The Fray How To Save A Life

Colorado-based The Fray has struck a nerve around the world with their latest music video for “How To Save A Life”, becoming linked with an online campaign focused on moral courage. The first music video, included on the single CD and available at iTunes, features The Fray singing in a warehouse with large prints of greenery on the walls. Outside in the forest there’s a car crash – the victims all frozen in time. Lights shine through the window of a home, flashing over an embracing couple.

Scene from first How To Save A Life music video

Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube

Filming was directed by Sam Brown at Flynn Productions.

How to Save a Life – The Fray Music Video on iTunes

The Greys Anatomy version, used to promote the third season of Greys Anatomy, 2006, is basically the first video with scenes from Greys Anatomy edited in. Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube

The second music video, released in December 2006, shows teenagers against a white background, each expressing intense emotions of grief, rage, joy and despair. Lead singer and songwriter Isaac Slade sits at a piano, singing his poignant message while text messages reveal tips on how to save a life: Listen, Hold Still, Let it out, Talk to Someone, Touch, Breathe, Cry, Accept, Forgive, Have Faith, Surrender, Release the Fear, Open Up, Remember. Over the 4:24 minutes we see a variety of young people appear to come to terms with grief and discovering ongoing purpose in their lives.

Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube

The video was directed by Mark Pellington via Crossroads Films‘s music video section, Merge Films, with producer Norm Reiss, director of photograpy Morgan Susser and editor Nathan Cox.

Mark Pellington, the director of The Mothman Prophecy and Arlington Road, as well as Pearl Jam’s Jeremy and U2’s One (Buffalos), is no stranger to grief. His wife Jennifer died in 2004. Pellington in an interview with Video Static said that he approached this music video from the perspective of his daughter, the band and the many people engaging with the song’s message.

“For the casting process and the video we had kids come in and listen to the song and they would just relate to it. When I saw the casting tapes I thought I could have even used those in the video. They were all actors, but I wanted kids that were natural and open. The emotion they brought was all real. We’d start listening to the song and we’d let them go where they wanted to go. I just gave them some basic spatial arcs. This Asian American boy brought in a picture of his brother who is involved in gangs. He’s still alive, but he had this anger, love and frustration that he couldn’t reach him. One girl had a picture of her stepfather who passed away. The song just does something to people. It did the bulk of the work. Each person who listened to it went to their own place.”

Teenagers in How To Save A Life music video

Face of grieving teenage girl in How To Save A Life music video

Slade explained in USA Today, July 12, 2006, that the song was inspired by his experience as a camp counselor working at a camp for teenagers.

“One of the kids I was paired up with was a musician. Here I was, a protected suburbanite, and he was just 17 and had all these problems. And no one could write a manual on how to save him.”

How to Save a Life (New Version) – The Fray

The Fray How To Save A Life Campaign

Colin Fahrenkamp, a 19-year-old soccer player in Missouri, had listened to the song the night before he was killed in a car accident. After his death, Colin’s family started hearing stories from his friends about how he quietly performed small acts of courage which saved their lives, the lives of friends, and the lives of their siblings. The song was played at Colin’s funeral and some of his friends had “Save A Life” tattooed on their arms. Colin’s family and friends set up the Colin P Fahrenkamp Foundation and Save A Life campaign designed to encourage teenagers and their parents to do what it takes to stay alive, get home safely. Their web site includes stories about simple but courageous actions that have saved a life.

How To Save A Life on YouTube

The Fray opened a YouTube How To Save A Life Group inviting listeners to submit their own music videos for the song. At this point there are ten music videos.

A 30 second ad promotes the Save A Life Campaign. Click on the image below to play the video in YouTube

Another video, focusing on inner conflict and inner peace, was made by Carnegie Mellon University student Sudeep Paul who was charged with trying to break into Pittsburgh Heinz Field while filming in November 2006. Sudeep was hoping to add in a part acknowledging one of his best friends who died nearly two years ago.

Particularly poignant is Michael D. Shiver‘s re-edited video of a young girl struggling with life’s hardships.

The 9/11 memorial video has sparked off a huge number of comments.

Lyrics for How To Save A Life

Step one you say we need to talk
He walks you say sit down it’s just a talk
He smiles politely back at you
You stare politely right on through
Some sort of window to your right
As he goes left and you stay right
Between the lines of fear and blame
And you begin to wonder why you came

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

Let him know that you know best
Cause after all you do know best
Try to slip past his defense
Without granting innocence
Lay down a list of what is wrong
The things you’ve told him all along
And pray to God he hears you
And pray to God he hears you

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

As he begins to raise his voice
You lower yours and grant him one last choice
Drive until you lose the road
Or break with the ones you’ve followed
He will do one of two things
He will admit to everything
Or he’ll say he’s just not the same
And you’ll begin to wonder why you came

Where did I go wrong, I lost a friend
Somewhere along in the bitterness
And I would have stayed up with you all night
Had I known how to save a life

  • Colin Fahrenkamp is actually from Missouri not Minnesota. Thanks!!

  • zury

    I LOVE THE FRAY ALOT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    THEY ARE AWSOME!!!!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE THERE SONGS!!!!!!!
    I LOVE YOU THE FRAY!!!!!!!!!!

  • Heather

    Hey just wanted to let tha fray know that this song is soo f**kin AWESOME!!!!!! i love it so much…. yall r the SHIT!!!

  • ivana

    great video, even better song 🙂

  • Anna

    I can’t believe my husband did all this for people. I let Isaac know what u think. Thnx!

  • The Fray is Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • I am in LOVE with everybody in the fray!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! they are all so hot!!!!!!!!!!!!! They even make great songs!!!!!!!!!! I LOVE YOU THE FRAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    -#1 fan ZURY LAZARO

  • karen duke

    io c k voy a cr la diferent…ovbio ablando en español…jajaja!!!pero igual the fray!!!los amo kntan divino kntan espktakular son lo +imo las knciones k mas me gustan son—>´´over my head“ y ´´how to save a life“

  • Yolanda

    The Fray is the first band to come along in a very long time that has captured my attention. The purity, honesty and talent with which they perform and write songs has renewed my faith in good music!
    Thank you Issac, Joe, Dave and Ben…
    …In many ways you’ve saved my life!

  • The Froo

    We love you too..

  • Justin

    Hello, i’m looking for a certain music video with this song and I can describe in this way. A phrase from the video was something like ” A parent shouldn’t have to bury their child, they should be burying us “, there were more dialogue than just that; Can anyone please tell me why I cannot find this version of How To Save a Life? Thank you!