Taylor Swift’s Surprise Tonight Show Performance Makes Jimmy Fallon Tear Up Following Mom’s Death
On Monday night, Taylor Swift made a last-minute visit to the set of Jimmy Fallon’s Tonight Show to perform her new ballad “New Year’s Day.” It was an emotional performance, due in large part to Fallon’s grief: his mother, Gloria, passed awayunexpectedly last week.
The singer, 27, performed her new song “New Year’s Day” while playing the piano following the late night host’s monologue. Serendipitously, the lyrics unintentionally referred back to a touching story Fallon told about his mother squeezing his hand three times to say “I love you” when he was a child.
“When we were little, my mom would walk us to this store, me and my sister, and she would squeeze my hand three times and say, ‘I love you,’ and I would squeeze back, ‘I love you, too,’” Fallon explained, pausing to gather his composure. “And… last week I was in the hospital and I grabbed her and squeezed, ‘I love you.’”
Swift’s “New Year’s Day” lyrics include the line, “You squeeze my hand three times in the back of the taxi / I can tell that it’s gonna be a long road / I’ll be there if you’re the toast of the town, babe / Or if you strike out and you’re crawling home.”
“Suddenly she sings the line, ‘Squeeze my hand 3 times in the back of the taxi,’” wrote Tonight Show producer Mike DiCenzo in a series of tweets giving the back story on the resonant moment. “I nearly gasped. Tears. I think everyone in the audience started sobbing,” he wrote. “I could see Jimmy silhouetted at his desk dabbing his eyes with a tissue. We all lost it. It was a beautiful coincidence in a beautiful performance. ‘Hold on to your memories, they will hold on to you,’ Taylor sang.”
As she finished the song, Fallon approached Swift and she enveloped him in a huge hug.
Fallon teased the appearance on his Instagram earlier Monday, saying, “I wanted to make sure we have a very very special, big musical performance and we got one! Look what you made me do…”
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