Snow Patrol’s 2006 ballad “Chasing Cars” has been named the most-played song of the 21st century by the British music licensing company PPL. The track, which reached No. 6 on the UK Official Singles Chart, stayed in the top 75 for 94 weeks and was that year’s 14th-best selling single in the UK. PPL also noted that it was the last song performed on the long-running BBC music series Top of the Pops in July 2006.
Singer Gary Lightbody was presented with the award at PPL’s 85th celebration at the OXO Tower in London on Tuesday (July 16), telling the BBC, “It’s unbelievable. I’m not sure how that happened.” As to what the secret to the song’s enduring appeal is, he said, “It’s an emotionally open song and it’s a simple song. But it’s unabashedly a love song, and we don’t really have any others. The way it unifies an audience is the thing I most cherish about it. It’s a beautiful moment every time you play it.”
The track, which stayed on the British charts for more than three years, beat out such other mega-singles as the No. 2, the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling,” and Pharrell’s “Happy.” “Chasing Cars” appeared on Snow Patrol’s fourth album, Eyes Open. PPL’s data tracks all recordings played by radio and TV broadcasters.
“‘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,” said PPL CEO Peter Leathem in a statement. “These platforms can dramatically extend the life of a record beyond its initial release, and PPL is here to collect the royalties owed to the performers and recording rightsholders of that song, whenever and wherever it is used. We congratulate Snow Patrol for writing and performing a track of such long-lasting appeal.”
In an Instagram post celebrating the honor, the band added the disclaimer that “Cars” is the most-played track on UK radio in the 21st century “so far,” noting that they are “very aware of the ‘so far’ bit. And the fact that it’s way WAY too early to be talking century just yet… We are blown away that ‘Chasing Cars’ has been played more than any other song on UK radio these last 19 years. Thanks to the stations and DJs that play it and to the fans that request it. It was played over 12,000 times on UK radio just last year so it’s still getting played so much (some of you are thinking “I know, enough already!”)… In our 25th anniversary year it’s a hell of a thing to find out.”
View this post on Instagram
Ok so disclaimer first. The most played track on UK radio of the 21st century SO FAR! We are very well aware of the ‘so far’ bit. And the fact that it’s way WAY too early to be talking century just yet. Thank you to the @ppl_uk for giving us this award as part of their 85th anniversary festivities. 85 years in popular music is about as long as it can be. Seen it all. We are blown away that Chasing Cars has been played more than any other song on UK radio these last 19 years. Thanks to the stations and DJs that play it and to the fans that request it. It was played over 12,000 times on UK radio just last year so it’s still getting played so much (some of you are thinking “I know, enough already!”). . In our 25th anniversary year it’s a hell of a thing to find out. Big love all of you. gL.x