Chasing Cars

Chasing Cars
"Chasing Cars"
Single by Snow Patrol
from the album 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
"Chasing Cars"

"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] "Chasing Cars" gained significant popularity in the United States 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. 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 25 August 2011, the single has spent 106 weeks on the official UK Top 75 Singles Chart and 150 on the Top 100[5] and has sold 505,000 copies in the UK, despite missing the Top 5.[6]



Lead singer Gary Lightbody wrote the song, sober after a binge of white wine, in the garden of producer Jacknife Lee's Kent cottage.[7] The song has Lightbody singing a plain melody over sparse guitars, which has an ever-building crescendo.[8]

He stated it was his "purest love song".[9] 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."[6]

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,[citation needed] 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 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.

Many[who?] have noted similarities between the way Lightbody lays down in the American video and the planking fad.



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".[8]

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.[citation needed]

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, March 2011, and most recently in July 2011, taking the song's tally up to an incredible 106 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 106 was a physical copy of "Chasing Cars" officially available. It has also spent 150 weeks on the Top 100.[5]

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 fourteenth most downloaded song in the country of all time.[15] "Chasing Cars" also went to number one on the Adult Contemporary chart for two non consecutive weeks.

As of May 2011, the song was sold 3,000,000 times in the USA.[16]


Publication Country Accolade Year Rank
The Rock FM New Zealand The Rock 1000[17][18] 2008 719
2009 554

Covers and samples

A trance version of the song was remixed by Blake Jarrell & Topher Jones. It aired on the 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]

  • The Baseballs, a rockabilly cover band that turn pop hits in 1950s-style rock and roll, covered the song in 2010. The video features the slicked-up band playing a 1950s prom.[22]
  • Shane Harper from Dance on Sunset covered the song for his Music MySpace.
  • Dickie Rock covers the song on his 2007 album Sings contemporary Irish Classic Hits.
  • The song was covered by the cast of Grey's Anatomy in episode "Song Beneath the Song" (Season 7 Episode 18).
  • Chris Norman covers the song during his concert in Červeník, SLOVAKIA on 6 August 2011

Formats and track listings

  • UK Promo (released in July 2006)
  1. "Chasing Cars" [radio edit] – 4:08
  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
  • Mexico & Australia Promo
  1. "Chasing Cars" [Radio Edit] – 4:08
  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

Weekly charts

Chart (2006) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[23] 53
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 75)[24] 2
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[25] 3
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[26] 13
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[27] 18
Denmark (Tracklisten)[28] 13
European Hot 100 Singles[29] 10
France (SNEP)[30] 57
Germany (Media Control AG)[31] 8
Ireland (IRMA)[32] 6
Netherlands (Mega Single Top 100)[33] 21
New Zealand (RIANZ)[34] 3
Norway (VG-lista)[35] 9
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[36] 40
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[37] 4
UK Singles (The Official Charts Company)[38] 6
US Billboard Hot 100[39] 5
US Billboard Pop 100 6
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard)[40] 1
US Adult Pop Songs (Billboard)[41] 1
US Alternative Songs (Billboard)[42] 8
US Pop Songs (Billboard)[43] 10

Year-end charts

Chart (2006) Position
UK Singles Chart[44] 14
Chart (2007) Position
German Singles Chart[45] 38
UK Singles Chart[44] 34
US Billboard Hot 100[46] 29
Chart (2008) Position
UK Singles Chart[44] 95
Chart (2009) Position
UK Singles Chart[44] 153

Decade-end charts

Chart (2000–2009) Position
UK Top 100 Songs of the Decade[47] 49

All-time charts

Chart Position
UK Download Chart [15] 14


Country Sales Certification
Australia 210,000 3x Platinum[48]
Germany 150,000 Gold[49]
New Zealand 15,000 Platinum[50]

See also


  1. ^ Single release details
  2. ^ Philipp, Sven (24 June 2006), "Chasing Cars." Billboard. 118 (25):61
  3. ^ "Top 40 Singles of 2006"]. BBC Radio 1. BBC. Retrieved 2010-06-10. [dead link]
  4. ^ "Top 40 Singles of 2007". BBC Radio 1. BBC. Retrieved 2010-06-10. 
  5. ^ a b "Chart Stats - Snow Patrol - Chasing Cars". Retrieved 30 November 2010. 
  6. ^ a b
  7. ^ "50 Years Of Great British Music". Q. Bauer Media Group. Archived from the original on 20 November 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2009. 
  8. ^ a b Phillip, Sven (24 June 2006). "Singles - Pop". Billboard (Nielsen Business Media, Inc.) 118 (25): 61. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 11 December 2009. 
  9. ^ van Ryn, Claire (30 November 2009). "Remember to rest amid our busy world". The Examiner. Archived from the original on 4 December 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2009. 
  10. ^ "FOX Facts: Complete List of Grammy Award Nominations". Associated Press. 7 December 2006. Retrieved 9 December 2006.
  11. ^ Adam Webb (7 July 2006). "Snow Patrol - 'Chasing Cars'". Yahoo! Music. Yahoo!. Retrieved 23 June 2009.  5/10 stars
  12. ^ BBC (30 December 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. ^ a b
  16. ^;_ylt=AkYUr3z86NaYgo5NL0BQkuIPwiUv
  17. ^ "Countdowns - The Rock 1000". The Rock. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  18. ^ "The Rock 1000 - The Rock 1000 recap". The Rock. Retrieved 9 January 2010. 
  19. ^ A State of Trance #264 Playlist
  20. ^ A State of Trance #280 Playlist
  21. ^ Party Ben official site
  22. ^
  23. ^ " – Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars". ARIA Top 50 Singles. Hung Medien.
  24. ^ "Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars –" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Hung Medien.
  25. ^ " – Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Ultratop & Hung Medien /
  26. ^ " – Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars" (in French). Ultratip. ULTRATOP & Hung Medien /
  27. ^ "Snow Patrol Album & Song Chart History" Canadian Hot 100 for Snow Patrol. Prometheus Global Media.
  28. ^ " – Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars". Tracklisten. Hung Medien.
  29. ^ "Snow Patrol Album & Song Chart History" European Hot 100 for Snow Patrol. Prometheus Global Media.
  30. ^ " – Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars" (in French). Les classement single. Hung Medien.
  31. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche -" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  32. ^ "Chart Track". Irish Singles Chart. Irish Recorded Music Association. Retrieved 2011-05-29.
  33. ^ " – Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars" (in Dutch). Mega Single Top 100. Hung Medien /
  34. ^ " – Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars". Top 40 Singles. Hung Medien.
  35. ^ " – Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars". VG-lista. Hung Medien.
  36. ^ " – Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars". Singles Top 60. Hung Medien.
  37. ^ "Snow Patrol – Chasing Cars –". Swiss Singles Chart. Hung Medien.
  38. ^ "Archive Chart" UK Singles Chart. The Official Charts Company.
  39. ^ "Snow Patrol Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Hot 100 for Snow Patrol. Prometheus Global Media.
  40. ^ "Snow Patrol Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Adult Contemporary Songs for Snow Patrol. Prometheus Global Media.
  41. ^ "Snow Patrol Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Adult Pop Songs for Snow Patrol. Prometheus Global Media.
  42. ^ "Snow Patrol Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Alternative Songs for Snow Patrol. Prometheus Global Media.
  43. ^ "Snow Patrol Album & Song Chart History" Billboard Pop Songs for Snow Patrol. Prometheus Global Media.
  44. ^ a b c d "Charts Plus Year end 2009" (PDF). Charts Plus. Retrieved 2011-05-29. 
  45. ^
  46. ^
  47. ^ Radio 1 Official Chart of the Decade, as broadcast on BBC Radio 1 on Tuesday 29 December 2009, presented by Nihal
  48. ^ }}
  49. ^ {{cite web | language = German | title = Bundesverband Musikindustrie: Gold-/Platin-Datenbank: | url = "German certifications – Chasing%20Cars" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved 11 December 2009. 
  50. ^ "Latest Gold / Platinum Singles". RadioScope. 12 September 2010. Retrieved September 2010. 

External links

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