Deep 10: Taylor Swift's Fearless
Much to the disappointment of the tabloids, Kanye West did not blindside Taylor Swift onstage at the 52nd GRAMMY Awards in 2010, as he had so infamously done at the MTV Video Music Awards just four months earlier. But the ceremony turned out to be no less memorable for the then-20-year-old country/pop crossover artist. By evening's end, Swift took home four GRAMMY Awards: Fearless was named Album Of The Year and Best Country Album, while "White Horse" won for Best Country Song and Best Female Country Vocal Performance.
Fearless also garnered unprecedented critical attention for Swift. The Boston Globe commended her ability to "blur the line between commercial country and Top 40 radio," while Rolling Stone called her a "songwriting savant."
Following are 10 lesser-known facts about the writing, recording and recognition surrounding what would go on to become the most commercially successful album in the U.S. in 2009.
1. Fearless made Swift the youngest solo Album Of The Year GRAMMY recipient to date.
Prior to Swift's win at 20 years old, the youngest artist to receive the honor was Alanis Morissette, who was 21 when she won Album Of The Year with her breakthrough, Jagged Little Pill, at the 38th GRAMMY Awards in 1996.
2. Swift cried when she learned her hit "White Horse" was being used on "Grey's Anatomy."
"I have never been that excited," she told Billboard. "My love of 'Grey's Anatomy' has never wavered. It's my longest relationship to date."
3. Fearless ranks fourth among Billboard's best charting albums of all time.
4. "Love Story" is Swift's alternate ending to Shakespeare's "Romeo And Juliet."
The Bard's tragic tale of star-crossed lovers could have been the best love story ever told if it had "just gone a little bit differently," Swift told the Daily Herald. To that end, Swift decided to "make it a happy ending and put a key change in the song and turn it into a marriage proposal."
5. Swift was 14 when she first collaborated with "White Horse" co-writer Liz Rose.
As Rose recalled during their Best Country Song acceptance speech: "This curly-headed 14-year-old walked up to me and said, 'Do you think you would write with me sometime?' And, thankfully, I said yes."
6. "Weird Al" Yankovic recorded a parody of "You Belong With Me" called "TMZ."
7. Swift wrote "Hey Stephen" about Love And Theft frontman Stephen Barker Liles at the same time he was writing a song about her.
"When I write songs, I don't hesitate to put names in the songs, because that's how I deal with life," she told The New York Times. As ominous as that may sound, Swift's "Hey Stephen" and Liles' "Try To Make It Anyway" are actually both very nice.
8. Swift penned seven of Fearless' 13 songs on her own.
The songwriting turned out to be less collaborative than her self-titled debut because the majority of the songs were written on the road. "I was the opening act for every country artist out there that was on their headlining tour," Swift said. The album's remaining six tracks were co-writes with Liz Rose, Colbie Caillat, Hillary Lindsey, and John Rich.
9. The Fearless platinum edition includes Swift's first-ever studio recording of another artist's song.
Swift covered rock band Luna Halo's "Untouchable," to which she added her own touch by changing the verses and adding more country sounds to the arrangement.
10. Swift's Album Of The Year win for Fearless set her up to make more GRAMMY history.
Just six years after winning for Fearless, Swift won in the same category with 2014's 1989. The only other acts to achieve this feat are Frank Sinatra, Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, and U2. Swift also holds the distinction of being the first female artist to win the award twice.
(Bill Forman is a writer and music editor for the Colorado Springs Independent and the former publications director for The Recording Academy.)