Writer(s): Gary Lightbody, Jonny Quinn, Nathan Connolly, Tom Simpson, Paul Wilson (see lyrics here)
Released: June 3, 2006
First Charted: June 6, 2006
Peak: 5 US, 9 RR, 13 AC, 12 A40, 18 AA, 8 MR, 6 UK, 18 CN, 53 AU, 7 DF (Click for codes to charts.)
Sales (in millions): 5.0 US, 1.2 UK, 7.14 world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): 0.6 radio, 473.9 video, 1118.57 streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
The rock band Snow Patrol formed in Dundee, Scotland in 1994. They didn’t really find success until their third album, 2003’s Final Straw. The album reached #3 and sold 1.8 million in the UK. Their next album, 2006’s Eyes Open, was even more successful, landing at #1 and selling 2.4 million copies in the UK. The album also gave the band success in the United States, where it went platinum.
The album’s second single, “Chasing Cars,” was the band’s breakthrough hit in the U.S. While it was Snow Patrol’s third UK top 10, it was the band’s first chart entry on Billboard’s Hot 100, going all the way to #5. The song’s success owed a debt to American television. On May 3, 2006, it was used in the third-season finale of One Tree Hill. On May 15, it was used in the second-season finale of the medical drama Grey’s Anatomy. WK
Lead singer Gary Lightbody told Rolling Stone “it’s the purest love song that I’ve ever written. There’s no knife-in-the-back twist…All the other love songs I’ve written have a dark edge.” WK The phrase “chasing cars” came from his father, who told his son he was “like a dog chasing a car” in regards to being infatuated with a girl. “You’ll never catch it and you just wouldn’t know what to do with it if you did.” WK
In the UK, the song was announced in 2009 as the most played song of the decade. Ten years later, it was declared UK radio’s most-played song of the 21st century. WK It spent 111 weeks on the UK charts, bested – at the time – only by Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” (124 weeks). WK The song was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rock Song and for a Brit Award for Best British Single.
First posted 2/27/2021; last updated 7/24/2023.