show, serving as a promotion for its third season. The music video shows scenes from the first and second seasons as well as previously unseen scenes from the third season, with clips in-between from the UK music video of the song. It was heard again in the eighteenth episode of the show's seventh season on 31 March 2011, along with the cast's cover of Brandi Carlile's "The Story" and The Fray's "How to Save a Life".

Music video

There are two music videos: one for UK, one for the US.

In the UK music video, Gary Lightbody lies on open ground as cameras film him from different angles. It starts raining, splashing his face and hands. Gary enters a pool of water next to him and, at the end of the video, he gets out of the water, rises to his feet and looks up at the camera as it zooms out overhead.

In the US music video, Lightbody is shown lying down in busy places while singing. People ignore him and step over him. Among the places he lies are a diner, an intersection, the top of an escalator, a subway car, the top of a hill overlooking a highway and, at the end, a bed.

Critical reception

Billboard magazine's Sven Phillip found "Chasing Cars" to be the only song on Eyes Open which was "not to be missed". He called it a "catchy, colossal ballad that succeeds without any fireworks".[16] called it a "true gem of a love song".[18] Yahoo! Music's Adam Webb, however, had mixed feelings for the single, when he awarded it 5 stars out of 10, saying it was a "misguided attempt to recreate its breast-beating slo-motion scarf-waving formula." Further, he made comparisons of the song to Hollywood soundtracks, which in his words are "about as subtle as a rhino and too overt to be truly affecting."[19]

The song was nominated for a 2007 Grammy Award for Best Rock Song,[20] as well as for a 2007 BRIT Award for Best British Single.[7] In 2007, "Chasing Cars" was voted number 1 in the Top 500 Songs: The Words Behind the Music, on Bristol's GWR FM (and other stations in The One Network).

UK music licensing body PPL announced in December 2009 that "Chasing Cars" was the most played song of the decade.[5]

Commercial performance

"Chasing Cars" was released as an overlapping single in early June and the video was re-edited to include clips from Grey's Anatomy. The video failed to catch on, regardless, so a third version was filmed for the edited single version of the song. On 13 September 2006, the song soared in the digital music charts to become the most-downloaded song in the U.S. iTunes Store, just one day after the DVD release of the second season of Grey's Anatomy.[citation needed] The song was used in Verbotene Liebe, a German soap opera.

The song was released as a download-only single on 17 July 2006 and entered the UK Singles Chart in the week ending 29 July at number 25 on the strength of download sales alone. Its physical release on 24 July pushed the song up to number 15, peaking six weeks later at number 6. However, seven weeks after that, in November the CD single was deleted and, under the chart rules prevailing at that time, the song was removed from the chart two weeks after that, having clocked up 17 weeks in total. It was then absent from the chart for seven weeks, but in January 2007, a change to the chart rules meant that all downloads, with or without a physical equivalent, were now eligible to chart. "Chasing Cars" duly surged back in at a top 10 position (number 9, just three places below its peak), and remained on the chart for 48 consecutive weeks, entirely on downloads, only falling out again in December. After a three-week absence, in January 2008 it was back again, for 13 weeks this time, peaking at #50. It then bowed out for a third time, re-entered the top 75 in June, August, October and November 2008, November 2009, January and December 2010, and March, July and December 2011, and re-entered again on 24 August 2013, charting at #66 before climbing up to #60 the following week, and up to #47 the week after now taking the song's tally up to an incredible 111 weeks on the UK Top 75, making it the 2nd longest runner of all time, bettered only by Frank Sinatra's "My Way" (124 weeks). For only 14 weeks out of those 111 was a physical copy of "Chasing Cars" officially available. It has also spent 166 weeks on the Top 100.[9] It sold its millionth copy in the UK in October 2013.[21]

A physical release of the song did not occur at all in Australia,[22] where the song spent 10 weeks over summer 2006/2007 at number one on the Digital Track Chart.[22] Under ARIA chart rules at the time, songs that had a digital-only release were ineligible to chart.[22] When the rules finally changed in October 2007 to include digital-only singles (partly due to declining physical sales),[23] "Chasing Cars" had dwindled in popularity and only managed to peak at number 53.[24] Its sales prior to the week it began charting on the official singles chart were not counted;[22] regardless, it spent a further 63 weeks in the lower half of the chart[25] and was later certified triple platinum (for over 210,000 downloads).[26]

"Chasing Cars" was voted number one in a 2006 Virgin Radio Top 500 Songs of All Time poll.[27] After the popularity of its association with the Grey's Anatomy television show, the song peaked at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, the band's first Top 10 hit in the US. The song peaked at #8 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. It was the fourth best selling digital single of 2006 in the UK, totaling 190,000 legal downloads[28] and is the UK's 26th most downloaded song of all time.[29] "Chasing Cars" also went to number one on the Adult Contemporary chart for two non consecutive weeks. As of February 2015, the song has sold 3,900,000 copies in the US.[13]

Covers and samples

It was covered by The Baseballs for their re-released album Strike! Back!

A trance version of the song was remixed by Blake Jarrell & Topher Jones. It aired on the trance radio show A State of Trance episode 262 on 17 August 2006.[32] It was later voted to be the 12th best track played on A State of Trance in 2006 by the listeners.[33]

The song was also used in a mashup by Party Ben, who combined the song with "Every Breath You Take" by The Police. It was later used for the film Just Go with It a few years later.[34]

In 2008, Kate Ceberano recorded a version for her album So Much Beauty.

In 2009, Boyce Avenue covered it for their album Acoustic Sessions, Vol. 4.

It also featured in the Grey's Anatomy episode "Song Beneath the Song", sung by Sara Ramirez, Chandra Wilson and Kevin McKidd. In 2015, it was featured in the Grey's Anatomy episode "How to Save a Life" during the death of the character Derek Shepherd, as a cover by the group 'Sleeping at Last'. It was heard again in the following episode, "She's Leaving Home" as the main character (Meredith Grey) returned home to Seattle after a year's long absence. This time, the song was covered by The Wind + The Wave.

In September 2014, Ed Sheeran delivered a rendition of the song on MTV.[35]

In popular culture

The song was featured in the 2016 documentary Holy Hell about the '80s West Hollywood cult Buddhafield and its manipulative and abusive leader. The song plays on toward the end of the documentary as ex-members of the cult are seen dancing in a field and while crying.[36]

The song is referenced by Ed Sheeran in his song All of the Stars.[37]


  • Gary Lightbody – vocals
  • Gary Lightbody, Nathan Connolly, Tom Simpson, Paul Wilson, Jonny Quinn – songwriter
  • Jacknife Lee – production

Credits adapted from Chasing Cars liner notes.[38]

See also

  • List of number-one adult contemporary singles of 2007 (U.S.)
  • List of Adult Top 40 number-one songs of the 2000s § 2007
  • List of million-selling singles in the United Kingdom
  • List of songs which have spent the most weeks on the UK Singles Chart


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  12. ^ "UK Album Chart Analysis: Buble outsells JLS by just 569 units". Music Week. Retrieved 10 May 2014. 
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  14. ^ "Top Gear is nation's favourite in TV poll". The Daily Telegraph (26 December 2009). 30 March 2015. 
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External links

  • "Chasing Cars" UK music video on YouTube
  • "Chasing Cars" US music video on YouTube
  • Music video for "Chasing Cars (Grey's Anatomy Version)" on YouTube
  • Acoustic performance of "Chasing Cars" for Sky Arts Songbook series.

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