Even Classic Rock fans should be impressed with how Taylor Swift is setting records! Let’s start with a new record that involves The Beatles, then look at more of Swift’s accomplishments, and compare more of her records with the Fab Four, including her total #1’s.
Taylor Swift broke a record The Beatles held for 54-years. The Beatles had three #1 albums in England within just 364 days. Now, Taylor Swift has had three #1 albums in only 259 days. Wonder if that record will stand for 54 years.
Naturally, Swift breaking The Beatles’ record really upset Ringo Starr. Just kidding. In a recent interview about today’s music, Ringo said “I love Taylor Swift…she’s the only one who’s doing well.” Ringo is overstating it, but no one else is coming close to all the records Taylor Swift has been setting.
Here’s how Swift’s last four albums hit the charts and dominated all the other albums over the last two years. When Fearless (Taylor’s Version) was released, it had the biggest first week of 2021. That was the biggest week since Evermore’s debut in December of 2020…which was the biggest week since Folklore’s debut in August of 2020…and that was the biggest debut since Lover in August of 2019.
The three albums that broke The Beatles’ record are Folklore, Evermore, and her 2021 re-recording of her 2008 album Fearless.
The original version had 13 songs, and the new one has 26, including six she wrote in 2008, but had never recorded. Who writes 26 songs for an album?…and she was just 18! The new album, Fearless (Taylor’s Version), was done because Taylor Swift was unable to purchase her old recordings. She hopes to have control over her songs by re-recording her first six albums, and basically have the new recordings replace the old ones. She already owns her three most recent albums.
So how did the new Fearless (Taylor’s Version) perform in its first week? It became Taylor’s 9th straight studio album to debut at #1 on Billboard’s Top 200. It also started at #1 on the Country chart. It had the biggest first week for a Country album since 2015.
Despite Taylor’s success with her re-recording project, it would be nice to have her spend the time on brand new albums like her last two, Folklore & Evermore. It might be best if the owners of her old recordings figure out that their value is going down, and just sell the rights to Taylor.
In 2021, Folklore won the Grammy for Album Of The Year. Taylor Swift now has the record for the most albums of the year at three. She’s tied with Paul Simon, Stevie Wonder and Frank Sinatra (pretty good company).
Swift’s albums have been at #1 for a total of 55 weeks (11/23/21). It’s not likely she’ll catch The Beatles. Their albums have 132 weeks at #1, Elvis Presley is second with 67, and Taylor Swift is in third place. The Beatles also have the record of 19 albums to hit #1.
Taylor Swift became a Beatles’ fan during her childhood. She says she bought all their CD’s and studied their songwriting. There’s another record Taylor Swift shares with The Beatles. They are the only two artists in history to have five albums that remained in the #1 position for six-plus weeks.
In late 2020, Taylor Swift & Paul McCartney interviewed each other for Rolling Stone. They were put together, because Swift has always cited McCartney as having a major influence on her career. It took Paul decades to acquire the rights to The Beatles’ recordings. Hopefully, Taylor’s quest will be much quicker.
Taylor Swift holds the record for the most Albums Of The Year based on sales, with five. It’s too hard to keep up with all the awards she’s won, including an Emmy, Grammys, Billboard awards, just about every Pop & Country category available to her, and 28 Guinness World Records.
On May 11th, 2021, Taylor Swift became the first woman, and first non-Brit, to be chosen as the Brit Award’s “Global Icon”, their highest honor. Previous recipients include Elton John and David Bowie.
A little over seven years ago, Billboard started a chart called the Artist 100. It measures key metrics of music consumption, with a blend of Album & Track sales, Radio airplay, Streaming, and Social Media fan interaction. Taylor swift has the record at 50 weeks atop the chart (11/23/21). No one else is close.
Most artists peak within their first five years, but Taylor Swift’s peak (so far) is 15 years into her career. It’s hard to believe an artist could maintain such an incredible level of popularity for so long. Don’t bet against her next release being her 10th album in a row to debut at #1 (update: It was). She has a long way to go, but who knows, Swift might even have a shot at breaking The Beatles’ record of 19 #1 albums.
There’s already a Taylor Swift display in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame in Cleveland, even though she won’t be officially eligible for ten years. It includes items actually used in several of Swift’s music videos.
Update: The re-recorded version of 2012’s Red was released November 12th, 2021. Instead of the original 16 tracks, the new version has 30 tracks that were originally written for the album. Reviews are very positive, with Rolling Stone giving it a perfect 5 stars. Red (Taylor’s Version) sold 605,000 equivalent albums (369,000 actual units) in it’s first week, including a modern day record 114,000 vinyl copies. It’s her 10th album in a row to debut at #1. That’s her 4th #1 album in 16 months. It also has the record of over 90-million streams on Spotify it’s first day. For comparison, Adele had about 60-million streams on her new album’s first day a week later.
The 10-minute version of Swift’s “All Too Well” became the longest song ever to make #1 on Billboard’s singles chart. The previous record was held by “American Pie” which was 8:42 long in the album version played by FM stations, and just 4:11 as a single on AM radio stations. Besides the overall #1 album and #1 single, Swift also held the #1 positions on the Country Album and Country Singles charts (Nov. 23, 2021).
Update: (November, 2021) In an interview with USA Today, Billy Joel had this to say about Taylor Swift. “She’s productive and keeps coming up with great concepts and songs, and she’s huge. You have to give her high marks. She knows music, and she knows how to write. She’s like that generation’s Beatles.
Another classic rocker, Elvis Costello recently said… “I think we’ll all be working for her eventually. She’s smart and she knows what she’s doing. She can write and sing, and people love it.”