The singer, 27, performed her new song “New Year’s Day” while playing the piano following the late night host’s monologue. Serendipitously, the lyrics unintentionally referred back to a story an emotional Fallon told about his mother squeezing his hand three times to say “I love you” when he was a child.
“When we were little, my mom would walk us to this store, me and my sister, and she would squeeze my hand three times and say, ‘I love you,’ and I would squeeze back, ‘I love you, too,'” Fallon explained, pausing to gather his composure. “And… last week I was in the hospital and I grabbed her and squeezed, ‘I love you.'”
Swift’s “New Year’s Day” lyrics include the line, “You squeeze my hand three times in the back of the taxi / I can tell that it’s gonna be a long road / I’ll be there if you’re the toast of the town, babe / Or if you strike out and you’re crawling home.”
The moment struck Fallon’s drummer Questlove of The Roots, who Tweeted, “I’m just realizing Taylor didn’t readjust the song’s lyrics for tonight’s performance. But the narrative literally applies to the words Jimmy spoke of his mother. Wow. You can’t plan these things.”
Tonight Show writer and producer Mike DiCenzo elaborated on how Swift’s appearance came to be — and what it meant to Fallon.
As she finished the song, Fallon approached Swift and she enveloped him in a huge hug.
Fallon teased the appearance on his Instagram earlier Monday, saying, “I wanted to make sure we have a very, very special, big musical performance and we got one! Look what you made me do…”
And this is just the latest public outing in what has been a very busy week in New York City for Swift. On Saturday, she performed both “Call It What You Want” and “…Ready for It?” — two songs from her new album Reputation — for the first time on Saturday Night Live.
And on Sunday, she went on to surprise over 300 fans at her N.Y.C. pop-up shop in support of her album. Open through Thursday, the Pop Up hosted by Taylor Swift NOW features reputation merchandise, demos of Taylor Swift NOW on the DIRECTV NOW platform, costumes and props from the “Look What You Made Me Do” music video and more.
Swift was back at the exhibit Monday, celebrating the launch of “The Making of a Song” video series available only from AT&T on Taylor Swift NOW with 200 hand-picked fans.
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The pop star’s sixth studio album — which debuted on Friday — is already on track to break multiple sales records.
According to data from Nielsen Music published by Billboard, Reputation sold more than 700,000 copies in its first day available, which puts Swift on track to sell more than 1 million records in the record’s first week — and it also means that after just one week on sale, Reputation could possibly become the year’s best-selling album.
Billboard reported that as of Nov. 2, Ed Sheeran‘s ÷ (Divide) was 2017’s top-seller with 1.29 million albums sold, but according to Variety, industry experts are anticipating that Reputation will sell 1.5 million copies in its first week.
Billboard also noted that Reputation would be the fourth of Swift’s records to sell at least 1 million copies in just one week, joining the ranks of Speak Now from 2010, as well as 2012’s Red and 2014’s 1989.
And on Monday, Swift announced stadium dates for an upcoming concert tour. Kicking off May 8 in Glendale, Arizona, the 27-date trek will support her sixth album before wrapping up in Arlington, Texas, on Oct. 6.
According to Swift’s website, additional concerts will be announced in the U.K., Ireland, Australia, and New Zealand.