Taylor Swift Reveals Story of ‘All Too Well’ 10-Minute Version
Taylor Swift has opened up about how the original 10-minute recording of “All Too Well,” included on the re-release of her 2012 album Red, came to be and says that re-recording her version of that album nearly 10 years later has been a “really nice” emotional shift from the first time around.
The singer stopped by two late night shows on Thursday, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon and Late Night With Seth Meyers, in which she spoke about the process of remaking that album — part of her ongoing effort to re-record her entire Big Machine Records catalog — and returning to what she calls her and her fans’ favorite song from the release.
“The way that this song was written was, I was going through a bit of a sad time,” she explained to Fallon of her experience writing the song when she was 21. “I was in band rehearsals for a tour that I was about to go out on called the Speak Now Tour, and I showed up for rehearsals, and I just was really upset and sad and everybody could tell. It was really not fun to be around me that day.”
Swift said she sat down, picked up her guitar and started “just kind of playing the same four chords over and over again” before the band joined in. They went on to play for 10 to 15 minutes, the singer said. “I started ad-libbing what I was going through and what I was feeling, and it went on. The song kept building and building and building in intensity,” she explained.
Eventually, they moved on to their “regularly scheduled rehearsal,” but Swift said she was able to retain the improvised session thanks to her mother. “At the end of the day, my mom came up to my sound guy, and she’s like, ‘Is there any chance that you recorded that?’ And he was like, ‘Yep,’ and handed her a CD.”
However, the original, 10-minute version of “All Too Well” was cut down for the 2012 release of Red. “Ten minutes is absurd. That’s an absurd length of time,” said Swift while laughing. “Who thinks they can put out a 10-minute song?”
While stopping by Late Night, Swift spoke more openly about her emotional state at the time she originally worked on the song, telling Meyers, “At the time I was, like, honestly, really sad. Cause I’d actually gone through, you know, the stuff that I had sung about.” The second time around, however, Swift said it’s “chill time.”
“It’s really nice to be able to put this album out and not be sad. Not be, like, taking breaks in between interviews to cry,” she said. “I’m telling you, it’s much better this way.”
When Meyers asked Swift about “people who might think that they’re the one you’re singing about, if it’s easier or far, far worse for them 10 years later,” Swift replied: “I haven’t thought about their experience, to be honest.”
Meyers shot back: “That’s the biggest burn. I think there’s nothing they’d rather hear less.”
During both appearances, Swift also spoke about the short film she wrote and directed that’s set to release alongside her long version of “All Too Well,” which she said will go live online at 7 p.m. ET. Swift cast actor Dylan O’Brien and Stranger Things star Sadie Sink in the film, saying that working with them was “the most unbelievable experience” and that “the chemistry between them is really on another planet.”
“There is one very tense scene between the two of them: They were so electric and improv-ing a lot of what they were doing that we just couldn’t take the camera off them, we couldn’t cut, we couldn’t edit,” Swift told Fallon. “So there’s a very long one-take, one-camera shot that lasts for a very long time, and when you’re watching it you don’t note that; you don’t realize that because they are so magnetic.”