Nfld. & Labrador

How a South Korean drama pushed The Once to one million plays on Spotify

A three-piece folk band from Newfoundland has crossed one million plays on Spotify with its cover of a Queen classic, thanks in large part to an obsession in South Korea.

'It's gone to some weird places,' band's guitarist says

The Once are (L - R) Phil Churchill, Geraldine Hollett, and Andrew Dale. (Renita Fillatre )

The song starts with a quiet, jangling banjo, before the tender tone of Geraldine Hollett's voice cuts in, singing "Oh, you make me live."

Six years later, The Once's cover of the Queen classic, You're My Best Friend, is still making them a living — albeit a modest one.

"We're still sharing one bed in a hotel room," band member Phil Churchill joked with CBC's On The Go.

Last week, the song crossed a staggering one million plays on Spotify, one of the world's most popular music streaming services.

While the band has a popular following in their home province of Newfoundland and Labrador, it's not solely their saltwater kin who have been mashing the play button lately.

After the song was played on an episode of It's Okay, That's Love, a South Korean drama in 2014, The Once had a growing fan base in Asia.

"Somehow, based on the large fandom of that show, it charted," said Churchill with a laugh. "It's gone to some weird places."

In a blog post last year, American television personality and fashion designer Lauren Conrad revealed the tune was played for the first dance at her wedding.

"It's even managed to get in between ultra beautiful couples in Los Angeles," Churchill said. "It's just kind of gone everywhere."

American TV personality Lauren Conrad says she used The Once's version of You're My Best Friend as the first dance at her wedding. (Courtesy laurenconrad.com)

Despite crossing one million plays — along with 2.5 million on YouTube and another few hundred thousand on Soundcloud — the band isn't expecting any huge cheques from Spotify.

"It's probably enough to buy ourselves our own used vinyl copy of Queen's 1976 album, A Night at the Opera, which that song appeared on," Churchill laughed.

The band is currently in Nova Scotia, recording its sixth album with a series of shows lined up across Canada in November and December.

Freddie Mercury and Queen first performed their hit song, You're My Best Friend, in 1975. (Dave Hogan/Getty Images)

"[It] is kind of weird when you tuck your head down and keep working and not really thinking about it," Churchill said.

"My favourite band growing up was the Police… It dawned on me they made five albums. And I'm making six with my trio."

No matter how this album performs, The Once will always have their hit in South Korea, and they'll always have each other — they're best friends.

With files from On The Go

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