Taylor Swift Is An Unparalleled Singer-Songwriter (Updates)

No singer-songwriter in history (male or female) has matched the accomplishments of Taylor Swift.  Billy Joel said Taylor Swift is like her generation’s Beatles.  It sounded like an exaggeration when he said it, but he may be right…or at least not crazy.

At age 34 (as of Dec. 13th, 2023) Taylor Swift has a total of 14 #1 albums (April, 2024).  Only The Beatles have more #1 albums (19), and spent more weeks at #1 on the Billboard album chart.  The Beatles and Taylor Swift are the only artists to have five albums stay at #1 for six-plus weeks.  Swift added a sixth on 6/2/2024 with The Tortured Poets Department.

When Taylor Swift’s re-recorded Speak Now album was released on July 7th, 2023, it was Swift’s 12th album in a row to debut at #1.  It features six never-released songs, and has a total of 22 tracks.  The original Speak Now was Swift’s third album, and to prove a point, she wrote it completely on her own.  It had six hit singles, spent six weeks at #1, and went six-times platinum.

Once artists break through, they typically have the greatest success of their careers in the first five to ten years.  After that, their recordings start to sell less (and stream less), even if they’re still major concert draws.  Yet Taylor Swift has sustained her career, and is at her peak over 17 years after she started.

Like Elton John, Carole King, and Brian Wilson, Taylor Swift often uses co-writers.  For example, on two of her best albums, Folklore and Evermore, many of the songs were co-written by Aaron Dessner.  During the time of COVID in 2020, Dessner would send instrumental “song starters” to Swift.  She would then write the melody and lyrics to go along with the chord progressions.  It’s basically the same way guitarist Mike Campbell provided chords and riffs for Tom Petty for some songs, like “Runnin’ Down A Dream”.  Taylor Swift has also written enough songs all by herself to fill five albums, and has written hits for other artists..

The women singer-songwriters of the classic era of the 1970s…like Carole King, Carly Simon, and Joni Mitchell…wrote some historically great songs, but they never had to also be able to sing them while performing dance choreography.   Sure, other female Pop stars do choreography, but their careers have not kept up with the accomplishments of Taylor Swift.  In just over three years, she’s had seven #1 albums.  No other singer-songwriter has done that.  She also has won the Grammy for Album Of The Year a record four times (2/4/24).

Of course Swift can simply grab a guitar or sit at a piano and deliver performances in the classic singer-songwriter style. 

In a 2023 poll, 53-percent of Americans said they are fans of Taylor Swift. That’s a major accomplishment in these days of scattered media and niche music.  On an international level, Taylor Swift was the Global Recording Artist of the Year for 2022 & 2023.  She’s earned the award a record four times in the ten years of its existence.  In other years, she’s placed second twice, and third twice.

When Taylor Swift released her 2022 album, Midnights, she became the first artist to have all of the Top 10 Billboard singles at the same time.  Unlike the old days when artists would only release one or two singles at a time, album tracks are now considered singles as the albums are played on the streaming services.  The most notable aspect is that no other singles were able to keep Taylor’s 10 songs from taking over.  She also writes and directs her own award-winning music videos.

And Taylor Swift is setting new records for live performances.  Despite some problems with Ticketmaster, she sold more tickets in one day than any other artist.  Her “Eras Tour” already became the highest grossing tour in history in 2023.  She’s also sold out the 88,000 seat Wembley Stadium in London eight times during the 2024 portion of the tour.  Unbelievably, Swift performs 44 songs during a show that lasts nearly 3-and-a-half-hours.  Bruce Springsteen comes to mind as someone who’s done shows that long, minus all the choreography and stage production.

Let’s hope Taylor Swift can keep up the pace!  Besides her 66 stadium concerts in 2023, there are 86 shows for 2024.  Those stops include concerts in Asia, Australia, the U.K. and Europe, ending with U.S. and Canadian dates in the fall of 2024, for a total of 152 performances.


Bonus:  Getty Images provided some great photos that show the size of the production on the “Eras Tour” (tap or click to enlarge).

Update:  As Taylor Swift approached the final 2023 U.S. Eras shows in L.A., she gave bonuses to her entire crew, truck drivers, and backup musicians totaling 55-million-dollars!  The bonus given each truck driver was $100,000.

Update:  At her final concert in L.A. (8/9), Taylor Swift announced her album 1989 (Taylor’s Version).  It was released on October 27th (the same date the original album was released nine years ago).  It has five new “from the vault” tracks, and was her 13th #1 album.  It was Swift’s biggest first week in sales ever.  In December of 2023, Billboard said Taylor Swift had five albums in the Top 10 for five weeks, that’s never been done for even one week (by a living artist) before.  Out of he thousands of albums available on vinyl, one out of every 15 sold in 2023 was a Taylor Swift album.  She dominated the year.

Update:  The Eras Tour concert film opened in North America & many international theaters on October 13th, 2023, just two months after Taylor Swifts’ final U.S. concert in August.  The film sold a record 37-million-dollars in tickets the first day.  It made a total of 123.5-million-dollars the first weekend, and passed 261-million-dollars in sales.  The concert film started streaming on Disney+ on March 14th, 2024.  There are five added songs, including “Cardigan”, and four of her acoustic performances.


Taylor Swift is the only entertainer to be Time’s Person Of The Year.

On April 19th, 2024, Taylor Swift shocked fans with a 31 song Anthology!

Taylor announced the new album during the Grammy Awards telecast.  She won Album Of The Year for a record 4th time.  She didn’t mention until 2 A.M. EDT on the release date that Tortured Poets is a double album.  And later that same day (April 19th, 2024) Taylor Swift had 14 of the top 25 albums on iTunes.  The album is Swift’s 14th #1.  She also set a record by having the top 14 songs on the singles chart.

The album comes with a (limited time) choice of covers, with four different bonus tracks…“The Manuscript”, “The Bolter”, “The Albatross”, and “The Black Dog”.  All of the bonus tracks are on the Anthology version.

Update:  Taylor Swift added songs from her Tortured Poets album to her Eras Tour.  “Down Bad” included a UFO, with a beam that followed her around the stage.

Swift had one extra-tall backup dancer in London 7/23/24.

Boyfriend and NFL tight end Travis Kelce got in on the act just before Taylor sang “I Can Do It With A Broken Heart”.  Fans of the movie Young Frankenstein might have expected Kelce to sing “Puttin’ On The Ritz”.

One Reply to “Taylor Swift Is An Unparalleled Singer-Songwriter (Updates)”

  1. Adele sells more records than Swift. Is therefore she not the unparalleled singer\songwriter? Swift is doubtless talented, but she is as much a triumph of her legal and marketing teams as talent.

    Editor: You’re right that Adele is an extremely talented artist. Although she has had a few huge-selling albums, she has not sold more overall. She has not matched Swift’s accomplishments (such as record touring), and she doesn’t seem interested in that lifestyle. Comparisons aside, we’re just lucky we get to enjoy both artists.

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