Taylor Swift Sings 'New Year's Day'

Taylor Swift debuts her 2017 single "New Year's Day" for the Tonight Show audience, a performance that proved to have a special and unexpected meaning for host Jimmy Fallon. More below...

The Tonight Show host Jimmy Fallon’s first show after the death of his mother, Gloria, was an emotional one. Early in the program, Jimmy shared a memory of Gloria—one that even his crew had never heard before. “When we were little, my mom would walk us to the store, me and my sister, and we would hold hands,” Jimmy said, holding back tears. “She would squeeze my hand three times and say, ‘I love you.’ And I would squeeze back, ‘I love you too.’” In the hospital, a week earlier, Jimmy had held his mom’s hand and squeezed, “I love you,” one last time.

The show moved on. Jimmy’s producer, Mike DiCenzo, and crew had arranged a surprise musical performance by Taylor Swift. “She was not scheduled to do our show,” DiCenzo later wrote on Twitter. “But we wanted something special for Jimmy’s first show back.”

Taylor took the stage, sat at the piano and sang “New Year’s Day.” A ballad from her recently released album. “‘You squeeze my hand three times in the back of the taxi,’” Taylor sang. “‘I can tell it’s gonna be a long road….’”

The audience and crew watched the performance in stunned silence. Jimmy sat at his desk, crying. You squeeze my hand three times.

“We all lost it,” Mike wrote. “It was a beautiful coinci­dence in a beautiful performance.”

As The Tonight Show drummer Questlove put it, “You can’t plan these things.”

But Someone can.

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