The three most-played songs on UK radio this century

Snow Patrol ballad tops list despite failing to reach No.1 on release

Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody
Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody performing at Lollapalooza Sao Paulo in April
(Image credit: Alexandre Schneider/Getty Images)

Snow Patrol ballad Chasing Cars is the most-played song on UK radio of the 21st century, according to newly released figures from music licensing company PPL.

The much-loved track failed to reach No.1 in the UK charts when it was released by the Northern Irish indie rockers in 2006, peaking at No.6 and ending the year as the 14th best-selling single.

But it stayed “in the top 75 for 94 weeks, a run that hinted at the song’s impending appeal”, notes The Daily Telegraph.

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The song went on to be crowned the most-played song of the Noughties, reports Music Week - a run of success that continued over the following decade.

This popularity may be attributed in part to the use of the track in a number of films and in TV shows including Grey’s Anatomy.

Indeed, Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody was surprising by the response after the song first featured on the US medical drama.

“They asked us whether they could use the track six weeks before [the episode] was on in America, so we had forgotten,” he told the Telegraph. “It would have been during the UK bedtime so we went to bed one night and woke up the next morning and Chasing Cars was No.1 on US iTunes overnight.”

Lightbody has described the track as “the purest love song” he has ever written, after the band penned it for their fourth album Eyes Open, reports NME.

The lyrics “just came out onto the page” during an all-night writing session, he told the BBC.

“I’ve never been able to figure out entirely why it’s been such a success,” Lightbody admitted to the Telegraph. “It is one of the most played songs around the world don’t quite know why. It’s simple, it’s heartfelt, it’s honest - these are all the things appealing to people and I don’t know why.”

The Snow Patrol track is followed by Black Eyed Peas’ I Gotta Feeling in the most-played list, with Pharrell Williams’ Happy in third place.

“They’re very upbeat songs that are giving an audience permission to kind of jump up and down and be happy,” Lightbody told BBC. “Whereas Chasing Cars is a little bit more reflective. But it’s good company to be in, because those songs have been absolutely dominant.”

The singer was presented with an award at PPL’s 85th anniversary celebration in London on Tuesday night.

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