Chasing Cars ~ Snow Patrol

Snow Patrol are an alternative rock band from Bangor, County Down, Northern Ireland. Formed at the University of Dundee in 1994 as an indie rock band, the band is now based in Glasgow.

Originally formed in late 1994 by University of Dundee students Gary Lightbody, Michael Morrison and Mark McClelland as the Shrug, the band started by performing gigs at the university and surrounding pubs such as Lucifer’s Mill.  Their first EP, called the “Yoghurt vs Yoghurt debate”, was a rousing success. In 1995, they changed their name to Polar Bear (or Polarbear) to avoid issues with any American bands that were also named Shrug. Shortly afterwards, drummer Mike Morrison left the band after suffering a breakdown and returned to Northern Ireland. In mid 1997, Polar Bear released a three-track EP, Starfighter Pilot, on the Electric Honey label.  The band again renamed, this time to Snow Patrol, because of a naming conflict with another band of the same name fronted by Jane’s Addiction’s ex-bassist Eric Avery. At this point, Jonny Quinn, from Northern Ireland, joined as permanent drummer.

Snow Patrol debut album was Songs for Polarbears, released in 1998 after the band had started living in Glasgow.[10] Lightbody used to hold a job at the Nice n Sleazy’s Bar in Sauchiehall Street.  The album was a critical success, but did not make any impact commercially. The same year, the band came close to get featured in a worldwide advertisement for Philips. Gomez was ultimately signed. In 1999, the band won the “Phil Lynott Award for Best New Band” by Irish music magazine Hot Press.  In 2001, still living in Glasgow, the band followed up with When It’s All Over We Still Have to Clear Up.   Like its predecessor, the album was praised by critics, but did not sell.

Despite the record deal, the band was doing fantastically. They had started to work harder by touring more, but continued to be in control. They slept on fans’ floors after concerts and pretended to be members of Belle & Sebastian to get into nightclubs.  They owed rent to their landlords and used to receive regular visits and letters from them when on tour.  After the failure of the second album, the band began to think what was going wrong. They realized that the label’s lax attitude towards management and record promotion was harming their career, even though these were the qualities they had liked before. They realized that a lot of help was needed to succeed.  The band’s manager at the time was Danny McIntosh. Lightbody has described him as “the angriest man in pop: great, great man”. He has said that he loved the band “with every atom in his body”, and was never angry towards them. He has credited him with keeping the band together in those years. McIntosh had a gold colored splitter bus in which the band used to travel to play concerts.

Chasing Cars

Lead singer Gary Lightbody wrote the song, sober after a binge of white wine, in the garden of producer Jacknife Lee’s Kent cottage  The song has Lightbody singing a plain melody over sparse guitars, which has an ever-building crescendo.

He stated it was his “purest love song”. The phrase “Chasing Cars” came from Lightbody’s father, in reference to a girl Lightbody was infatuated with, “You’re like a dog chasing a car. You’ll never catch it and you just wouldn’t know what to do with it if you did.”

The song was first heard on the band’s 2005 Final Straw Tour, when they began playing it, along with two other newly written songs (“Your Halo” and “It’s Beginning to Get to Me”) they had intended to release on their upcoming album. Since then, the composition of the song was changed slightly, and most of the lyrics were rewritten.

We’ll do it all
Everything
On our own

We don’t need
Anything
Or anyone

If I lay here
If I just lay here
would you lie with me and just forget the world?

I don’t quite know
How to say
How I feel

Those three words
Are said too much
They’re not enough

If I lay here
If I just lay here
would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Forget what we’re told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that’s bursting into life

Let’s waste time
Chasing cars
Around our heads

I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own

If I lay here
If I just lay here
would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Forget what we’re told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that’s bursting into life

All that I am
All that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes, they’re all I can see

I don’t know where
Confused about how as well
Just know that these things will never change for us at all

If I lay here
If I just lay here
would you lie with me and just forget the world?

  • Audio from the 2006 album, Eyes Open:
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About DJ Allyn

DJ Allyn is a burned out radio guy who went on to become a burned out sound engineer for a few Seattle area grunge bands in the 1980s and 1990s. Left the madness of worldwide tours with bands, cleaned up my act and went into the relative sanity of sound engineering for television series. Currently working as the Director of Sound for a television series being filmed in North Vancouver, British Columbia. I am always on the lookout for interesting videos, old music, and fun.

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