Ronan (song)

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Taylor Swift "Ronan" SVG Cover.svg
Single by Taylor Swift
ReleasedSeptember 8, 2012 (2012-09-08)
GenreSoft rock
LabelBig Machine
Producer(s)Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift singles chronology
"We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"
"Begin Again"

"Ronan" is a charity single released on September 8, 2012, by American singer-songwriter Taylor Swift to the iTunes Store. Swift's lyrics are based on a blog by Maya Thompson about her four-year-old boy Ronan, who died from neuroblastoma in 2011.[1] Swift wrote and produced the song by putting together quotes from the blog, crediting Maya Thompson as co-writer. All proceeds from sales of the single go to help fight cancer.


Swift wrote the song after reading Maya Thompson's blog. Thompson is the mother of four-year-old Ronan Thompson, who died in 2011 of neuroblastoma.[1] He had been treated at Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children's Hospital. Maya began writing in August 2010 when Ronan was diagnosed and she continued penning her entries in the blog Rockstar Ronan during the nine months that Ronan suffered from the illness before dying in May 2011, just three days before his fourth birthday. Maya worked through her grief by continuing the blog, writing heartbreaking letters to her late son whilst raising money and awareness for childhood cancer causes.[2]

The pair met in October 2011, when Swift invited Maya to her concert at the Arena in Glendale, Arizona. She wrote about her reaction when Taylor told her that she'd penned the song inspired by her blog entries, "My calmness soon turned to complete and utter frozen shock when these words came out of her mouth. 'I wrote a song for Ronan.'" Thompson added, addressing her late son, "'The tears started pouring down my cheeks as soon as I heard her say those words. But her words didn't stop there. Not only did she write a song for you, but she wanted to know if it would be alright to perform it on the nationally televised show."[3] Swift credits Thompson as the co-writer of the song. It was released to the US iTunes Store shortly after the Stand Up to Cancer telethon ended, and all proceeds of the single go towards cancer charities.[4]


Mark Hogan of Spin magazine describes "Ronan" as a soft rock ballad.[5] Swift wrote and produced the song based on the blog entries by co-writer Maya Thompson.[3]

Critical reception[edit]

"Ronan" received universal acclaim from critics. Rolling Stone called the song "heartbreaking".[6] Bill Dukes of Taste of Country wrote: "It was clear [Swift] was just the voice for Maya Thompson..."[7] Ed Masley of The Arizona Republic said that "'Ronan' may very well be [Swift's] finest hour as an artist."[8]

Commercial performance[edit]

"Ronan" was downloaded 220,000 times in its first week, debuting at number 2 on the Hot Digital Songs. The song was blocked by Swift's own song "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" from the top spot. On the Billboard Hot 100 the song peaked at number 16.[9] It also peaked at number 34 on the Hot Country Songs chart.

Live performances[edit]

Swift first performed the song live for Stand Up to Cancer in September 2012,[10] and has only performed it publicly one other time, when Maya Thompson attended the Glendale, Arizona stop of The 1989 World Tour on August 17, 2015.[11]

Track listing[edit]

  • Digital download[12]
  1. "Ronan" – 4:25


Chart (2012) Peak
US Billboard Hot 100[13] 16
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[14] 34


Region Certification Certified units/sales
United States (RIAA)[15] Gold 500,000*

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ a b Megan Pacella (September 7, 2012). "Taylor Swift to 'Stand Up to Cancer' With Song for 4-Year-Old Lost to Neuroblastoma". Taste of Country. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
  2. ^ "Ronan by Taylor Swift Songfacts". September 7, 2012. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Hey Maya, it's Taylor Swift..." Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  4. ^ "Taylor Swift to debut song for cancer victim". MSN. Microsoft. September 7, 2012. Archived from the original on December 13, 2013. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
  5. ^ Hogan, Mark (September 10, 2012). "Taylor Swift Debuts Tear-Jerking 'Ronan' at Cancer Benefit". Spin. Swift's soft-rock ballad "Ronan," inspired by a Phoenix mother's heartfelt blog post ...
  6. ^ "Taylor Swift Debuts 'Ronan' at Stand Up To Cancer Benefit". Rolling Stone. September 8, 2012. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
  7. ^ Billy Dukes (September 7, 2012). "Taylor Swift's 'Ronan,' Tim McGraw's 'Live Like You Were Dying' Highlight Emotional 'Stand Up to Cancer' Telethon". Taste of Country. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
  8. ^ Ed Masley (September 9, 2012). "Taylor Swift song 'Ronan' for Phoenix boy an artistic high". The Republic. AZ Central. Retrieved September 9, 2012.
  9. ^ Trust, Gary (September 12, 2012). "Taylor Swift's 'Never' Is Hot 100's Longest-Leading Country Song Since 1980". Billboard. Retrieved April 28, 2013.
  10. ^ "Taylor Swift to debut song, 'Ronan', on 'Stand Up to Cancer' telethon in honor of 3-year-old victim". New York Daily News. Associated Press. September 7, 2012. Retrieved September 8, 2012.
  11. ^ Biedenharn, Isabella (August 19, 2015). "Taylor Swift sings 'Ronan' and honors woman whose son died of cancer". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved August 20, 2015.
  12. ^ "Ronan – Single". iTunes Stores. September 8, 2012. Retrieved September 7, 2012.
  13. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved September 12, 2012.
  14. ^ "Taylor Swift Chart History (Hot Country Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved October 20, 2012.
  15. ^ "American single certifications – Taylor Swift – Ronan". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 

External links[edit]