In 2006, Plain White T’s released the song, Hey There Delilah. On the surface, the song seems to be just about a long-distance relationship, but the story behind it is rather interesting.
According to Columbia College Today, the muse for songwriter and front man of Plain White T’s was a real girl named Delilah who was a student at Columbia. The long-distance storyline in the song is a work of fiction, but it was inspired by Delilah, who was on Columbia’s women’s cross-country team and won three consecutive Heptagonal Games championships.
Front man and songwriter, Tom Higgenson said he had met her five years before he wrote the song through a friend. He said, “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.”
Delilah wasn’t interested in him, as she was dating someone else at the time. So, while nothing happened between them, Higgenson was still inspired to write the song. The two kept in touch through email as friends and Higgenson gave her a copy of the song in 2004, two years before it was released.
Once it was released, it because a hit. I remember hearing it everywhere at the time. The song spent 35 weeks on the Billboard Hot 100, including multiple weeks at number 1.
Interestingly, years later in August of 2018, Tom Higgenson announced that Lively McCabe Entertainment and Primary Wave, along with writer Jeremy Desmon, were in discussions about developing a potential series based on the song. It was described as, “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.” It is unclear if a network or streaming service has picked up the series yet.
I love two things about this song. One, I love the real story behind it. Songwriters write fictionalized storylines in their songs all the time. But it is always inspired by something that touched them. In this case, a harmless infatuation generated a catchy, sweet, hit song that people loved. Two, who wouldn’t love for someone to write a song about building a life together? And even more so, express, “a thousand miles seems pretty far, but they’ve got planes and trains and cars, I’d walk to you if I had no other way.”
If you are a creative person, don’t ever discount the small things that resonate with your heart. They can blossom into something beautiful that can inspire or touch others. And if you are wanting the kind of romance from someone who would literally walk to you if they had no other way, don’t settle for anything less than that. You deserve to be loved the way you want to be loved.