Music | November 23, 2021 11:46 am

Taylor Swift Unseats Don McLean’s “American Pie” With Longest #1 Hit

The ten-minute version of "All Too Well" has broken McLean's 50-year record

Don McLean poses as Musician Don McLean Honored With Star On The Hollywood Walk Of Fame on August 16, 2021 in Hollywood, California. Taylor Swift's new single just beat McLean's song as the longest-running #1 hit.
Don McLean recorded one of the best songs in history, but it's no longer the longest No. 1 hit.
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

I always thought that if I could only listen to one song on repeat for the rest of my life, it would be Don McLean’s “American Pie.” This would be be for two main reasons: 1. Like most people, I fucking love that song, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last month. 2. At nearly 10 minutes in length, I would ultimately hear it in full fewer times and thus hopefully not get sick of it as quickly.

All that changed a few weeks ago when my lord and savior Taylor Swift released a 10-minute version of her fan-favorite heartbreak anthem, “All Too Well.” The song reached No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart on Monday, and at 10 minutes and 13 seconds, the track has officially unseated McLean’s eight-minute, 42-second masterpiece as the longest Billboard No. 1 hit of all time.

For the woefully uninitiated, Swift’s “All Too Well (10 Minute Version)” is an extended version of the song “All Too Well,” a roughly five-and-a-half-minute track from her 2012 album, Red. While the original version of the song only reached No. 80 on the Billboard chart back in 2012, it has long been a favorite among Swift fans and critics and is widely regarded as the artist’s magnum opus.

The extended version comes along with the re-recorded version of Red released earlier this month — Red (Taylor’s Version) — the latest installment in Swift’s groundbreaking endeavor to re-record her first six albums after her masters were sold to music industry super-villain Scooter Braun (who subsequently turned around re-sold them to another company, Shamrock Holdings, for a reported $300 million in 2019). Red (Taylor’s Version) also includes a re-recording of the original five-minute track, and the star also recently released another, softer, version of the ten-minute track known as the “Sad Girl Autumn Version,” thus bringing the total number of “All Too Well”-related songs to four, if you’re keeping track. (It’s worth noting that both the five-minute re-recording of the original track and the ten-minute version are combined into one listing on Billboard‘s charts, while the original 2012 release is tracked separately.)

The song’s rise to the number one slot mark’s Swift’s eighth Hot 100 No. 1 hit, while the album itself has also launched at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. In other words, everything is coming up Taylor Swift these days, as it should be.

As for Don McLean, the one-hit-wonder has yet to comment on Swift’s record-breaking hit, though he has previously opined on the artist’s decision to re-record her masters, arguing that if she had had better legal representation, “she wouldn’t have had to go through re-recording her back catalogue in order to regain control of her original material.” (She also probably never would have released the ten-minute version of “All Too Well,” and thus wouldn’t have upset McLean’s record — though McLean’s comments were made well before the album was released.)

While Swift definitely shouldn’t have to go to such great lengths to maintain ownership of her own art, I think Swift fans would all agree these re-recordings are the best thing to ever happen to us, even if it’s not the best thing to happen to Don McLean.