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Chasing cars

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Chasing cars


"Chasing Cars"
Eyes Open
Released 6 June 2006 (US)
24 July 2006 (UK)
Format CD single; 7"; 12"
Recorded 2005
Genre Alternative rock
Length 4:08 (Radio edit)
4:27 (Album version)
Label Interscope
Writer(s) Gary Lightbody
Producer Jacknife Lee
Snow Patrol singles chronology

"You're All I Have"
"Chasing Cars"
"Hands Open"

Music sample
Music video

"Chasing Cars" is the second single from Snow Patrol's fourth album, Eyes Open. It was recorded in 2005 and released on 6 June 2006 in the US and 24 July 2006 in the UK as the album's second single.[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]

It 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 the UK's 14th best-selling single of the year[3] and 2007, on the strength of downloads, as the UK's 34th best-selling single of 2007.[4] The song peaked at number 6 in the UK Singles Chart, and number 5 on the US Billboard Hot 100.[5][6]

At the 2007 Grammy Awards, "Chasing Cars" was nominated for Best Rock Song, and at the 2007 Brit Awards, the song 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 26 August 2013, the song has spent 111 weeks on the official UK Top 75 Singles Chart and 154 on the Top 100[9] and has sold over 1,000,000 copies in the UK by October 2013.[10][11][12] It also sold 3,131,000 copies in the US by November 2011, making it one of the top 10 best-selling songs by a British artist in the digital era.[13]


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.[14] The song has Lightbody singing a plain melody over sparse guitars, which has an ever-building crescendo.[15]

He stated it was his "purest love song".[16] 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.

Music video

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

In the music video for UK, 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 in the end of the video, he gets out of the water, rises on 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, at the top of an escalator, in a subway car, at the top of a hill overlooking a highway, and at the end on a bed.



The song was nominated for a 2007 Grammy Award for Best Rock Song,[17] 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).

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."[18]

Billboard magazine's Sven Phillip found the song the only one on the album "not to be missed". He called it a "catchy, colossal ballad that succeeds without any fireworks".[15]

Channel 4 viewers voted the song the number one "song of the noughties" in a December 2009 programme.[7]

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


It 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. 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 #25 on the strength of download sales alone. Its physical release had come on 24 July and this pushed the song up to #15, peaking six weeks later at #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 (#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 154 weeks on the Top 100.[9]

The song was voted number one in a 2006 Virgin Radio Top 500 Songs of All Time poll.[19] 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[20] and is the fourteenth most downloaded song in the country of all time.[21] "Chasing Cars" also went to number one on the Adult Contemporary chart for two non consecutive weeks. As of November 2011, the song has sold 3,131,000 copies in the US.[13]


Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
The Rock FM New Zealand The Rock 1000[22][23] 2008 719
2009 554

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.[24] It was later voted to be the 12th best track played on A State of Trance in 2006 by the listeners.[25] The song was also used in a mashup by Party Ben, who combined the song with "Every Breath You Take" by The Police for the movie Just Go With It.[26]

Formats and track listings

Chart performance


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See also


External links

  • YouTube
  • YouTube
  • Sky Arts Songbook series.
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