Taylor Swift ties Dolly Parton's record as new 'Love Story' lands her first No. 1 country debut
The debut release amid Taylor Swift's plan to re-record her early discography has written the first chapter of its burgeoning love story with the American music charts.
Swift's "Love Story (Taylor's Version)" — an updated version of her 2008 classic — has debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, marking the first time the 31-year-old has launched a song atop the weekly ranking (though she has notched eight at the peak position overall) that measures airplay, sales, and streaming data. The song ascended the chart thanks to 25,000 paid downloads, 13.7 million streams, and 1.1 million radio impressions for the week ending Feb. 18 in the United States.
As the song is a re-recording of the original "Love Story," which also eventually reached No. 1 in November 2008, Swift now ties Dolly Parton as the only other artist to have two renditions of one song reach the Hot Country Songs summit. Parton previously achieved the feat with separate iterations of "I Will Always Love You" in 1974 and again with an updated recording in 1982.
In a statement to Billboard, Swift celebrated the achievement, telling the publication she's "so grateful to the fans for making this a possibility," while crediting them with emboldening her to "reclaim" her music and bolster its rise up the charts over a decade after the tune's original release. "I couldn't be happier that it happened now, and in this way," she finished.
"Love Story" first stormed the Billboard Hot 100 as the lead single from Swift's sophomore studio album Fearless, eventually peaking at No. 4 before becoming one of the country-pop artist's signature songs.
The new version of "Love Story" drops after Swift confirmed her intention to re-record her first round of albums amid controversy surrounding the ownership of the masters for the studio sets, which were acquired by superstar manager Scooter Braun in 2019 when his company, Ithaca Holdings, purchased Swift's former music label, Big Machine, which last worked with Swift on the release of her Reputation LP in 2017. Braun later sold them to a private equity company, Shamrock Holdings, in 2020. Per her contracts, Swift is allowed to re-record those albums as of November 2020. The new edition of Fearless is set for release April 9.
"So far, of the ones I've recorded, I think it's been the most fun doing 'Love Story,'" Swift told Good Morning America last year. "The older music, my voice was so teenaged and I sometimes, when I hear my older music and my older young teenage voice, it makes me feel like I'm a different singer now. And so, it's been the most fun to re-record ones that I feel like I could actually, possibly improve upon the song. That's been a really amazing and fun adventure."
As far as new music, Swift dropped two albums of new material in 2020: Folklore and Evermore, both of which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 via her new contract with Republic, which also saw the release of 2019's Lover. Last week, Swift also dropped a feature on a remix of Haim's Women in Music Pt III album cut "Gasoline."