Writer(s): Ryan Tedder (see lyrics here)
Released: June 14, 2013
First Charted: June 29, 2013
Peak: 2 US, 14 BA, 11 RR, 12 AC, 17 A40, 4 AA, 12 UK, 11 CN, 2 AU, 7 DF (Click for codes to charts.)
Sales (in millions): 10.0 US, 1.64 UK, 12.93 world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 2880.0 video, 2000.43 streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
One Republic emerged in 2007 with their #2 US hit “Apologize.” It put Ryan Tedder, the song’s singer and writer, on the music world’s radar and led to him working with Beyoncé, Kelly Clarkson (“Already Gone”), Elle Goulding (“Burn”), Leona Lewis (“Bleeding Love”), and others. 2013 found him and his band back in familiar chart territory when “Counting Stars” matched the chart success of “Apologize” and stayed on the charts for 68 weeks, fifth most in the history of the Billboard Hot 100. WK The song was the third single from the band’s third studio album, Native. It hit #1 in multiple countries, including Canada and the UK, and went top ten in 20 countries. WK In Canada, it took a record-setting 34 weeks to reach #1. WK
Tedder came up with the genesis of the song while working with Beyoncé on her follow-up to 2011’s 4. While waiting for her in her studio one morning, he discovered a little-known folk song. He reached out to the writer to collaborate, but when he was rebuffed he did his own interpretation which was heavier on piano and acoustic guitar and took on a more soulful, gospel sound. SF The band explained the song is about “Laying in bed awake at night…thinking ‘How are we gonna make ends meet? How are we gonna pay the bills?’…So instead of counting sheep, we’re counting stars.” WK
Tedder told Billboard magazine he felt a band should create meaningful, uplifting songs. He talked about U2 as a band “who sings about things other than just boy-girl troubles” SF and said he “felt a responsibility to actually write and sing about things that have a level of human gravity to them.” SF He said he’d rather have a song that’s “embedded in the cultural framework…than a #1 song that explodes for five seconds, becomes the dance hit of the summer, then goes away.” SF
While it may not have been a dance hit, it has been called a “folk pop song with a disco beat.” WK The Denver Post’s Ricardo Baca said it was “an extremely effective and infectious song.” WK
Last updated 7/23/2023.