Snow Patrol’s ballad ‘Chasing Cars’ has been crowned the most-played song of the 21st Century on UK radio.
Originally released in 2006, the lovestruck ballad never reached number one in the UK, but remained on the charts for more than three years.
It took up a similar residency on the airwaves, where it has become the most popular song of the last 20 years.
Second place went to Black Eyed Peas’ I Gotta Feeling, while Pharrell’s similarly upbeat Happy came third.
“It’s unbelievable,” Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody said, “I’m not sure how that happened.”
Asked to explain the Chasing Cars’ appeal, he said: “It’s an emotionally open song and it’s a simple song. But it’s also 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 song was taken from Snow Patrol’s fourth album, Eyes Open. It was the 14th biggest-selling single of 2006, and the last song played live on Top of the Pops.
Lightbody was presented with a special award marking the achievement on Tuesday by music licensing body PPL, which tracks all the music played on radio and television in the UK, as it marked its 85th anniversary.
Speaking to BBC News, Lightbody looked back on the creation of Chasing Cars in a wine-fuelled, all-night recording session.
Yes, Jacknife Lee had a studio in the shed of his garden and we went down there with a couple of bottles of wine, and we wrote through the night.
In fact, we wrote 10 songs that night – and five of them ended up on Eyes Open, so that was pretty much half the album.
Normally when you listen back to the music you wrote after a few glasses of wine, you go, ‘Ah well, better luck next time’. But that particular evening, [we] gathered a lot of good stuff.
I’m not sure. We were writing a Snow Patrol record, but we were also tasked with writing some songs for some other people – so that might have taken some pressure off. But by the next morning, none of those songs were going to anybody else, that’s for sure!
Oh, I’m not going to tell you that! That’s not fair!
. The lyrics for that song all came spontaneously that night. They just came out onto the page. And that’s how I used to write – with just a flow. They would generally just sort of come out, and I wouldn’t edit, for better or worse.
So with Chasing Cars, it was just what was happening at that moment in my life. I was in love. So it was a true, true representation of what was going on.