Snow Patrol

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Snow Patrol
Years active 1994–present
Status Active
Origin United Kingdom
Music genre(s) Indie, Rock
Members Gary Lightbody (1994)
Paul Wilson (2005)
Jonny Quinn (1997)
Nathan Connolly (2002)
Tom Simpson (2005)
Mark McClelland (1994 - 2005)

Snow Patrol are a British indie rock band formed by students in 1994 in Dundee.

Band history

Dundee university students Gary Lightbody and Mark McClelland, from Bangor and Belfast respectively, formed Shrug in 1994 and started gigging in the local area.

The following year they renamed the band Polarbear, though this was to be temporary due to the fact that a member of the band Jane's Addiction had previously formed a group with that same name. Due to a friend's insistence in calling the band 'Snow Patrol', they ultimately decided to adopt that name.

As Polarbear, the band released an EP called "Starfighter Pilot" with record label Electric Honey in 1997. They released their first album, as Snow Patrol, with Jeepster the following year, calling it Songs for Polarbears. As with their first release, the singles released from the album, and the album itself, met with limited success, not breaching the Top 100 in the United Kingdom.

At this point they started gaining some television exposure and in 2001 released When It's All Over We Still Have to Clear Up, which again, though closer to the mark, failed to break into the Top 100.


Mainstream success came after the band signed with Polydor, on the release of their third album, Final Straw, at the end of 2003. The album made No.3 in the UK album charts and No.1 in the equivalent chart in the Republic of Ireland, also breaking the Top 100 in the United States.

Spitting Games initially reached No.54 in the UK singles chart in 2003. Following a re-release of the album at the beginning of the following year (which included two extra tracks in the UK version), Run managed No.5 in the UK charts, bringing Snow Patrol their first Top 10 hit. Chocolate peaked at No.24 and the re-released Spitting Games reached No.23. The final single from the album peaked at No.39.


Mark McClelland was to leave the band in March of 2005 leaving Snow Patrol to be the support act for U2 on their Vertigo Tour in 2005 with Paul Wilson as a replacement.

Final Straw went on to become a quadruple platinum selling album in the UK, with over two million sales world wide. The tour and increasing exposure on British and US television series probably helped sales of the album and of their following album of 2006, Eyes Open. Run was used in Doctor Who Confidential and in the trailer for The Guardian. Chasing Cars was used as the theme song to the hit U.S. television show Grey's Anatomy, resulting in mass exposure to the U.S. market. Other Snow Patrol songs were also used in that series, and the video for Somewhere a Clock is Ticking, used in the second season finale, was re-edited to include clips from the TV show. Other TV shows that helped increase the band's exposure both at home and abroad include Rescue Me, Dream Team, One Tree Hill, ER, Doctor Who, Torchwood, Cold Case, Jericho, Life As We Know It The 4400, Two Pints of Lager, The Black Donnellys, Big Brother UK's "best bits", the mini-series Empire Falls, the promotion of RTÉ's The Sunday Game, in the promo for season two of Gossip Girl, and as the theme music to BBC1's Football Focus. Top Gear included Run on their album Top Gear: The Ultimate Driving Experience.

Snow Patrol songs have also featured in films, including The Chumscrubber, a BBC made-for-TV film Wide Sargasso Sea, The Last Kiss, Stop-Loss, American Pie: Band Camp, Wicker Park and a single called Signal Fire, which is not currently on any Snow Patrol album, featured as the sound-track for Spider-Man 3.

Software companies also included Snow Patrol tracks in several video games, including MVP Baseball 2004, Club Football 2005, LMA Manager 2007 and Gran Turismo 4.

In 2005, the band released a live album, Live and Acoustic at Park Ave. Eyes Open sold more albums than its predecessor studio album, hitting six-times platinum sales in the UK, quadruple platinum in Australia, double platinum in New Zealand, and platinum in the USA. Despite this, the album was regarded as less rocky and more staid by some critics and fans than Final Straw.


In 2007 the group performed their biggest concert to date[1] in Bangor, supported by Ash, Kowalski and We are Scientists.[2] It was somewhat poignant for members Gary Lightbody and Jonny Quinn, both from the town, and regarded as a home-coming for the band. Indeed, the tickets for the gig labelled the gig, "Snow Patrol: The Homecoming Concert".[3]

With around thirty thousand fans turning up at the Ward Park venue, it was the biggest event of its kind Bangor had seen. As the band played Open Your Eyes, large video screens at either side of the stage played a video of the journey from Belfast City Airport to Bangor, finishing at the end of the song by arriving at the entrance to Ward Park.[4]

The Northern Ireland football theme was very much a part of the concert, with replica Northern Irish football shirts with the band's name on them being sold as part of the merchandising. With the Northern Ireland team doing well, both Lightbody and Ash front-man Tim Wheeler said a few words in support of the team's bid to qualify for Euro 2008, which led to fans chanting the surname of player David Healy.[5]

Drummer Jonny Quinn proposed to his girlfriend on-stage at the concert[5] and Lightbody promised to make a return to Bangor, and the band's hopes in having created an annual event.

The album A Hundred Million Suns was released at the end of August, 2008.


  1. "Snow Patrol home coming" Belfast Telegraph Television interview
  2. Snow Patrol to light up Bangor Belfast Telegraph
  3. "Open Your Eyes…Snow Patrol Hits Bangor", Northern Ireland's creative digital hub
  4. XL Video on Snow Patrol et now website
  5. 5.0 5.1 The big Bangor return... Snow Patrol BBC Northern Ireland, Across the Line