Chasing Cars

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

"Chasing Cars"
Single by Snow Patrol
from the album Eyes Open
Released6 June 2006
  • 3:41 (video edit)
  • 4:08 (radio edit)
  • 4:27 (album version)
Producer(s)Jacknife Lee
Snow Patrol singles chronology
"You're All I Have"
"Chasing Cars"
"Hands Open"
Music video
"Chasing Cars" on YouTube
Audio sample

"Chasing Cars" is a song by Scottish-Northern Irish 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, which aired on 15 May 2006.[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.[4] Released in the post-Britpop period, 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] As of 2019, the song has spent 111 weeks in the official UK top 75, 166 in the top 100[9] and had sold over one million copies in the UK by October 2013.[10] 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.[11] In 2009, UK music licensing body PPL announced that "Chasing Cars" was the most widely played song of the decade in the UK.[5] Ten years later, it was revealed as the most-played song of the 21st century on UK radio.[4]


Lead singer Gary Lightbody reportedly wrote the song when he became sober after a binge of white wine, in the garden of song producer Jacknife Lee's Kent cottage.[12] The song has Lightbody singing a plain melody over sparse guitars, which has an ever-building crescendo.[13] 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."[14] 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."[15]

Promotion and release[edit]

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 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[edit]

The US music video, where Gary Lightbody sings while lying on the ground

Two music videos were made; one for the UK and one for the US.

In the UK music video, Gary Lightbody lies on the open ground as cameras film him from different angles. It starts raining, splashing his face and hands. Lightbody 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 the Golden State Freeway and, at the end, a bed.


Critical reception[edit]

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".[13] called it a "true gem of a love song".[16] 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."[17]

The song was nominated for a 2007 Grammy Award for Best Rock Song[18] 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).

Commercial performance[edit]

"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 No. 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 No. 66 before climbing up to No. 60 the following week, and up to No. 47 the week after, now taking the song's tally up to 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). Only for 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.[10]

A physical release of the song did not occur at all in Australia,[19] where the song spent 10 weeks over summer 2006/2007 at number one on the Digital Track Chart.[19] Under ARIA chart rules at the time, songs that had a digital-only release were ineligible to chart.[19] When the rules finally changed in October 2007 to include digital-only singles (partly due to declining physical sales),[20] "Chasing Cars" had dwindled in popularity and only managed to peak at number 53.[21] Its sales prior to the week it began charting on the official singles chart were not counted;[19] regardless, it spent a further 63 weeks in the lower half of the chart[22] and was later certified triple platinum (for over 210,000 downloads).[23]

"Chasing Cars" was voted number one in a 2006 Virgin Radio Top 500 Songs of All Time poll.[24] After the popularity of its association with the Grey's Anatomy television show, the song peaked at No. 5 on the Billboard Hot 100 in the US, the band's first Top 10 hit in the US. The song peaked at No. 8 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. It was the fourth best selling digital single of 2006 in the UK, totalling 190,000 legal downloads,[25] and is the UK's 26th most downloaded song of all time.[26] "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.[11]


Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
The Rock FM New Zealand The Rock 1000[27][28] 2008 719
2009 554


  • 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.[29] It was later voted to be the 12th best track played on A State of Trance in 2006 by the listeners.[30]
  • Tim McGraw and Faith Hill covered the song during the 2007 leg of their Soul2Soul II Tour.
  • 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.
  • In 2009, Snow Patrol produced a reworked version of the song at the Royal Albert Hall.
  • In September 2014, Ed Sheeran delivered a rendition of the song on MTV.[31]
  • In 2014, Curved Air covered it for their album North Star.
  • In 2019, Nasser recorded a version for the Filipino theme song of the Korean drama Are You Human? on GMA Network.

In popular culture[edit]

  • The song was featured in the 2016 documentary Holy Hell about the 1980s West Hollywood cult Buddhafield and its allegedly 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.[32]
  • The song is recurringly featured on Grey’s Anatomy; as a result, the song is commonly associated with the show.[citation needed]
  • The song was also featured on The CW's drama One Tree Hill in the third season episode "The Show Must Go On".

Formats and track listings[edit]


Snow Patrol[edit]

  • Gary Lightbody – vocals, guitar
  • Gary Lightbody, Nathan Connolly, Tom Simpson, Paul Wilson, Jonny Quinn – songwriter
  • Nathan Connolly – lead guitar, backing vocals
  • Tom Simpson – keyboards
  • Paul Wilson – bass guitar
  • Jonny Quinn – drums

Additional personnel[edit]

  • Jacknife Lee – production

Credits adapted from Chasing Cars liner notes.[34]



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[71] 3× Platinum 210,000^
Belgium (BEA)[72] Gold 25,000*
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[73] Gold 7,500^
Germany (BVMI)[74] 2× Platinum 600,000^
Italy (FIMI)[75] Gold 10,000double-dagger
New Zealand (RMNZ)[76] Platinum 10,000*
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[77] Gold 20,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[79] 3× Platinum 1,159,099[78]
United States (RIAA)[80] 5× Platinum 3,900,000[11]
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[81] Gold 900,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
double-daggersales+streaming figures based on certification alone

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Snow Patrol : Single : Chasing Cars". Archived from the original on 1 June 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  2. ^ Philipp, Sven (24 June 2006), "Chasing Cars". Billboard. 118 (25):61
  3. ^ a b "Charts Plus Year end 2006" (PDF). UKChartsPlus. Retrieved 29 May 2011.
  4. ^ a b "And the most-played song on UK radio is... Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol". BBC News. 17 July 2019. Retrieved 17 July 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Snow Patrol's Chasing Cars is most played of decade". BBC News. BBC. 30 December 2009. Retrieved 30 December 2009.
  6. ^ Billboard – Google Books. 27 January 2007. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  7. ^ a b "Snow Patrol". 19 February 2014. Archived from the original on 12 March 2014. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  8. ^ "49th Annual Grammy Awards – 2007". Rock on the Net. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^ a b "Avicii's Wake Me Up becomes one of the UK's biggest selling singles of all-time". Official Charts Company. 6 October 2013. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  11. ^ a b c Grein, Paul (31 January 2015). "The 15 Most Downloaded Songs in Rock History". Yahoo! Music.
  12. ^ "50 Years of Great British Music". Q. Bauer Media Group. Archived from the original on 28 December 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2009.
  13. ^ a b Phillip, Sven (24 June 2006). "Singles – Pop". Billboard. Nielsen Business Media, Inc. 118 (25): 61. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 11 December 2009.
  14. ^ van Ryn, Claire (30 November 2009). "Remember to rest amid our busy world". The Examiner. Australia. Archived from the original on 4 December 2009. Retrieved 22 May 2014.
  15. ^ "SONG OF THE MONTH OCTOBER 2010: SNOW PATROL – CHASING CARS". Archived from the original on 19 March 2012. Retrieved 9 February 2012.
  16. ^ Bill Lamb. "Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars". Entertainment. Archived from the original on 17 February 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  17. ^ Webb, Adam (7 July 2006). "Snow Patrol – 'Chasing Cars'". Yahoo! Music. Yahoo!. Retrieved 23 June 2009. 5/10 stars
  18. ^ "FOX Facts: Complete List of Grammy Award Nominations". Fox News. 7 December 2006. Archived from the original on 29 January 2011. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  19. ^ a b c d Dale, David (9 February 2007). "The Sydney Morning Herald Blogs: Stay in Touch – Culture: The mystery of the missing music". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  20. ^ Herald Sun. News Corp. 25 October 2007. There are also major changes in the singles chart. Though ARIA integrated digital sales with physical sales earlier that year, only songs destined to be released as physical singles counted for the chart. This meant tracks such as Snow Patrol's "Chasing Cars", which was never released as a physical single, never appeared in our singles chart. As of November 4, any song is eligible if it is downloaded. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  21. ^ a b "The ARIA Report: Week Commencing 7 January 2008" (PDF) (932). Pandora Archive. 20 January 2008. Retrieved 8 August 2014. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  22. ^ "The ARIA Report: Week Commencing 23 March 2009" (PDF) (995). Pandora Archive. 23 March 2009. Retrieved 16 September 2014. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  23. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2011 Singles". ARIA. Archived from the original on 15 May 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2014.
  24. ^ "Top 500". Virgin Radio. 2006. Archived from the original on 22 July 2008. Retrieved 1 June 2013.
  25. ^ "Digital download factsheet" (PDF). Official Charts Company. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 November 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2009.
  26. ^ a b "Pharrell's Happy now the UK's most downloaded track of all time".
  27. ^ "Countdowns – The Rock 1000". The Rock. Archived from the original on 9 January 2010. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
  28. ^ "The Rock 1000 – The Rock 1000 recap". The Rock. Archived from the original on 9 January 2010. Retrieved 9 January 2010.
  29. ^ "ASOT Radio Playlists". Armin van Buuren. Archived from the original on 30 August 2007. Retrieved 25 October 2006.
  30. ^ "Armin van Buuren: Radio". 31 December 2006. Archived from the original on 31 December 2006.
  31. ^ Garibaldi, Christina (4 September 2014). "Exclusive: Ed Sheeran Covers Snow Patrol's 'Chasing Cars' And Melts Our Hearts At the Same Time". MTV. Retrieved 5 September 2014.
  32. ^ "Review: Riveting And Fascinating Cult Documentary ‘Holy Hell’" Retrieved 5 September 2016.
  33. ^ "Ed Sheeran's 'The Fault In Our Stars' song turned Friday into a sobfest" Retrieved 6 March 2017.
  34. ^ Chasing Cars (liner notes). Snow Patrol. Jive Records. 2005.CS1 maint: others (link)
  35. ^ "The ARIA Report: Week Commencing 18 December 2006" (PDF) (876). Pandora Archive. 20 December 2006. Retrieved 26 September 2014. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  36. ^ " – Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  37. ^ " – Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  38. ^ " – Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars" (in French). Ultratip.
  39. ^ "Snow Patrol Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard.
  40. ^ "ČNS IFPI" (in Czech). Hitparáda – Radio Top 100 Oficiální. IFPI Czech Republic. Note: Change the chart to CZ – RADIO – TOP 100 and insert 200713 into search.
  41. ^ " – Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars". Tracklisten.
  42. ^ "Snow Patrol – Chart Search" Billboard European Hot 100 Singles for Snow Patrol. (subscription required)
  43. ^ " – Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars" (in French). Les classement single.
  44. ^ " – {{{song}}}". GfK Entertainment Charts.
  45. ^ "Chart Track: Week 2, 2007". Irish Singles Chart. Retrieved 29 May 2011.
  46. ^ " – Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  47. ^ " – Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars". Top 40 Singles.
  48. ^ " – Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars". VG-lista.
  49. ^ " – Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars". Singles Top 100.
  50. ^ " – Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars". Swiss Singles Chart.
  51. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  52. ^ "Official Singles Downloads Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  53. ^ "Snow Patrol Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard.
  54. ^ "Snow Patrol Chart History (Adult Alternative Songs)". Billboard.
  55. ^ "Snow Patrol Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard.
  56. ^ "Snow Patrol Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard.
  57. ^ "Snow Patrol Chart History (Alternative Songs)". Billboard.
  58. ^ "Snow Patrol Chart History (Pop Songs)". Billboard.
  59. ^ a b "Billboard Year End Charts 2006". Billboard. Archived from the original on 23 September 2009. Retrieved 7 February 2017.
  60. ^ "Adult Pop Songs – Year-End 2006". Billboard. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  61. ^ [1] Archived 28 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  62. ^ "End of Year Charts 2007". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 20 September 2018.
  63. ^ "Charts Plus Year end 2007" (PDF). UKChartsPlus. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  64. ^ "Adult Contemporary Songs – Year-End 2007". Billboard. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  65. ^ "Adult Pop Songs – Year-End 2007". Billboard. Retrieved 18 September 2019.
  66. ^ "Charts Plus Year end 2008" (PDF). UKChartsPlus. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  67. ^ "Charts Plus Year end 2009" (PDF). UKChartsPlus. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  68. ^ a b "Ultratop Belgian Charts". 26 April 2014. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013. Retrieved 10 May 2014.
  69. ^ "Charts Plus Year end 2012" (PDF). UKChartsPlus. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  70. ^ Radio 1 Official Chart of the Decade, as broadcast on BBC Radio 1 on Tuesday 29 December 2009, presented by Nihal
  71. ^ "ARIA Charts – Accreditations – 2011 Singles". Australian Recording Industry Association.
  72. ^ "Ultratop − Goud en Platina – singles 2007". Ultratop. Hung Medien.
  73. ^ "Guld og platin i Oktober" (in Danish). IFPI Denmark. Archived from the original on 28 January 2015.
  74. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (Snow Patrol; 'Chasing Cars')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 13 June 2019.
  75. ^ "Italian single certifications – Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 12 December 2016. Select "2016" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Chasing Cars" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli online" under "Sezione".
  76. ^ "Latest Gold / Platinum Singles". Radioscope. 17 July 2011. Archived from the original on 24 July 2011.
  77. ^ "Top 50 Canciones – Semana 21: del 21.05.2012 al 27.05.2012" (PDF) (in Spanish). PROMUSICAE. Retrieved 5 January 2013.
  78. ^ Copsey, Rob (19 September 2017). "The UK's Official Chart 'millionaires' revealed". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 15 February 2018.
  79. ^ "British single certifications – Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Chasing Cars in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  80. ^ "American single certifications – Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars". Recording Industry Association of America. Retrieved 16 December 2015. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  81. ^ "Certificeringer – Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars" (in Danish). IFPI Denmark. Retrieved 9 October 2014.

External links[edit]