After Claiming Record, Swift Sends Flowers to a 'Giant'

She reaches out to Don McLean after replacing him in the record books
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 26, 2021 11:30 AM CST
Updated Dec 6, 2021 8:21 AM CST

(Newser) Update: Taylor Swift recently claimed the record for the longest No. 1 song, and she made a point to reach out to the singer she replaced. CNN reports that Swift sent flowers to Don McLean after her "All Too Well" (10-plus minutes) surpassed his "American Pie" (8-plus minutes). "What a class act!" McLean wrote on Instagram. Swift's accompanying note reads in part: "I will never forget that I'm standing on the shoulders of giants. Your music has been so important to me." Our original story from Nov. 26 follows:

With her new version of "All Too Well," Taylor Swift has smashed a chart record set more than 16 years before she was born. The song, which debuted at No. 1 in the Billboard Hot 100 chart, clocks in at 10 minutes 13 seconds, beating the previous record for longest No. 1 by more than a minute, Smithsonian magazine reports. That record was set in 1972 with Don McClean's 8:42 "American Pie," and McLean is being good-natured about the record falling after nearly 50 years. "Let’s face it, nobody ever wants to lose that #1 spot, but if I had to lose it to somebody, I sure am glad it was another great singer/songwriter such as Taylor," he tells Billboard.

The power ballad, from Swift's re-recorded version of her 2012 album Red, might also break a record for the use of brackets: The full title is "All Too Well (10-Minute Version) (Taylor’s Version) (From the Vault)." The re-recorded Red also came in at No. 1, on the Billboard albums chart. "I’m floored," Swift tweeted Monday. "A ten minute song is at the top of the Hot 100." Chris Molanphy at Slate takes a deep dive into the history of the fan-favorite song and Billboard's long-song records. He notes that since "American Pie" was issued as a split single because it was too long to fit on one side of a 45RPM single, "All Too Well" has also broken the record for the longest undivided No. 1 single, set by the Beatles in 1968 with the 7:11 "Hey Jude." (Read more Taylor Swift stories.)

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