Music

'Teardrops on My Guitar': Behind Taylor Swift's High School Heartbreak Song 

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Part of what made Taylor Swift so relatable to young country music fans in her early days, and what makes her music still relatable today, is her ability to write from real-life experiences. In her early career, she even went so far to include the real names of the people who inspired her songs. One of the first examples of this is her second single, "Teardrops on My Guitar," from her self-titled, debut album. In this high school heartbreak saga, Swift sings about her unrequited love for a boy named Drew. She details the friendship she has with this boy, but wishes they could be something more. She also describes the pain of listening to Drew, who is blissfully unaware of her feelings, as he talks about his girlfriend.

 

"Drew looks at me, I fake a smile so he won't see that I want and I'm needing everything that we should be / I'll bet she's beautiful, that girl he talks about / And she's got everything that I have to live without," Swift sings in the first verse.

She then continues to the chorus where she clearly lays out her feelings for her crush, singing, "He's the reason for the teardrops on my guitar / The only thing that keeps me wishing on a wishing star / He's the song in the car I keep singing, don't know why I do." 

As a teenager herself at the time, Swift could have easily written a heartbreak song about a made up love story, but instead, she took literal inspiration from her own life and planted it in the song without much exaggeration. In fact, the "Drew" she mentions in the song was one of her real-life classmates, Drew Hardwick, from her freshman year in high school in Hendersonville, Tennessee.

"I used to have a huge crush on this guy, who would sit there every day talking to me about...another girl: how beautiful she was, how nice and smart and perfect she was. And I sat there and listened, never meaning it any of the times I said 'Oh, I'm so happy for you,'" Swift once shared on her website. "I guess this is a good example of how I let my feelings out in songs, and sometimes no other way. And I've never been afraid of using names. I love this song because of its honesty and vulnerability."

Swift wrote the song with experienced songwriter Liz Rose, with whom she also collaborated for "Tim McGraw," "White Horse," "You Belong With Me," and other songs. According to Rose, Swift's youth did not detract from her ability to write a song. In fact, Rose made sure that Swift's unique voice shone through in her music.

"There was always so much going on in her brain, you just had to help her get it out and get it down," Rose told Yahoo Music.???? "She always has a reason behind why she's writing something. She's lived it or felt it. She's not making it up."

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The story doesn't end with the release of the song, however. According to Swift, the real Drew showed up at her door about two years after the release of the song. Swift was getting ready to attend a Nashville Predators hockey game with Carrie Underwood and Kellie Pickler when he arrived, and they had a brief conversation.

"He was like: Hey, how's it going?' And I'm like: 'Wow, you're late? Good to see you?' But we were civilized," she told the Washington Post"I have theories about what he was doing. He had his friend with him, so maybe he was trying to prove to people that the song really is about him or whatever. Or maybe he was really trying to be friends. Or maybe he thought I was still pining away from him. Whatever!"

"Teardrops on My Guitar" peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, and it was also a crossover hit, landing at No. 7 on the Top 40 chart and peaking at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot 100. Swift will be rerecording the song, as well all her early albums, as part of her mission to own the masters to her music. She released the new version of Fearless (Taylor's Version)on April 9th. As for the inspiration for the song, Drew Hardwick was arrested in 2015 on child abuse charges.

"Teardrops on My Guitar" -- Taylor Swift lyrics:

Drew looks at me, I fake a smile so he won't see
That I want and I'm needing everything that we should be
I'll bet she's beautiful, that girl he talks about
And she's got everything that I have to live without

Drew talks to me, I laugh 'cause it is just so funny
That I can't even see anyone when he's with me
He says he's so in love, he's finally got it right,
I wonder if he knows he's all I think about at night

He's the reason for the teardrops on my guitar
The only thing that keeps me wishing on a wishing star
He's the song in the car I keep singing, don't know why I do

Drew walks by me, can he tell that I can't breathe?
And there he goes, so perfectly,
The kind of flawless I wish I could be
She'd better hold him tight, give him all her love
Look in those beautiful eyes and know she's lucky cause

He's the reason for the teardrops on my guitar
The only thing that keeps me wishing on a wishing star
He's the song in the car I keep singing, don't know why I do

So I drive home alone, as I turn out the light
I'll put his picture down and maybe
Get some sleep tonight

Because he's the reason for the teardrops on my guitar
The only one who's got enough of me to break my heart
He's the song in the car I keep singing, don't know why I do
He's the time taken up, but there's never enough
And he's all that I need to fall into

Drew looks at me, I fake a smile so he won't see

 

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'Teardrops on My Guitar': Behind Taylor Swift's High School Heartbreak Song