Gary Lightbody has said he wrote the band's hit song Chasing Cars in the space of a few hours on a "particularly good night", along with nine other songs.

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The band's forlorn love ballad has been crowned the most-played song of the 21st century so far in the UK by PPL, a music licensing company for over 100,000 performers and recording rights holders.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast, Lightbody said: "I was in the studio with our producer and I wrote 10 songs in a night, in a few hours, and five of those songs ended up on Eyes Open, which is the album Chasing Cars is on.

"And by the way, that's the first and only time that's happened - the hit rate is normally not that good. Normally I'd write 10 songs and none of them I'd ever show or play to anybody.

Gary Lightbody pictured in 2008

"That was a particularly good night."

The singer has previously said that the phrase "chasing cars" was inspired by his late father, Jack, 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."

Asked about receiving an award for most played from PPL, 43-year-old Lightbody said: "It's amazing but, when I wrote it in 2006... I mean there's no possible way of knowing it would even endure this long, never mind be the most played song on the radio. It's extraordinary."

The anthem was released in June 2006 and reached No 6 in the UK and Ireland. It went on to stay in the British top 75 for 94 weeks and peaked at number 5 on the US Billboard Hot 100.

The song became a massive hit after it featured in TV shows such as Grey's Anatomy, One Tree Hill, and several movies.

The Grammy-nominated Chasing Cars, the second single from Snow patrol's fourth studio album, Eyes Open, was also the last song performed live on Top Of The Pops before the long-running show was axed in July 2006.

Snow Patrol play at Other Voices

Lightbody, who has previously described the track as the "purest love song", said that he is still friends with the person he wrote it about.

He added that Chasing Cars still resonates with Snow Patrol fans when they play it live.

"We're very lucky to have a lot of songs people sing along to, but that is a particularly loud sing-along," he said.

"It changes every night with the audience that you play it to, but it'll always get a reaction, that's for sure."

Earlier this week, Lightbody was presented with a special gong by PPL for the accolade.

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

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."

Snow Patrol released their latest album Wildness last year and played recently played shows at Ward Park in Bangor and Malahide Castle in Dublin.

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