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Counting Stars

by

OneRepublic



Songfacts®:  You can leave comments about the song at the bottom of the page.

OneRepublic frontman Ryan Tedder had the idea for this tune while working with Beyoncé on her follow-up to 2011's 4. One morning while Tedder was prepping for his studio time with Bey, he came across a little known folk song that he fell in love with. Wanting to write his own version of the tune, Tedder tried to reach out to the original writer to see if he would collaborate with him. "He was like, 'I don't know about that,' and it was aloof enough that I was like, 'Oh screw it,'" Tedder explained to Radio.com.

Tedder finally did his own interpretation, which took on a more soulful, gospel sound than the original. "It kept the spirit of what I was looking for the whole time," he said.
The song was the first ever UK #1 single for Ryan Tedder as a performer, though the Oklahoman had previously been credited as co-writer on the British chart-topping singles for Leona Lewis ("Bleeding Love") and Ellie Goulding ("Burn").
The song's music video was filmed on May 10, 2013, in New Orleans, Louisiana and directed by James Lees. It features the band performing in a basement beneath an ongoing church congregation.
Tedder told Billboard magazine that he finds it gratifying that so many have connected with such an uplifting and meaningful song. "I think it's our responsibility as a band, and what separates us from everyone else. I took that from being a fan of U2 for two decades now, since Achtung Baby," he said. "To this day, they might be the only band on that level who sings about things other than just boy-girl troubles or the kind of selfish, 'I'm a badass' stuff. I've spoken with Bono about this when we toured with him, and he said the same thing."

"I felt a responsibility to actually write and sing about things that have a level of human gravity to them," Tedder continued. "If everybody else sings about sex and love and lust and money, then somebody's gotta be singing about life and faith and hope and things of that nature. And in the pantheon of their esteemed career, they've had two #1 hits, and I think both were 25 years ago. It's not about that - it's about what songs feel real. I'd rather have a song that peaks at #15 that's meaningful and embedded in the cultural framework we live in than a #1 song that explodes for five seconds, becomes the dance hit of the summer, then goes away."
This was used in a commercial for Bud Light beer that aired during the 2014 Super Bowl. The spot was part of their "The Perfect Beer For Whatever Happens" campaign, which followed a regular guy who agreed to be up for "whatever happens" on a series of adventures, culminating with a a ping-pong game against Arnold Schwarzenegger that then reveals a concert by OneRepublic, who are performing this song.
Ryan Tedder started writing the song in New York but finished it on the Greek island of Santorini. He told Billboard magazine: "If I think I have something that I love that feels huge, that feels like it's inevitable - which isn't all the time - I will intentionally get it to where I know, 'This is nuclear, I know this is gonna connect, but I want to finish this in a place that's special, that inspires me.' We've been trying to go to Santorini for three years and I thought, 'This is the perfect place to finish this song.'"
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Comments (1):

Ryan was a mentor on last season's The Voice, and he talked about how this song came about. He wanted to pursue music full-time, but he and his wife were struggling financially, working all sorts of jobs to pay the bills. He told her that one day, he would be successful in the music business and they would have money to burn, hence the line "make that money, watch it burn."
- Maria, Philadelphia, PA
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