Starfighter Pilot (song)

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"Starfighter Pilot"
Snow patrol starfighter pilot.png
Single by Snow Patrol
from the album Songs for Polarbears
B-side "Raze the City"
"Riot, Please"
Released 28 June 1999 (UK)
Format CD, 12" Vinyl
Recorded 1997 at Chamber Studios, Edinburgh
Genre Grunge, alternative rock
Length 3:40
Label Jeepster Records (UK)
Songwriter(s) Gary Lightbody and Mark McClelland
Producer(s) Jamie Watson
Snow Patrol singles chronology
"Velocity Girl / Absolute Gravity"
"Starfighter Pilot"
"Ask Me How I Am"

"Velocity Girl / Absolute Gravity"
"Starfighter Pilot"
"Ask Me How I Am"
Alternative cover
CD II, Promo
CD II, Promo

"Starfighter Pilot" was the fourth single released by Snow Patrol, and the second track on their debut album Songs for Polarbears. The lyrics were written by Snow Patrol frontman Gary Lightbody and the music was composed by Lightbody and the other two members of Snow Patrol at the time, Mark McClelland and Jonny Quinn.[1]


"Starfighter Pilot" was originally released under Snow Patrol's former name Polarbear in 1997. The song was described by The Times as "a wonky indie number that is refreshingly rough around the edges".[2] Irish Central called it a "dirty glam masterpiece".[3] Drummer Jonny Quinn remembers it to be the first Snow Patrol song he listened to on the radio, back in 1998 in a cafe in Ireland. He found the experience "chilling".

Lightbody hated the song, and has said that it "burns [his] soul to play it, it has the worst fucking lyrics ever."[4] During the Reworked Tour of November–December 2009, the band started playing the song again. Lightbody said that the song had lost all meaning to them, and playing it felt as if the band was at a "loss for anything important to say".[5] However, he has stated that he has started to like the song again.[6]

Track listing[edit]

  • CD I:
  1. "Starfighter Pilot (Radio Mix)" - 3:40
  2. "Raze the City" - 4:21
  3. "Riot, Please" - 2:52
  • CD II:
  1. "Starfighter Pilot (The Bad Belle Mix)" - 4:29
  2. "Starfighter Pilot (Cut La Roc Mix)" - 3:59
  3. "Starfighter Pilot (Steve Hitchcock Mix)" - 3:09[7]
  • Promo (12" Vinyl):
A: "Starfighter Pilot (Cut La Roc Mix)" - 3:59
A: "Starfighter Pilot (The Bad Belle Mix)" - 4:29
B: "Starfighter Pilot (Twin Tub Re-Score)"
B: "Starfighter Pilot (Steve Hitchcock Mix)" - 3:09
B: "Starfighter Pilot (Radio Mix)" - 3:40[8]

Release and reception[edit]

Magazine clipping advertising the release of the singles.

The single was released on 28 June 1999[9] in two versions. The first version was backed with 2 new songs as b-sides. These songs would later be re-released as bonus tracks on the 2006 re-release of Songs for Polarbears.[10]

The second version contained 3 remixes of the song: "The Bad Belle Mix", "Cut La Roc Mix", and "Steve Hitchcock Mix". The "Bad Belle Mix" was remixed by the band's longtime friend Richard Colburn, who previously had played drums on their first release, the EP Starfighter Pilot.[11] DJ Cut La Roc and Steve Hitchcock remixed the other two tracks.[12] Lightbody would go on to collaborate with Cut la Roc on a song "Fallen" in 2001, which would later be released as a single.[13]

The single sold poorly, and only peaked at 161 on the UK singles chart. However, it remains a firm favourite of older fans[14] and was included on the band's 2009 compilation Up to Now.


Chart (1999)[15] Peak
UK Singles Chart 161


  1. ^ "Official Website". Snow Patrol. Retrieved 2014-05-10. 
  2. ^ Verrico, Lisa (2006-12-03). "Snow Patrol - Live at Bournemouth International Centre". The Times. Retrieved 2009-08-31. 
  3. ^ Farragher, Michael (18 November 2009). "Fall in love with Snow Patrol all over again with greatest hits album". Irish Central. Archived from the original on November 20, 2009. Retrieved 20 November 2009. 
  4. ^ Wood, Beci (5 November 2009). "Snow Patrol rock local pub". The Sun. Archived from the original on November 6, 2009. Retrieved 2009-11-06. 
  5. ^ Earls, John. "What now for Snow Patrol?". Planet Sound. Teletext. Archived from the original on November 21, 2009. Retrieved 21 November 2009. 
  6. ^ Lightbody, Gary (20 November 2009). "All Brighton the night". Archived from the original on November 21, 2009. Retrieved 21 November 2009. 
  7. ^ "Starfighter Pilot (Cd2) [CD 2]: Music". Retrieved 2014-05-10. 
  8. ^ "Snow Patrol - Starfighter Pilot Remixes (Vinyl) at Discogs". Retrieved 2014-05-10. 
  9. ^ [1] Archived June 1, 2009, at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ "Official Website". Snow Patrol. Retrieved 2014-05-10. 
  11. ^ "Snow Patrol - Starfighter Pilot (Remixes) (CD) at Discogs". 1999-06-28. Retrieved 2014-05-10. 
  12. ^ "Snow Patrol: Starfighter pilot". NME. Archived from the original on April 20, 2010. Retrieved 14 June 2009. 
  13. ^ "Official Website". Snow Patrol. Retrieved 2014-05-10. 
  14. ^ "AU: Ward Park gig review". Retrieved 2014-05-10. 
  15. ^ "Chart Log UK: DJ S - The System Of Life". Retrieved 2014-05-10. 

External links[edit]