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"Chasing Cars"
Single by Snow Patrol
from the album Eyes Open
Released June 6, 2006 (US)
24 July 2006 (UK)
Format CD single; 7"; 12"
Recorded 2005
Genre Alternative rock
Length 4:10 (Radio edit)
4:27 (Album version)
Label Interscope
Producer Jacknife Lee
Snow Patrol singles chronology
"You're All I Have"
"Chasing Cars"
"Hands Open"
Music sample
"Chasing Cars"

"Chasing Cars" is the second single from Snow Patrol's fourth album, Eyes Open. It was recorded in 2005 and released on June 6, 2006 in the US and 24 July 2006 in the UK as the album's second single.[1] "Chasing Cars" gained significant popularity in the United States after being featured on 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. The song is Snow Patrol's biggest-selling single to date, ending 2006 as the UK's fourteenth best-selling single of the year[3] and 2007, on the strength of downloads, as the UK's thirty-fourth best-selling single of 2007.[4]

As of 10 January 2010 the single has spent 96 weeks on the official UK Top 75 Singles Chart and 138 on the Top 100[5] and has sold 505,000 copies in the UK, despite missing the Top 5.



Lead singer Gary Lightbody wrote the song, drunk after a binge of white wine, in the garden of producer Jacknife Lee's Kent cottage.[6] The song has Lightbody singing a plain melody over sparse guitars, which has an ever-building crescendo.[7]

He stated it was his "purest love song".[8] 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."[9]

The song was first heard on the band's 2005 Final Straw Tour, when they began playing it, along with two other newly written songs ("Your Halo" and "It's Beginning to Get to Me") they had intended to release on their upcoming album. Since then, the composition of the song was changed slightly, and most of the lyrics were rewritten.

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 episode "The Show Must Go On", which aired in the US on 3 May 2006. The show is popular amongst the teenage crowd, and the episode gained around 3.06 million viewers. It was not until several weeks later when the song appeared on the second season finale of Grey's Anatomy on 15 May 2006 that 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 the ground as cameras film him from different angles. It starts raining, 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. 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 is in an alley and at the end of an escalator.



Billboard called the song "a catchy, colossal ballad that succeeds without any fireworks."[2]

The song was nominated for a 2007 Grammy Award for "Best Rock Song",[10] as well as for a 2007 BRIT Award for "Best Single".

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."[11]

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".[7]

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

UK music licensing body PPL announced in December 2009 that Chasing Cars was the most played song of the decade. [12]


It was released as an overlapping single in early June and the video was re-edited to include clips from the show. 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 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 this time, in January 2008 it was back again, bowed out for a third time, re-entered the top 75 in late June 2008, again in August and then in October and yet again in November of that year before re-entering a year later in November 2009, and again at the start of January 2010; since then the song's tally has gone up to an incredible 96 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 96 was a physical copy of "Chasing Cars" officially available. The song was voted number one in a 2006 Virgin Radio Top 500 Songs of All Time poll.[13] 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. It was the fourth best selling digital single of 2006 in the UK, totaling 190,000 legal downloads[14] and is the ninth most downloaded song in the country of all time.[15]


Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
The Rock FM New Zealand The Rock 1000[16][17] 2008 719
2009 554


Lightbody acknowledges the success of the song, and accepts the criticism that followed it. He accepts that its their most visible work, but isn't unhappy with it. Connolly has noted that the song made the group known in the United States, and found that more US fans were coming to their concerts.[18]

Other appearances in the media

It was used as the music for the 2006 series Big Brother UK's best bits and in June 2007 featured in the BBC hit comedy Gavin & Stacey as the first series climax in episode 6.

The song was further used on the BBC Three sitcom Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps in the 2008 episode When Johnny Met Sharky, when Janet learned that her husband, Jonny, had been eaten by a shark.

Also was used for advertising the UK premiere of The Notebook on Channel 4. There are scenes from the film, one being when the main characters are lying in the middle of the road.

This cover by Natasha Bedingfield was used on the So You Think You Can Dance 2007 tour as Jaimie Goodwin's solo performance.

When the Ten network in Australia ended its V8 supercars coverage at the end of the 2006 season (after losing the rights to channel 7), their last show ended with a montage of clips with "Chasing Cars" as the background music.

The line "Those three words, Are said too much, They're not enough..." were mentioned in Harlan Coben's book Long Lost.

The song is currently used as the backing track to the latest video produced by Dogs for the Disabled, a UK charity training and providing assistance dogs for mobility impaired children and adults.  

The song was voted to be the best song of the decade in a poll by U.K. television channel Channel 4, in December 2009.

Covers and samples

A trance version of the song was remixed by Blake Jarrell & Topher Jones. It aired on the highly popular trance radio show A State of Trance on 17 August 2006.[19] It was later voted to be the 12th best track played on A State of Trance in 2006 by the listeners.[20] The song was also used in a mashup by Party Ben, who combined the song with "Every Breath You Take" by The Police.[21]

In March 2007, Natasha Bedingfield covered the song on Ray Foley's Today FM show. In June 2007, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw performed this song as a duet at a Soul2Soul 2007 concert.

The Chordials, a co-ed a cappella group at Cornell University, covered the song in 2007.

The X Factor Series 3 contestant Shaun Rogerson has also covered the song for his 2007 debut album Shaun.

Jo Frances covered the song on her 2007 Debut Album "Ultimately".

Shane Harper from Dance on Sunset covered the song for his Music MySpace.

Sarah Bettens (lead singer of K's Choice) included a cover of this song in her 2007-2008 tour setlist.

Dickie Rock covers the song on his 2007 album "Sings contemporary Irish Classic Hits".

Deutschland sucht den Superstar season 5 winner Thomas Godoj performed the song in the Top-15 Show and the finale as his highlight song of the season.

Actor Dave Coyne, known as DCLugi, created a parody titled Chasing Bars.

The song was voted as the next song of the decade in a poll by television channel Channel 4 on December 29th 2009.

Formats and track listings

  • UK Promo (released in July 2006)
  1. "Chasing Cars" [radio edit] - 4:10
  2. "Chasing Cars" [album version] - 4:27
  • UK CD (released 24 July 2006)
  1. "Chasing Cars" [album version] - 4:27
  2. "It Doesn't Matter Where, Just Drive" - 3:37
  • UK 7" (released 24 July 2006)
  1. "Chasing Cars" [album version] - 4:27
  2. "Play Me Like Your Own Hand" - 4:15
  • European CD (released in October 2006)
  1. "Chasing Cars" [album version] - 4:27
  2. "Play Me Like Your Own Hand" - 4:15
  3. "It Doesn't Matter Where, Just Drive" - 3:37
  • U.S. Promo (released in July 2006)
  1. "Chasing Cars" [Top 40 Edit] - 3:58
  • U.S. iTunes single (released 6 June 2006)
  1. "Chasing Cars" [Live in Toronto] - 4:28
  • Special Dutch Edition
  1. "Chasing Cars" - 4:27
  2. "You're All I Have (live from BNN)" - 4:29
  3. "How To Be Dead (live from BNN)" - 3:24
  4. "Chasing Cars (live from BNN)" - 4:20
  1. "Chasing Cars" [Radio Edit] - 4:09
  2. "Chasing Cars" [Album Version] - 4:27
  1. "Chasing Cars" [Radio Edit] - 4:09
  2. "Chasing Cars" [Album Version] - 4:27
  • UK & Ireland Bootleg 12" (released 22 January 2007)
  1. "Chasing Cars" [Blake Jarrell & Topher Jones Remix] - 7:35
  2. "Open Your Eyes" [Allende Remix] - 7:29

Chart performance

Chart (2006) Peak
U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks 1
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 5
U.S. Billboard Modern Rock Tracks 5
U.S. Billboard Pop 100 6
Eurochart Hot 100 Singles 12
Australian ARIA Digital Tracks Chart 1
Australian ARIA Singles Chart 53[23]
Austria Singles Chart 2
Ultratop 50 (Flanders) 3
Czech IFPI Chart 3
Dutch Mega Top 50 21
Chart (2006) Peak
French Singles Chart 57
German Singles Chart 8
German Airplay Chart 18
Irish Singles Chart 6
New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart 3
Singapore Top 20 1
Slovakia IFPI Chart 59
Swedish Singles Chart 40[24]
Swiss Single Chart 4
UK Singles Chart 6[25]
Ultratip (Wallonia)[26] 13
Chart (2009) Peak
UK Singles Chart[27] 63
Chart (2010) Peak
Irish Singles Chart[28] 44
Chart (2000-2009) Peak
UK Top 100 Songs of the Decade 49[29]


Country Sales Certification
Australia 70,000 Platinum[30]
Germany 150,000 Gold[31]


  1. ^ Single release details
  2. ^ a b Philipp, Sven (24 June 2006), "Chasing Cars." Billboard. 118 (25):61
  3. ^ Top 40 Singles of 2006, from BBC Radio 1 website
  4. ^ Top 40 Singles of 2007, from the BBC Radio 1 website
  5. ^
  6. ^ "50 Years Of Great British Music". Q. Bauer Media Group. Archived from the original on 20 November 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2009.  
  7. ^ a b Phillip, Sven (24 June 2006). "Singles - Pop". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.) 118 (25): 61. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 11 December 2009.  
  8. ^ van Ryn, Claire (November 30, 2009). "Remember to rest amid our busy world". The Examiner. Archived from the original on 4 December 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2009.  
  9. ^ Snow Patrol's MySpace profile
  10. ^ "FOX Facts: Complete List of Grammy Award Nominations". Associated Press. 7 December 2006. Retrieved 9 December 2006.
  11. ^ Adam Webb (July 7, 2006). "Snow Patrol - 'Chasing Cars'". Yahoo! Music. Yahoo!. Retrieved 23 June 2009.   5/10 stars
  12. ^ BBC (December 30, 2009). "BBC News - Snow Patrol's Chasing Cars is most played of decade". BBC News. BBC. Retrieved 30 December 2009.  
  13. ^ "Top 500". Virgin Radio. 2006. Archived from the original on 31 December 2006. Retrieved 6 December 2009.  
  14. ^ "Digital download factsheet" (PDF). The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 21 November 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2009.  
  15. ^ "Download chart toppers". iAfrica. 7 September 2009. Archived from the original on 24 November 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2009.  
  16. ^ "Countdowns - The Rock 1000". The Rock. Retrieved 9 January 2010.  
  17. ^ "The Rock 1000 - The Rock 1000 recap". The Rock. Retrieved 9 January 2010.  
  18. ^ Heawood, Sophie (October 30, 2009). "Snow Patrol: 'We're not ready for greatest hits'". The Times. Archived from the original on 31 October 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2009.  
  19. ^ A State of Trance #264 Playlist
  20. ^ A State of Trance #280 Playlist
  21. ^ Party Ben official site
  22. ^ a b References for chart positions: "Official ARIA digital track chart". ARIA Charts. Retrieved 6 November 2006.  
  23. ^ "Chartifacts - Week Commencing: 16 November 2009". ARIA Charts. Australian Recording Industry Association. Archived from the original on 21 November 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2009.  
  24. ^ Sweden Charting
  25. ^
  26. ^ "Snow Patrol - Chasing Cars (Chanson)". Hung Medien. Retrieved 9 November 2009.  
  27. ^ "Top 100 singles chart :: Chart week ending date 21/11/09". The Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 21 November 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2009.  
  28. ^ "TOP 50 SINGLES, WEEK ENDING 7 January 2010". Chart-Track. Retrieved 8 January 2010.  
  29. ^ Radio 1 Official Chart of the Decade, as broadcast on BBC Radio 1 on Tuesday 29th December 2009, presented by Nihal
  30. ^ "Pandora" (PDF). Archived from the original on 21 November 2009.  
  31. ^ "Bundesverband Musikindustrie: Gold-/Platin-Datenbank:" (in German). Retrieved 11 December 2009.  

External links


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