It’s kind of crazy to believe, but today marks 10 years since Taylor Swift released the song that changed the course of her career, “Love Story.” Yes, it was Sept. 12, 2008, when we first heard those opening lyrics: “We were both young when I first saw you.” Taylor unleashed an alternate version of Romeo and Juliet we never knew we needed. The singer was still firmly in her country roots, but “Love Story” was the first step she took toward crossover success – as it was the first song to ever hit number one on the country and pop song charts. Yep, it was Taylor’s first major hit worldwide. 

The 28-year-old would later win “Album of the Year” at the Grammy Awards for Fearless, the album “Love Story” was the lead single for. As a song she wrote on her own with no co-writer, it was the truly the beginning of Taylor becoming the superstar force she is in the music world today. So how exactly did this masterpiece of a tune come to be? Well, it all started with a boy she was dating that her parents were totally not happy about and ended with Taylor going to her room to write about it all.

“I, at the time, just thought [this guy] was amazing. And then I got this pre-chorus in my head that goes, ‘You were Romeo, you were throwing pebbles and my daddy said stay away from Juliet.'” she explained on 60 Minutes. “[That came from] me getting mad at my parents because they didn’t want me to date this dude when I was like 17 and I threw a fit and ran to my room and wrote a song on my bedroom floor called ‘Love Story.’ So that turned into something I never expected it to be, our first number one worldwide hit,” she said to VH1.

As for how Shakespeare’s tragedy Romeo and Juliet got involved in the lyrics? Taylor, then just 18 years old, explained how she felt like she could see herself in that story – minus the super sad ending of how the couple meets their demise.

“I was going through a situation like that where I could relate. I used to be in high school where you see [a boyfriend] every day. Then I was in a situation where it wasn’t so easy for me, and I wrote this song because I could relate to the whole Romeo and Juliet thing. Except for the ending,” she said to the LA Times. “I feel like they had such promise and they were so crazy for each other. And if that had just gone a little bit differently, it could have been the best love story ever told. And it is one of the best love stories ever told, but it’s a tragedy. I thought, why can’t you… make it a happy ending and put a key change in the song and turn it into a marriage proposal?”

taylor swift love story

Only Taylor could craft up a tune like this, right? A true lyrics queen. The music video is a classic too, as we see Taylor go back in time dressed up in an epic ballgown. Her “Romeo” in the vid was played by Justin Gaston, the model who you might remember once dated Miley Cyrus. While no one could’ve predicted the massive success “Love Story” would be, Taylor knew in her heart it was something special.

“I had to fight for that song because when I first played it for my family and a few people, they were just sort of like, ‘Hmm.’ But it’s almost more fun that way, when you have something to prove,” she told VH1.

And since its release, it’s the only one of her songs that has been featured on the set list of every tour she’s done. It’s THAT iconic. Happy 10 years, “Love Story.”

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