Hey There Delilah

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"Hey There Delilah"
Hey There Delilah (2006 Plain White T's single).jpg
Single by Plain White T's
from the album All That We Needed and Every Second Counts
B-side"Easy Way Out"
ReleasedMay 9, 2006
RecordedMay 2003, North Hollywood, Los Angeles
Genre
Length3:52
Label
Songwriter(s)Tom Higgenson
Producer(s)
Plain White T's singles chronology
"Take Me Away"
(2005)
"Hey There Delilah"
(2006)
"Hate (I Really Don't Like You)"
(2006)

"Hey There Delilah" is a hit song by American band Plain White T's. It was released in May 2006 as the third single from their third studio album All That We Needed.

The song received radio play over the following year, becoming a sleeper hit, and eventually reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 in July 2007.

Background and writing[edit]

The song was recorded and produced by Ariel Rechtshaid in North Hollywood, Los Angeles. The band's fourth album, Every Second Counts, has "Hey There Delilah" as a bonus track with a string section written and performed by Eric Remschneider augmenting the original recording.[5]

The song was written by frontman Tom Higgenson after meeting Delilah DiCrescenzo, a nationally ranked American steeplechase and cross country runner,[6] through a mutual friend around 2002.

Higgenson stated: “I thought she was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen, I told her, ‘I have a song about you already.’ Obviously, there was no song. But I thought it was smooth.” DiCrescenzo turned him down, as she was dating somebody else at the time, but kept in touch with Higgenson. A year later, he had finished the song. About the actual writing, Higgenson said: “Because I wasn’t with Delilah, I had to imagine, ‘If I was with this girl, what would I want to tell her?’” In late 2004, Higgenson brought DiCrescenzo a disc with the finished song.

DiCrescenzo stated she found it difficult to deal with the popularity of a song written about her. “When I’m at the gym, it’s playing; when I’m at the pool, it’s playing. Part of me wants to scream at the top of my lungs that it’s about me. Another part of me wants to cower and say it’s not. [...] It was so beautifully written. There was pressure to live up to this ideal. I didn’t know how to be polite but, you know, ditch him.”[7]

"Hey There Delilah" is written in the key of D major,[8] with a tempo of 104 beats per minute in common time.[9]

Release[edit]

Plain White T's released the song in May 2006 as the third single from their third studio album All That We Needed. In 2007, over one year after the song's release, it became the band's first hit in the United States, eventually reaching number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in July. From July 3 through July 28, 2007, it was the most played song on radio and the most downloaded song on the US iTunes Music Store.

It was the Plain White T's first, and to date, only major hit.[10] It also reached number two in the UK.[11] The song ended 2007 as the year's 14th biggest-selling single in the UK.[12]

Since its release, "Hey There Delilah" has been covered by many artists worldwide in one form or another. It has sold over 4,000,000 digital copies in the US alone.[13]

Music video[edit]

The video was directed by Jay Martin.

It features the band's lead singer, Tom Higgenson, singing the song while the band members are in another room behind him. The other band members are not playing in the song. The only other instruments are the strings provided by Eric Remschneider, who does not appear in the video.

In a split screen it shows Delilah, played by model Melissa McNelis, who attends college in New York City. She walks around the city, presumably from a class to her job.

Critical reception[edit]

Time magazine named "Hey There Delilah" one of The 10 Best Songs of 2007, ranking it number seven.[14] Music critic Josh Tyrangiel called it "an intimate love song that's damn near universal" Tyrangiel praised the Plain White T's for managing to make another "aching guy reaching out to distant girl song feel fresh", singling out singer Tom Higgenson's otherwise imperfect voice and "nasal delivery [for making] the nearly-comic sincerity of the lyrics seem completely genuine".[15] AllMusic positively compared the song to "Thirteen" by Big Star.[16]

The song was a double 2008 Grammy Award nominee, for Song of the Year (won by Amy Winehouse) and Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocal (won by Maroon 5). The real Delilah attended the Grammy Award show that year as the guest of Tom Higgenson, the song's writer.[17]

On VH1's Top 40 Videos of 2007, "Hey There Delilah" was number 8, ahead of "If Everyone Cared" by Nickelback and behind "Say It Right" by Nelly Furtado. VH1 had the song at number 78 on its list of the 100 Greatest Songs of the '00s.[18]

The band was featured on Playhouse Disney in 2008 with the song "I'm the Letter T" (to the tune of "Hey There Delilah"). Higgenson provided the vocals for the computer animated letter T who sings the spoof. When asked if he was excited, Higgenson responded, "Yeah, hello! It's a dream. But it's just my voice. There's going to be some Muppet singing it on the screen." It also appeared on Sesame Street.[19]

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Certified units/sales
Australia (ARIA)[66] Platinum 70,000^
Canada (Music Canada)[67] 3× Platinum 120,000*
Denmark (IFPI Danmark)[68] Platinum 90,000double-dagger
Germany (BVMI)[69] Platinum 300,000double-dagger
Italy (FIMI)[70] Platinum 50,000double-dagger
New Zealand (RMNZ)[71] Gold 5,000*
United Kingdom (BPI)[72] 2× Platinum 1,200,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[74] 4× Platinum 4,476,000[73]

* Sales figures based on certification alone.
^ Shipments figures based on certification alone.
double-dagger Sales+streaming figures based on certification alone.

Release history[edit]

Country Release date
United States 9 May 2006 (2006-05-09)
Worldwide 30 August 2007 (2007-08-30)

Other versions[edit]

In 2020, Jessica Ricca made a version called "Hey it's Delilah" from Delilah's perspective. As of January 2021 it has more than 7.6 million views on YouTube.[75] American rapper Rod Wave interpolated the song on his 2021 single "By Your Side".[3]

Television series[edit]

In August 2018, it was announced by the band's frontman and songwriter, Tom Higgenson that Lively McCabe Entertainment and Primary Wave, along with writer Jeremy Desmon, would be teaming up to develop a potential series based on the band's hit song. Expanding on the story within the song, the series is described as being a romantic dramedy telling the contemporary fairy tale of a long-distance flirtation between a struggling singer-songwriter and a New York City university student. The songwriter pledges to write a song for the young woman on the night they meet, and that promise changes their lives in unexpected ways. The series will be pitched to potential networks and streaming services.[76]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]