Counting Stars

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For other uses, see Counting Stars (disambiguation).
"Counting Stars"
Single by OneRepublic
from the album Native
Released June 14, 2013
Recorded August 2012[1]
Genre Dance-rock
Length 4:17
Writer(s) Ryan Tedder
OneRepublic singles chronology
"If I Lose Myself"
"Counting Stars"
"Something I Need"
Audio sample
file info · help
Music video
"Counting Stars" on YouTube

"Counting Stars" is a song by American pop rock band OneRepublic from their third studio album, Native (2013). The song was written by lead singer Ryan Tedder, and produced by Tedder and Noel Zancanella. Musically, it is a pop song with strong elements of folk music.[2] It was released as the album's third single on June 14, 2013 in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland.

The song has been one of the band's most successful singles, reaching number one in many countries including Canada and the United Kingdom, number two in the United States, and top ten in 20 countries. It has sold over 1 million copies in the United Kingdom and over 8 million copies worldwide, becoming one of the best-selling singles of all time.

The song's accompanying music video, directed by James Lees, features the band performing in the ground floor of a building (there are few basements in New Orleans) beneath an ongoing church congregation on the upper floor.[3] As of November 2015, the video has received over 1.05 billion views on YouTube and is the eleventh most watched video of all time on the site.[4]

Background and composition[edit]

Ryan Tedder stated that "'Counting Stars' came about [in August 2012] as an idea. It was probably the most versions of any song[...]to get it right". He also called it "one of [his] two favourite songs on the [Native] album".[1] Tedder started writing "Counting Stars" while waiting for Beyoncé to turn up to a studio session, about a month after starting to write "Love Runs Out".[5] In an interview with the Official Charts Company, Tedder said, "I had the idea for Counting Stars originally in the summer of 2012 when I was in the Hamptons. I was working in the largest house I’ve ever stepped foot in, which was being rented by Jay Z and Beyoncé. I was in the middle of working on my most recent album with OneRepublic, Native, and during that time I was determined not to work with any other artists. I broke the promise because I also did sessions that year with Beyoncé. When Jay Z and Beyoncé invite you to stay with them in the Hamptons, you don't say no!"[6] He continued: "I was out there for about five days and on the second day I woke up early and I started combing through the internet, searching for stuff that would inspire me for Beyoncé. I ended up coming across this weird song that had this indigenous folk sound to it that just struck me like lightning. I didn't like the verses or lyrics, but I loved the feel and movement of it. That ended up inspiring Counting Stars. I debated playing it for Beyoncé and putting it forward for her album, but it didn't feel like a song Beyoncé would record. I immediately came up with the chorus idea, went home and for the next three months finished the Native album."[6]

The band explained that the song is about "laying in bed awake at night when you're stressed out of your mind, thinking 'How are we gonna make ends meet? How are we gonna pay the bills?' You know, all those things you wanna do with your life - how are we gonna make them work? How's this actually gonna happen or come to pass? So, instead of counting sheep, we're counting stars."[1]

Music video[edit]

The music video was filmed on May 10, 2013, in New Orleans, Louisiana, and premiered on May 31, 2013. The video features the band performing the song in a gloomy ground floor of a building surrounded by hanging light bulbs – which is interspersed with scenes of several people in a religious revival service on the upper floor. At the end of the video, one of the people in the service falls through the floor, coming through the ceiling of the room the band is performing in. The video also shows clips of an alligator crawling through the ground floor.[7]

The video has received over 1.05 billion YouTube views and is the eleventh most viewed video on the site.

Commercial performance[edit]

"Counting Stars" peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 on January 18, 2014, and stayed there for two weeks, behind "Timber" by Pitbull featuring Ke$ha. It is tied with "Apologize" as their highest peaking single in the United States,[8] and is their third US top-ten hit. It has spent 25 consecutive weeks in the top ten and is currently fifth for the most total weeks on the Hot 100, with 68. The song has sold over 5.3 million copies in the US as of December 2014.[9] In Canada, the song set the record for the longest climb to number one on the Canadian Hot 100, reaching number one on its 34th week on the chart on February 8, 2014.

The song has topped the charts in Canada, Finland, Israel, Poland, Slovakia and the United Kingdom,[10] and charted within the top ten in 20 countries, including attaining top five placements in Australia, Germany, Ireland and New Zealand. In the United Kingdom, "Counting Stars" spent 34 consecutive weeks inside the top 40 before exiting.[11] On October 11, 2014, the Official Charts Company confirmed that "Counting Stars" had sold 1 million copies in the UK.[6]

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Counting Stars" – 4:17
  2. "Counting Stars" (Lovelife remix) – 3:55

Credits and personnel[edit]


Covers and parodies[edit]

In June 2013, Tedder and Michelle Chamuel performed the song on the season finale of The Voice.[14] The song was covered by Skylar Astin, on the 2014 episode "City of Angels" of popular musical series Glee, as a medley with the Styx song "Mr. Roboto."

It also was covered by Secondhand Serenade and included on the covers album The Cover Up, released by Brandon Metcalf's Destiny Nashville on April 22, 2014.[15] American pop rock band R5 during a concert in London featured the British boy band the Vamps and included in their live album Live in London.[16]

YouTube parodist Nate Smith (aka NateWantsToBattle) performed Training Hard, a parody of the song, based on Pokemon X & Y.[17]

Uses in popular culture[edit]

Bellator MMA used the song to promote their eleventh season on Spike.[18]

"Counting Stars" was used in the end credits and in some of the TV spots for the 2014 sci-fi film Earth to Echo.

The song was also featured in the international trailer for Xavier Dolan's 2014 film, Mommy.

The song was used in "74 Epiphanies", episode 11 of Rookie Blue's 6th season.



Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[73] 6× Platinum 420,000^
Belgium (BEA)[74] Gold 15,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[75] 8× Platinum 640,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[76] Gold 15,000^
Germany (BVMI)[77] Platinum 300,000^
Italy (FIMI)[78] 3× Platinum 90,000*
Mexico (AMPROFON)[79] 2× Platinum 120,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[80] 2× Platinum 30,000*
Sweden (GLF)[81] 5× Platinum 200,000x
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[82] Platinum 30,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[83] 2× Platinum 1,070,000[84]
United States (RIAA)[85] Gold 5,300,000[9]
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[86] 3× Platinum 5,400,000^
Spain (PROMUSICAE)[87] 2× Platinum 20,000,000^

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

Release history[edit]

Regions Dates Format(s) Label(s)
Austria[12] June 14, 2013 CD single
United States[88] October 8, 2013 Radio (Top 40)

See also[edit]


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