‘Chasing Cars was one of 10 songs I wrote in a night’ – Gary Lightbody

Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody has said he wrote the band’s hit song Chasing Cars in the space of a few hours on a “particularly good night”, along with nine other songs.

The alternative rock band’s ballad has been crowned the most-played song of the 21st century.

Lightbody told BBC Breakfast: “I was in the studio with our producer and I wrote 10 songs in a night, in a few hours, and five of those songs ended up on Eyes Open, which is the album Chasing Cars is on.

Most Played song of the 21st century
Gary Lightbody receives the award for Most Played song of the 21st century, according to music licensing company PPL for his band’s record, Chasing Cars (Aaron Chown/PA)

“And by the way, that’s the first and only time that’s happened – the hit rate is normally not that good. Normally I’d write 10 songs and none of them I’d ever show or play to anybody.

“That was a particularly good night.”

Regarding the new prize from music listening company PPL, Lightbody said: “It’s amazing but, when I wrote it in 2006… I mean there’s no possible way of knowing it would even endure this long, never mind be the most played song on the radio. It’s extraordinary.”

The anthem failed to reach number one when the indie-rockers released it 13 years ago, but featured in TV shows, including Grey’s Anatomy, and a number of movies.

Lightbody, 43, who has previously described the track as the “purest love song”, said that he is still friends with the person he wrote it about.

He added that Chasing Cars still resonates with Snow Patrol fans when they play it live.

“We’re very lucky to have a lot of songs people sing along to, but that is a particularly loud sing-along,” he said.

“It changes every night with the audience that you play it to, but it’ll always get a reaction, that’s for sure.”

Earlier this week, Lightbody was presented with a special gong by PPL for the accolade.

More upbeat numbers Black Eyed Peas’ I Gotta Feeling and Pharrell’s Happy are second and third on the list.

PPL chief executive officer Peter Leather said: “Chasing Cars is a song that has become a popular anthem, securing huge success across radio, in public and especially TV, where its huge appeal has led to its use in many programmes and especially Grey’s Anatomy.”

Chasing Cars was the last song performed live on Top Of The Pops.

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