The most played song of the 21st Century has been revealed 🎶

Once you know, it'll make so much sense!

woman listening to music on headphones

by Naomi Holland and Emma Dodds |
Updated on

In the last 19 years, there's been one song in particular that has been played on the radio more than any other - and it's now been uncovered!

Snow Patrol's ballad 'Chasing Cars' has been crowned the most-played song of the 21st century on UK radio! The band's frontman Gary Lightbody has previously said the track is "the purest love song'' he has ever written.

Although 'Chasing Cars', which featured on the band's 2006 album 'Eyes Open', failed to reach number one in the UK Charts when it was released, it did feature in TV shows including Grey's Anatomy, and a number of movies. It was also the last ever song performed live on Top Of The Pops.

Gary was presented with a special gong by music licensing company PPL, telling the BBC it was "unbelievable", adding, "I'm not sure how that happened".

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


Songs turning 10 in 2019 - slider with cover pic

Swipe through to see which songs turn 10-years-old in 2019...1 of 19
CREDIT: u00a9 YouTube/Polydor

Swipe through to see which songs turn 10-years-old in 2019...

CREDIT: u00a9 YouTube/Polydor

'Fight For This Love' by Cheryl

After Girls Aloud announced their split, Cheryl started her solo career by releasing her massive hit single 'Fight For This Love' in October 2009.

'Bad Boys' by Alexandra Burke Ft. Flo Rida3 of 19
CREDIT: u00a9 YouTube/Alexandraofficialuk

'Bad Boys' by Alexandra Burke Ft. Flo Rida

After winning The X Factor in 2008, Alexandra Burke teamed up with Flo Rida to release her amazing single 'Bad Boys' in October 2009.

'I Gotta Feeling' by Black Eyed Peas4 of 19
CREDIT: u00a9 YouTube/BlackEyedPeas

'I Gotta Feeling' by Black Eyed Peas

'I Gotta Feeling' was the second song released from the Black Eyed Peas' fifth studio album, and it soon become one of the biggest songs of 2009.

CREDIT: u00a9 YouTube/LadyGaga

'Bad Romance' by Lady Gaga

Since releasing the single 'Bad Romance' in 2009, Lady Gaga has had massive success, with this single being one of her most popular to date.

'In For The Kill' by La Roux6 of 19
CREDIT: u00a9 YouTube/LaRoux

'In For The Kill' by La Roux

She had the best quiff in the world of music and when La Roux dropped her catchy hit 'In For The Kill' in 2009, fans loved it!

'Party In The USA' by Miley Cyrus7 of 19
CREDIT: u00a9 YouTube/HollywoodRecordsVEVO

'Party In The USA' by Miley Cyrus

Although 'Party In The USA' was originally meant for Jessie J, Miley Cyrus made it a massive hit when she released the track in August 2009.


'Beat Again' by JLS

Despite finishing in second place on The X Factor behind Alexandra Burke, the JLS boys had massive success, including their debut single 'Beat Again' which was released in 2009.

'When Love Takes Over' by David Guetta and Kelly Rowland9 of 19
CREDIT: u00a9 YouTube/DavidGuetta

'When Love Takes Over' by David Guetta and Kelly Rowland

It was arguably the song of the summer in 2009, and David Guetta's massive hit single 'When Love Takes Over' featuring Kelly Rowland is still a crowd favourite today!

'Run This Town' by Jay-Z, Rihanna and Kanye West10 of 19
CREDIT: u00a9 YouTube/Release

'Run This Town' by Jay-Z, Rihanna and Kanye West

It was released ten years ago, but 'Run This Town' is still to date one of the biggest collaborations ever, featuring none-other than Jay-Z, Rihanna and Kanye West!

'Mama Do' by Pixie Lott11 of 19
CREDIT: u00a9 YouTube/PixieLott

'Mama Do' by Pixie Lott

18-year-old Pixie Lott released her debut single 'Mama Do' in 2009, making her one of the youngest singers to have a UK number one single since Billie Piper in 1998.

'Forever Is Over' by The Saturdays12 of 19
CREDIT: u00a9 YouTube/TheSaturdays

'Forever Is Over' by The Saturdays

Catchy single 'Forever Is Over' was released in October 2009 and helped The Saturday score their fifth top 10 hit.

'She Wolf' by Shakira13 of 19
CREDIT: u00a9 YouTube/Shakira

'She Wolf' by Shakira

Colombian singer Shakira dropped her massive hit single 'She Wolf' in the summer of 2009, leaving her fans amazed at her dance moves in the video.

'Holiday' by Dizzee Rascal14 of 19
CREDIT: u00a9 YouTube/DizzeeRascal

'Holiday' by Dizzee Rascal

Rapper Dizzee Rascal delighted his fans in 2009 by releasing the amazing 'Holiday'.

'Rude Boy' by Rihanna15 of 19
CREDIT: u00a9 YouTube/Rihanna

'Rude Boy' by Rihanna

2009 was an amazing year for Rihanna! Among others, the singer dropped 'Rude Boy' for her fans in February.

'Fireflies' by Owl City16 of 19
CREDIT: u00a9 YouTube/OwlCity

'Fireflies' by Owl City

When Owl City released their debut single 'Fireflies' in 2009, the world fell in love with the track, with it going to Number 1 in a number of countries, including the UK.

'Telephone' by Lady Gaga and Beyoncu00e917 of 19
CREDIT: u00a9 YouTube/LadyGaga

'Telephone' by Lady Gaga and Beyoncé

As well as releasing some amazing songs of her own in 2009, Lady Gaga teamed up with Beyoncé on the hit track 'Telephone'. And the video was spectacular!

'My Life Would Suck Without You' by Kelly Clarkson18 of 19
CREDIT: u00a9 YouTube/KellyClarkson

'My Life Would Suck Without You' by Kelly Clarkson

Since winning American Idol in 2002, Kelly Clarkson has had an amazing career, including her 2009 single 'My Life Would Suck Without You', which still gets stuck in our heads today.

'Empire State Of Mind' by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys19 of 19
CREDIT: u00a9 YouTube

'Empire State Of Mind' by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys

It was released way back in 2009, but 'Empire State Of Mind' by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys is still one of the biggest songs on the planet.

Announcing the news on Twitter, the PPL - who track all the music played on radio and TV - shared a photo of Gary receiving an award, writing, 'In honour of our 85th birthday, we delved into our data to identify the Most Played Song of the 21st century & we are delighted to reveal it is Chasing Cars by @SnowPatrol. Tonight our CEO @PeterLeathem presented @garysnowpatrol with an award to recognise this amazing achievement.' [sic]

When asked what he thought the draw to the song was, Gary 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."

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."

Congratulations, Snow Patrol!

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