Seventeen years ago today (June 19, 2006) was a life-changing day for Taylor Swift, although she couldn't have predicted the magnitude of what was about to happen. It was on that date that Swift's debut single, "Tim McGraw," from her eponymous freshman album, was released.

Swift and Liz Rose penned "Tim McGraw." It was written while Swift was still in school.

"This song means so much to me, that's why we wanted it to be the first track on the album," Swift explains. "The idea for this song came to me in math class. I just started singing to myself, 'When you think Tim McGraw.'

Taylor Swift Tim McGraw single
Big Machine Label Group

"The concept for this song hit me because I was dating a guy who moved away, and it was going to be over for us. So I started thinking of things that I knew would remind him of me," she continues. "The first thing that came to mind was that my favorite song is by Tim McGraw.

"After school, I went downtown, sat down at the piano, and wrote this with Liz Rose in 15 minutes," Swift adds. "It may be the best 15 minutes I've ever experienced."

For his part, McGraw is flattered by the reference.

“I didn’t know if I should feel honored or just old,” McGraw says. “But I found out she was about 14 and in math class when she wrote that, which made me feel better. She was pretty nervous when we first met, but it was fine. I told her I appreciated it. It’s cool to have a song written about you, especially by a teenager. I didn’t think any teenagers even knew who I was.”

The "Tim McGraw" video shows Swift with an actor who resembles the boy who inspired the song. It won a CMT Music Award for Breakthrough Video of the Year in 2007.

On March 17, 2023, Swift surprised fans during the opening night of her landmark Eras Tour at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. by performing a stripped-down piano version of the album's title track.

The 33-year-old talent hasn't included "Tim McGraw" or many other songs from her debut album on the tour's setlist, likely choosing to exclude them due to her plan to record a new version of the LP in response to a dispute with Big Machine Records and her former manager, Scooter Braun, over ownership of the master recordings from her first six studio albums.

Editor's Note: This article was originally written by Gayle Thompson and amended by Lorie Liebig.

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