Taylor Swift, whose extraordinary childhood gift for crafting catchy country hits rocketed her into a galaxy inhabited by the world’s brightest pop stars, was born in West Reading, Pennsylvania, on this day in history, Dec. 13, 1989.
“Sister Tay may be the last true rock star on the planet,” Rolling Stone Magazine enthused in October, reflecting the passion of her fans all over the world while publishing a lengthy treatise ranking all 229 of her songs from worst to first.
“All Too Well,” from Swift’s 2012 album “Red,” topped Rolling Stone’s list.
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Swift released her 10th studio album, “Midnights,” in October. It instantly set a Spotify record with 186 million streams in its first day.
Among an endless string of accolades, the “Shake it Off” songstress was embroiled in a high-profile international controversy this fall with Ticketmaster.
Nosebleed seats for her upcoming tour were being sold on the platform for $2,000 and at much higher prices on secondary markets. Many fans were left without diva ducats.
“It’s truly amazing that 2.4 million people got tickets,” Swift said in response to the fiasco on Instagram.
“But it really pisses me off that a lot of them feel like they went through several bear attacks to get them.”
“Sister Tay may be the last true rock star on the planet.” — Rolling Stone
The pop-music prodigy burst onto the American music scene in 2006 with her debut country hit, “Tim McGraw.”
The tender teenage ballad tells of young love that unfolds to the voice behind heart-tugging late-’90s and early 2000s hits such as “Just to See You Smile.”
“The country-pop-crossover sensation wrote ‘Tim McGraw’ in her high-school freshman math class,” Billboard said of the breakthrough hit in 2021.
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“She was dating a senior about to head off to college and wanted to capture everything about her that would remind him of Swift in a song. Her favorite country artist immediately came to mind.”
Swift quickly parlayed the song into a gig as the opening act for McGraw and his wife Faith Hill, a hit-making country music power couple.
“And that’s how, ladies and gents, a legend started,” a fan from the United Kingdom proclaimed of Swift’s video for the song, released when she was just 16 years old.
Swift paired her artistic talent with all-American girl-next-door blonde beauty. Her celebrity soon swept her far beyond that of her youthful idols.
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“Swift was a songwriter before she was a star, and she’ll be a songwriter long after she graduates from that racket,” Rolling Stone proclaimed in October.
“It’s in her music where she’s made her mark on history — as a performer, record-crafter, guitar hero and all-around pop mastermind, with songs that can leave you breathless or with a nasty scar.”
Swift’s father, Scott, is a financial adviser. Her mother, Andrea, worked in financial services before raising two children. Younger brother Austin is an actor.
“Swift spent her early years on a Christmas tree farm with her parents,” according to fan site the Swift Museum and other sources.
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“At age 9, Swift started taking vocal and acting lessons in New York City and later decided to shift her focus toward country music, inspired by Shania Twain and Faith Hill,” the fan site states.
The family soon moved to Nashville so the budding star could pursue her music career.
Swift took the Music City by storm.
The biggest country stars of the era — Hill, McGraw, Brad Paisley, George Strait, Keith Urban and Rascal Flatts — took the stage together at the Country Music Awards in 2013 to honor Swfit with the ceremony’s Pinnacle Award.
“I just think she’s one of the greatest artists to come along in a long time.” — Tim McGraw
The award recognized “her groundbreaking place in music history,” said McGraw.
Swift was just 23 at the time.
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Swift conquered pop music the following year with the release of her fifth studio album, “1989,” named for the year she was born.
“It would become her most successful and longest-charting record,” says The Swift Museum.
It “sold 1.28 million copies in the U.S. during the first week of release, debuting at the top of Billboard 200 chart. Three of its singles — ‘Shake It Off,’ ‘Blank Space,’ and ‘Bad Blood’ featuring rapper Kendrick Lamar — reached number one in Australia, Canada, and in the U.S.”
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Swift’s 2015 tour in support of the album generated $250 million in revenue, making it the top-grossing entertainer tour of the year.
Swift has enjoyed universal industry and critical acclaim in addition to her commercial success.
She’s won 40 American Music Awards, eight CMT Country Music Awards and 11 Grammy Awards, along with a long list of other domestic and international music honors.
“When I first heard ‘Tim McGraw’ by Taylor Swift, I mean, I thought it was a good song. I was a little apprehensive about it when I first heard it,” McGraw himself admitted to Apple Music in a 2021 interview.
His tune has changed as Swift’s tunes have conquered global music.
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“I think that she has just such a unique way of connecting with her audience and her songwriting ability and her intuition is just so incredible,” he added.
“And I just think she’s one of the greatest artists to come along in a long time.”