NEW YORK - OCTOBER 25: Singer Taylor Swift purchases her new album "Speak Now" at the Times Square Starbucks on October 25, 2010 in New York City. The album is on sale at Starbucks nationwide

It seems surreal that this time tomorrow we will have already heard Speak Now Taylor’s Version. This is the third re-recording Taylor has put out in her journey to own all of her own music. Speak Now, Swift’s third studio album is an entirely self-written project that was originally released on October 25, 2010. The Speak Now “era” is one that I will always look back upon with fond memories. Just this week a photo came across my Facebook memories of the first Speak Now show I went to in Greensboro in June 2011. Speak Now includes hits such as ‘Mean’, ‘Mine’, and ‘Back To December’. Plus fan-favorite tracks like ‘Enchanted’ and ‘Long Live. The original Speak Now Era encompassed the time from the album announcement through the end of the tour. Approximately 2010-mid 2012.

Speak Now Taylor’s Version

I’m not sure which track will be the first to bring me to tears tonight (yes it’s tradition to stay up til midnight to listen to all her new releases). If I had to bet, vault tracks aside, it will be ‘Never Grow Up’ or ‘Long Live’. But those are also near the end of the album and do I make it that far? In anticipation of this release though I thought it would be fun to look back on 13 of my favorite moments from the original Speak Now era ahead of Speak Now Taylor’s Version.

The Speak Now Era

I had easily reached die-hard fan status by the launch of Speak Now and vividly remember almost every moment of this era. From the album announcement, the first listen of the tracks, the tour, awards shows, and everything else. I was lucky enough to see Taylor perform four times during the Speak Now era so I have some pretty fond memories. (And multiple failed T-Party attempts- if you know, you know). So I consider myself extremely well-qualified to make this list. Have a favorite moment I missed? I’d love to hear it! In no particular order, outside of number one, these are my favorite moments of Taylor Swift’s Speak Now era. Long Live all the magic we made.

  • Mean At The Grammy's

    One of my favorite Taylor moments ever was the 2012 Grammys. Taylor famously wrote ‘Mean’ in response to criticism she received after her 2010 Grammy performance with Stevie Nicks. The song is rumored to be about Bob Lefsetz. The song won the Grammy for Country Song of the Year. If that wasn’t validation enough, she took the stage later that evening to perform ‘Mean’. Her Grammy-winning song. On the stage that started it. And she changed a lyric for the moment saying “Some day I’ll be singing this at the Grammys, and all you’ll ever be is Mean”. That’s sweet revenge if there ever was some.

  • Speak Now Help Now

    Speak Now Help Now Taylor in Gold Dress with hand heart

    NASHVILLE, TN – MAY 21: 4-time Grammy winner Taylor Swift took the unprecedented step of opening the last dress rehearsal for her Speak Now Tour for fans as a fundraiser to benefit victims of recent deadly tornadoes in the Southeast. The sold-out show raised over $750,000.00 and was held at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee on May 21, 2011.

    In the wake of tornadoes that hit the southeast Taylor opened up her final dress rehearsal of the Speak Now World Tour to fans in May of 2011. The show took place at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena and was an all general admission show. The ticket sales went to the victims and raised over $750,000. Read more about Speak Now Help Now here.

  • Album Announcement

    In a live web chat on July 20th, 2010 Taylor announced that her third, self-written, album Speak Now would be released on October 25th. She revealed that the first single off the album would be called ‘Mine’. And the most notable at least to me, was that she was finally going to release ‘Sparks Fly’. A track that at the time had one terrible quality live version circulating amongst fans. But even then it was a fan favorite track. I didn’t get to watch this live as it happened during the day and I was a camp counselor. But I had a friend giving me the play-by-play and remember screaming when I heard that news. That night I snuck away to some WiFi and watched the full announcement.

  • Ours CMT Awards Performance

    Taylor kept it simple performing on a couch for her 2011 CMA Awards performance. This deluxe track titled ‘Ours’ would eventually go on to become a single. Perhaps it’s because I always have a soft spot for acoustic performances but this has always been one of my favorites. It was a great night all around as Taylor took home the night’s top prize Entertainer of the Year for the second time.

  • Shania CMT Awards

    Taylor Swift and Shania Twain

    THOMPSON’S STATION, TN – JUNE 06: (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Singers & Songwriters Taylor Swift and Shania Twain during the recreation of “Thelma & Louise” for CMT Music Awards airing on June 8, 2011 8pm EST on CMT Country Music TV. This Segment taped on June 6, 2011 in Thompson’s Station, Tennessee.

    Yeah, I do miss country Taylor even though I love seeing her flourish in pop. In 2011 for the CMT Awards she teamed up with Shania Twain for a Thelma & Louise skit that aired during the awards show. Who doesn’t love the two of them together? I wish I could find the video of this but take my word for it it was great!

  • Release Week Special

    Taylor celebrated Speak Now release week in New York City with several events. One of the biggest and best was a rooftop concert turned TV Special that aired on Thanksgiving. And yes, I have this recorded on a DVD.

  • Sparks Fly CMA Fest

    This was a big one for me personally. This was my first time in Nashville and I actually thought I was going to miss Taylor’s CMA Fest performance. But a string of luck put me there, and I got to see my favorite artist in the world for the third time in June of 2011. And to make it even better she opened with ‘Sparks Fly’, a song I had dreamed of hearing live for years. While there have been countless performances and memories since this night, it’s one I will always remember.

  • Mine Music Video Premiere

    Taylor was featured on a 30-minute CMT special to premiere the video for Speak Now‘s lead single ‘Mine’ in August of 2010. The special included a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the video. It’s still one of my favorite videos of hers to date, and the backdrop of the New England coast made for a memorable evening. I only wish I could have been there! You can read more about the event here.

  • Never Grow Up In Raleigh

    Another special to me moment was seeing ‘Never Grow Up’ live. Taylor added this track to the acoustic portion of the set in Raleigh for the Speak Now Tour due to her childhood friend being in attendance that night. This was the third and final show I attended of the Speak Now Tour and the perfect ending. A song that was so relevant to my life at the time, it brought me to tears. And even led to me getting to spend some time with Taylor’s mom Andrea Swift. I’m still so thankful I got to hear this track live, especially that night.

  • Back To December At The American Music Awards

    In her song ‘Back To December’ Taylor apologizes to ex-Taylor Lautner. She took to the 2010 American Music Awards Stage for a powerful piano performance of the song. With straight hair and bangs, a change from her signature curls, she floated down from the sealing onto a stage filled with lit wintery trees. The performance was full of emotion and she mashed it up with ‘Apologize’ the Timberlake track. Taylor took home Favorite Country Female Artist that night as well from the fan-voted award show.

  • Last Kiss Live On Tour

    ‘Last Kiss’ was a track that had to grow on me, but when I fell in love with it I fell hard. The performance on the Speak Now Tour is one that stands out in my mind to this day. And this guitar is also one of my favorite she has ever played. If you need me tonight I’ll be listening to ‘Last Kiss’ at 1:58.

  • Wonderstruck

    Taylor launched her signature Wonderstruck perfume during the Speak Now Era. And in promotion, she did a few meet and greets at department stores across the country including Nashville, New York, and Los Angeles. Fans could line up to purchase gift sets of the fragrance which came with a photo opportunity with the singer. Ask me how mad I was that I didn’t live close enough and couldn’t travel to wait in line. With her level of fame now this could never happen again, but it was such a fun way to interact with the fans back in the day.

  • Singing With James Taylor

    Taylor closed the US leg of the Speak Now World Tour on November 22nd at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. The night was full of surprises including a guest appearance by James Taylor. Fun fact, Taylor was actually named after James Taylor! The two performed ‘Fire and Rain’ as well as Swift’s ‘Fifteen’.

  • Final Thoughts

    What a fun trip down memory lane. I’ve been lucky enough to grow up alongside Taylor for the past sixteen years and that is something I’ll never take for granted. I have so many incredible memories because of her and her music. I can’t wait to crack open a bottle of champagne and listen to Speak Now for the first time again tonight. And it will be even more special now that she owns it. And that I won’t be driving to multiple Walmart locations at midnight trying to find one that will sell me the album. Yes, that happened. Just like the lyrics to ‘Long Live’ say, “I’ll stand by you forever.” To the next chapter.

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