"1492" is the first song on Counting Crows' 2008 album Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings. Adam Duritz announced in a voicemail message to his fans on January 12, 2008, that this song would be released as part of a digital 45 release to precede the release of Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings, with "When I Dream of Michelangelo" to be featured as its B-side. It is, however, not the lead commercial single, as "You Can't Count on Me" was released as the lead airplay/video single on February 4, 2008.
The song was originally slated for inclusion on the album, Hard Candy, but was not included due to Adam Duritz's dissatisfaction with the quality of the recordings made at that time and the inclusion of a six minute sitar solo.
The digital single was made available for download on their official website on January 16, 2008.