Teardrops on My Guitar

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"Teardrops on My Guitar"
Teardrops on My Guitar.PNG
Single by Taylor Swift
from the album Taylor Swift
ReleasedFebruary 13, 2007 (2007-02-13)
StudioSound Cottage (Nashville)
GenreCountry pop
  • 3:35 (original version)
  • 3:25 (country single mix)
  • 2:59 (pop single mix)
LabelBig Machine
Producer(s)Nathan Chapman
Taylor Swift singles chronology
"Tim McGraw"
"Teardrops on My Guitar"
"Our Song"
Music video
"Teardrops on My Guitar" on YouTube

"Teardrops on My Guitar" is a song by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift, taken from her self-titled debut album (2006). Swift wrote the song with Liz Rose, and Nathan Chapman produced it. Big Machine Records released "Teardrops on My Guitar" on February 13, 2007, as the album's second single in the United States. The song was later included on the non-US editions of Swift's second studio album, Fearless (2008), and released in the United Kingdom in 2009.

Swift wrote the lyrics inspired by her unrequited love for a high school classmate. Musically, the track is soft and is primarily guided by a gentle acoustic guitar. Critics have queried the song's classification as country music, with those in agreement (such as Grady Smith of Rolling Stone[1]) citing the themes and narrative style as country-influenced and those opposed (such as Roger Holland of PopMatters[2]) indicating the pop music production and instrumentation lack traditional country elements. Critics reacted positively to the track, complimenting Swift's vocal delivery and songwriting style. "Teardrops on My Guitar" peaked at number 13 on the Billboard Hot 100, and was Swift's first pop radio crossover single on the Mainstream Top 40. The single was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Its music video was directed by Trey Fanjoy and features Swift as she sees her love interest develop a relationship with another female. The video received a nomination for MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist, but lost to Tokio Hotel's music video for "Ready, Set, Go!". The song was promoted through multiple live performances, some while supporting as opening act for various country artists' concert tours. She also performed "Teardrops on My Guitar" on her first headlining tour, the Fearless Tour (2009–10).


Swift was inspired to write "Teardrops on My Guitar" about her experience with a boy named Drew Hardwick, a classmate of hers whom she had feelings for. Hardwick later went on to join the United States Navy, and was also arrested for aggravated child abuse in 2015.[3] During their freshman year at Hendersonville High School in Hendersonville, Tennessee,[4] Swift and Hardwick sat beside each other in class every day. The two became friends, although Swift secretly desired for them to become a couple. Because of Hardwick's unawareness, he would frequently speak to Swift about another girl he had feelings for, something Swift pretended to be endeared by, commenting, "How beautiful she was, how nice and smart and perfect she was. And I sat there and listened, never meaning it any of the times I said 'Oh, I'm so happy for you.'"[5] Hardwick and his crush eventually developed a relationship which lasted for a few years. Swift never confessed her feelings to him. By the release of Taylor Swift, he remained unaware of Swift's intentions or of the song and continued his relationship with the same female.[5] Upon "Teardrops on My Guitar"'s release as a single, Hardwick attempted to contact Swift via phone calls, which Swift did not respond to; he then left voicemails, but Swift felt too awkward to call back.[6]

Two years after the album's release, as she was leaving her house to attend a Nashville Predators hockey game with Kellie Pickler and Carrie Underwood, Hardwick appeared at her driveway. A car parked and, out of it, exited Hardwick and a friend of his.[7] After two and a half years of not speaking, the two conversed: "He was like, 'Hey, how's it going?' And I'm like, 'Wow, you're late. Good to see you.' But we were civilized."[7] Swift conjectured multiple theories as to why Hardwick appeared at her house. One of them was that he was attempting to prove to his friend that he was indeed the subject of "Teardrops on My Guitar". Other possibilities was that he wanted to rebuild their friendship or believed Swift was still pining away from him.[7] Swift said it would have been poetic if he approached her upon the album's release and she would have accepted, but that she had already moved on.[8] Swift cited "Teardrops on My Guitar" as an example of how she expresses her sentiments in songs and sometimes in no other manner. She was not afraid of using Hardwick's first name on the track and, therefore, believed it was very honest and susceptible, something she adored.[5]


"Teardrops on My Guitar" is a country pop song with a length of three minutes and 35 seconds.[9] It is set in common time and has a moderate tempo of 104 beats per minute.[10] It is written in the key of B major and Swift's vocals span one octave, from F3 to B4.[10] Swift sings in a breathless manner.[11] It follows the chord progression B–Gm–E–F.[10] The track's instrumentation is gently guided by mandolin and acoustic guitar,[12] with accents of brushed drums.[13] It ultimately resulting in a simple[14] and tender undertone.[15]

The lyrics of "Teardrops on My Guitar" speak of heartbreak and are direct, referring to the subject by his first name, Drew.[11][14] The song describes fancying someone who is already interested in someone else and, therefore, maintaining the sentiments a secret. To him, Swift acted as though she was happy about his relationship,[16] while crying and lamenting at home.[11] Dave Heaton of PopMatters interpreted the lines "And there she goes, so perfectly / The kind of flawless I wish I could be" to address Swift's ideal of perfection and her attempting to meet it, but not succeeding, a predominant theme on Fearless.[17]

Critical reception[edit]

A young female with curly blond hair faces down at an acoustic guitar made of koa wood while a large microphone is placed close to her. She is wearing patterned, red dress.
Swift performing "Teardrops on My Guitar" in 2006

"Teardrops on My Guitar" has received acclaim from contemporary critics. Regarding the song's musical genre, Roger Holland of PopMatters believed there was no reason for Swift to limit herself into only the country music or why she should be a country artist at all. Holland continued, "Yet this is the channel to market she has chosen, and so she has to be prepared to hear complaints about the way that trademarked Mutt Lange guitar whine has been married to her bright shiny pop songs in order to get them onto CMT, GAC, and country radio."[2] Bill Lamb of About.com rated "Teardrops on My Guitar" four out of five stars. Lamb complimented Swift's vocal delivery and songwriting style, but criticized the production and arrangement, perceiving them to be dull. He added that the track's refrains were most impacting and deemed it among the most memorable songs of 2007.[13] Sean Dooley, also of About.com, described Swift's vocals as "nothing less than captivating."[11]

Fiona Chua of MTV Asia said "Teardrops on My Guitar" demonstrated that with Swift, "what you hear is what you get", and selected it as one best cuts on Fearless.[14][note 1] Deborah Evans Price of Billboard stated that "Teardrops on My Guitar" showcased the same qualities as "Tim McGraw" (2006) – solid gifts of songwriting and time-halting earnest and pure voice. Price declared that the song made obvious that Swift would have much success for years to come at the time. She believed the track was ultimately relatable and Swift was capable of making the song palpable.[15] Chuck Taylor, also of Billboard, reviewed the pop version release of "Teardrops on My Guitar", and stated it was a "beautiful mainstream intro to an artist whose rise is ably exemplified by her last name."[12] An uncredited review from Rolling Stone attributed the track to be one of the reasons why Taylor Swift was so commercially successful.[18] Jon Bream of Star Tribune believed the song was in attempt to empower high school- and college-age females by confronting males.[19] In 2019, Insider named "Teardrops on My Guitar" one of the fourteen best songs written by teenagers.[20] It also ranked at number 47 on Teen Vogue's "91 Best Songs About Unrequited Love" list, while Swift's 2009 single "You Belong with Me" topped the list.[21]

Chart performance[edit]

On the week ending March 18, 2007, "Teardrops on My Guitar" debuted at number ninety-three on the Billboard Hot 100.[22] "Teardrops on My Guitar" is also Taylor Swift's first song to appear on the Billboard Year-End Hot 100 charts.[23] After thirty-seven weeks upon the chart, on the week ending February 23, 2008, the song reached its peak at number thirteen, becoming the highest-charting single from Taylor Swift on the chart.[24][25] On the week ending May 17, 2008, the song spent its last week on the Billboard Hot 100 at number forty-nine, after a total of forty-eight weeks on the chart.[26] The single was certified triple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America in April 2014.[27] As of July 2019, "Teardrops on My Guitar" has sold 3 million copies in the United States.[28]

On Billboard Hot Country Songs chart, "Teardrops on My Guitar" debuted at number forty-six on the week-ending February 18, 2007.[29] The song entered the top ten at number eight on the week-ending July 8, 2007,[30] and on its twenty-sixth week on the chart, the week-ending August 12, 2007, it reached its peak at number two on the Billboard Hot Country Songs.[31] The track spent a total of twenty-seven weeks on Hot Country Songs.[25] "Teardrops on My Guitar" was a crossover hit as well, peaking at number seven on Billboard Pop Songs and spending twenty-one weeks on the chart.[25]

"Teardrops on My Guitar" is considered to be Swift's breakthrough single, as it spread her popularity throughout the United States.[13][14] In Canada, the song peaked at number forty-five on the week ending August 12, 2007.[25] The single was certified platinum by Music Canada for sales of 80,000 digital downloads.[32] Released as the third single from Swift's second studio album Fearless (2008), the track debuted at number one hundred on the week ending April 21, 2009 and peaked at number fifty-one on the week ending May 17, 2009 in United Kingdom.[33]

Music video[edit]

Swift and Drew (portrayed by Tyler Hilton) laughing in a library in the music video for "Teardrops on My Guitar"

The accompanying video to "Teardrops on My Guitar" was directed by Trey Fanjoy, who directed the video for "Tim McGraw". Swift decided to film the video with Fanjoy as a result of how positive the experience was when filming "Tim McGraw". She appreciated all the preparation techniques that she taught her and stated, "You have to remember the people who were good to you in the beginning".[34] Swift said the video centered around unrequited love.[34] Some of Swift's associates first believed the video should have been set in a prior era. They then thought about filming the video at a large city. However, Swift wanted to go back to basics and keep the song's integrity by filming the video in Nashville, Tennessee.[35] American singer and actor Tyler Hilton portrayed Drew. He was cast because of prior interactions with Swift.[clarification needed] They had a mutual fondness for each other's music. Taking into account his acting on the television series One Tree Hill and the film Walk the Line (2005), Swift asked him to participate in the video after he attended and performed at one of her concerts.[34] Swift chose Hilton primarily because he accurately presented Drew Hardwick, the fun, funny, fun-loving, blue-eyed boy whom she was friends with and had a huge crush on during high school.[36] The video was filmed on January 9, 2007, at Hume-Fogg High School; the drama room was transformed to simulate a bedroom for the performance scenes.[37]

The video commences with Drew asking Swift, "Hey, are you gonna go to the game on Friday?" Swift responds, "Well, I was thinking about it. Why?" He then admits it was just curiosity, informs Swift about a girl he met, and walks away. The video then transcends to Swift, wearing a long aquamarine evening gown, lying beside an acoustic guitar on a mattress in a bedroom. She performs the song until the scene transitions to Swift and Drew at the library, where he mocks a novel as she laughs hysterically. The librarian requests for the two to maintain silence, so they converse quietly. Afterwards, Swift is in a chemistry laboratory, where she is mixing substances. Distracted by Drew approaching her, she accidentally pours too much of one substance and causes it to spill. They both rapidly attempt to clean the mess generated. As the song approaches its bridge, Swift and Drew walk towards each other, both smiling, but Drew walks past her and then passionately kisses his girlfriend, as Swift watches in despondently. The video again transcends to the performance scene, where it concludes. Cut-scenes feature Swift lying on the mattress, crying, and standing beside a fireplace in the bedroom.

The video received a nomination for "Number One Streamed Music Video" at the web-hosted 2007 CMT Online Awards, but lost to Sugarland's "Stay" (2007).[38] The video received a nomination for MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist at the 2008 MTV Video Music Awards, but lost to Tokio Hotel's video for "Ready, Set, Go!" (2007).[39] As of May 20, 2021, the video has over 153 million views.


Year Organization Award Result Ref.
2008 MTV Video Music Awards Best New Artist Nominated [40]
BMI Country Awards Song of the Year Won [41]
SESAC Nashville Music Awards Recurrent Country Performance Activity Awards Won [42]
2009 BMI Pop Awards Award-Winning Songs Won [43]

Live performances[edit]

Swift performing "Teardrops on My Guitar" on the Fearless Tour in 2010.

She performed "Teardrops on My Guitar" as she opened for Rascal Flatts on several dates, from October 19 to November 3, 2006, included on the Me and My Gang Tour (2006–07).[44] Swift opened the concert with the song and dressed in a black, knee-length dress and red cowboy boots with a design of a scull and cross bones across it, playing an acoustic guitar.[45] She also performed the song when she served as opening act on twenty dates for George Strait's 2007 United States tour,[46] and selected dates for Brad Paisley's Bonfires & Amplifiers Tour in 2007.[47][48] During mid-2007, Swift engaged as the opening act on several dates for Tim McGraw's and Faith Hill's joint tour, Soul2Soul II Tour (2006–07), where she again performed "Teardrops on My Guitar".[49] Swift performed the song while she was again opening for Rascal Flatts for their Still Feels Good Tour in 2008.[50]

When promoting the single, Swift performed it on numerous venues, including Total Request Live (TRL),[51] The Engine Room,[52] on the Studio 330 Sessions,[53] and a concert at the Apple Store in SoHo, New York, which was recorded and released as a live extended play (EP), iTunes Live from SoHo, exclusively sold through the iTunes Store.[54] In the United Kingdom, the song was performed at an exclusive performance, hosted by 95.8 Capital FM and on The Paul O'Grady Show.[55] Since completing promotion for Taylor Swift and its corresponding singles, Swift has performed "Teardrops on My Guitar" as a duet with English rock band Def Leppard on CMT Crossroads, the episode was released as a DVD exclusively through Wal-Mart stores in the United States,[56] Clear Channel Communications's Stripped,[57] at the 2009 CMA Music Festival,[58] at the 2009 V Festival,[59] and at the Australian charity concert Sydney Sound Relief.[60]

Swift performed the song on all venues of her first headlining concert tour, the Fearless Tour, which extended from April 2009 to June 2010. During each performance, she donned a sparkly cocktail dress and black, leather boots.[61] The performance initiated with Swift sitting in a desk, next to a backup dancer who portrayed Swift's love interest, at the upper level of the stage,[61] which a library was projected onto.[62] The backup dancers then stood up to slow dance with a female backup dancer as Swift sang from above. Swift then appeared at the main stage to conclude the performance.[63] Jim Abbot of The Orlando Sentinel attended the March 5, 2010 concert at the Amway Arena in Orlando, Florida. He stated, "Taking a cue from her pal Miley Cyrus, Swift embellishes hits such as 'Teardrops On My Guitar' and 'Love Story' with a lot of flashy production in concert."[64] Brandy McDonnell of The Oklahoman, who attended the March 31, 2010 concert at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, believed "Teardrops on My Guitar"'s music video heavily influenced the setting and role she enacted in the performance.[61] Swift performed the song for the first time in three years during The Red Tour's stop in San Antonio on May 22, 2013. Swift performed the song for the first time in 5 years, at the Denver stop on her Reputation Stadium Tour on May 25, 2018.[65]

Credits and personnel[edit]

Credits are adapted from the liner notes of Taylor Swift (2006).[66]

  • Taylor Swift – vocals, songwriter, guitar, harmony vocals
  • Liz Rose – songwriter
  • Nathan Chapman – producer, banjo, bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, harmony vocals
  • Eric Darken – percussion
  • Dan Dugmore – steel guitar
  • Rob Hajacos – fiddle
  • John Willis – acoustic guitar (high string)



Region Certification Certified units/sales
Canada (Music Canada)[85] Platinum 80,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[86] Silver 200,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[87] 3× Platinum 3,000,000[28]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.


  1. ^ "Teardrops on My Guitar" and "Our Song" were included on the Asian version of Fearless.


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External links[edit]