Swift breaks American Pie's 50-year record for longest No. 1 hit

NEW YORK • After nearly 50 years as the longest No. 1 hit, it is finally time to say bye bye, Miss American Pie.

American singer Taylor Swift unseated music icon Don McLean's eight-minute, 42-second epic about the day the music died with her 10-minute, 13-second version of her smash hit, All Too Well (Taylor's Version), which soared to the No. 1 spot on the top songs chart this week, according to industry tracker Billboard.

The extended version of Swift's hit was recently released on her re-recorded album Red (Taylor's Version). Swift dropped two new versions of the song - the 10-minute version and another clocking in at about five minutes.

In line with Billboard's chart rules, both of those songs were rolled into one listing, making Swift's rise to the Hot 100's top spot all the more likely.

American Pie had held the rank of the longest No. 1 hit since it first hit the charts in January 1972.

McLean, 76, congratulated Swift for breaking his record, as he wrote on social media: "Let's face it, nobody ever wants to lose that No. 1 spot, but if I had to lose it to somebody, I sure am glad it was another great singer-songwriter such as Taylor."

Swift, 31, has found resounding success as she makes good on her vow to re-record her first six albums so she can control their rights.

It is a power move that comes in the wake of her public sparring with industry mogul Scooter Braun over his company's purchase of her previous label, which gave him a majority stake in the master recordings of her first six albums.

Mr Braun later sold the master rights of Swift's works to private equity company Shamrock Holdings.

The heated feud and her bold promise to re-record those works ignited discussion over who keeps the keys to an artiste's work and the conditions under which young musicians sign contracts.

The owner of lucrative masters - one-of-a-kind source material used to create vinyls, CDs and digital copies - is able to dictate how songs are reproduced and sold.

Swift has sweetened her re-releases with bonus materials and previously unreleased tracks - like the 10-minute version of All Too Well - to the delight of her fans. She has released two re-records of her six albums so far - Fearless and Red.

Swift still has four left, after she was contractually allowed to begin the process in November last year.

Billboard tracks the original versions of her songs, still owned by Shamrock, separately from her re-records.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 26, 2021, with the headline 'Swift breaks American Pie's 50-year record for longest No. 1 hit'. Subscribe