Ten years ago today — September 1, 2012 — Taylor Swift captured the one thing that had eluded her in her otherwise amazingly successful six-year career: a #1 hit on Billboard‘s Hot 100.
The song that did the trick was “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” the first single from her album Red. Co-written and produced by pop music maestros Max Martin and Shellback, the song was inspired, Taylor said, by an encounter in the recording studio.
As she told Billboard back in 2012, “This guy who walked in was a friend of my ex’s. And he made some comment about how he heard how I was gonna get back together with my ex. And after he left I was talking to Max and Shellback and was like, ‘We are never ever getting back together!’ And after that happened, I just grabbed my guitar.”
Taylor had been #2 on the Hot 100 several times, but “Never Ever” changed the game. Entering the chart at #72, it blasted to #1 the following week thanks to a then-record 623,000 downloads sold.
While Taylor wouldn’t fully make the move to pop music until 2014’s 1989, “Never Ever” was the first indication she was trying “to be different from what I’ve been, and somehow end up where I’m going,” as she told Billboard at the time.
Since “Never Ever,” Taylor has had seven Hot 100 #1s. All of them have been pop singles — except “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version),” her rerecording of another song from Red. Meanwhile, she keeps a foot in country, scoring recent hits on Billboard’s country charts with “Betty,” “No Body No Crime” and “I Bet You Think About Me.”
As for which ex inspired the song, well … let’s just say there’s a scarf in the video.