All You Had To Do Was Stay

1989 (2014)

In “All You Had To Do Was Stay”, Taylor points out that no matter what she does, she can’t seem to make a former lover “stay.” This particular guy’s indecision (breaking up and then wanting to get back together) put the final nail in their relationship’s coffin. Notably, it got the meaningful “Track Five” spot on Taylor’s fifth studio album “1989” (2014).

In an interview for GQ Magazine, Taylor explained that she came up with the high-pitched chorus in a dream.

“I had a dream that my ex showed up at my door, knocked on the door, and I opened it up and I was about ready to launch into, like, the perfect thing to say, and instead, all that would come out of my mouth was that high-pitched chorus of people singing ‘stay!’” — Taylor Swift

Interestingly, on her previous album “RED” (2012), there was a track called “Stay Stay Stay.” The two songs are thematically similar, but use very different styles of music and songwriting. On “RED”, her pop-country roots were still on display, whereas here, keeping in theme with “1989” as a whole, Taylor embraces a full electropop style, although she originally wrote “All You Had To Do Was Stay” as a piano ballad.

Of note, “All You Had To Do Was Stay” was the fifth song to contribute to Taylor’s streak of “Track Five” of the album being “emotional vulnerable” ballads.

Roling Stone namend “All You Had To Do Was Stay” one of the best pop songs of the 2010’s decade.

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
People like you always want back the love they gave away
And people like me wanna believe you when you say you’ve changed
The more I think about it now the less I know
All I know is that you drove us off the road

[Chorus]
Stay
Hey, all you had to do was stay
Had me in the palm of your hand
Then why’d you have to go and lock me out when I let you in?
Stay
Hey, now you say you want it back
Now that it’s just too late
Well, it could’ve been easy
All you had to do was stay

All you had to do was stay
All you had to do was stay
All you had to do was stay
All you had to do was stay

[Verse 2]
Here you are now, calling me up, but I don’t know what to say
I’ve been picking up the pieces of the mess you made
People like you always want back the love they pushed aside
But people like me are gone forever when you say goodbye

[Chorus]
Stay
Hey, all you had to do was stay
Had me in the palm of your hand
Then why’d you have to go and lock me out when I let you in?
Stay
Hey, now you say you want it back
Now that it’s just too late
Well, it could’ve been easy
All you had to do was stay

All you had to do was stay
All you had to do was stay
All you had to do was stay, stay, stay, stay, stay

[Bridge]
Let me remind you
This was what you wanted
You ended it
You were all I wanted
But not like this
Not like this
Not like this

Oh, all you had to do was…

[Chorus]
Stay
Hey, all you had to do was stay
Had me in the palm of your hand
Then why’d you have to go and lock me out when I let you in?
Stay
Hey, now you say you want it back
Now that it’s just too late
Well, it could’ve been easy
All you had to do was stay

[Final Chorus]
Hey, all you had to do was stay
Had me in the palm of your hand
Then why’d you have to go and lock me out when I let you in?
Stay
Hey, now you say you want it back
Now that it’s just too late
(All you had to do was stay)
Well, it could’ve been easy
All you had to do was stay

All you had to do was stay
All you had to do was stay
All you had to do was stay
All you had to do was stay

General Information
Album1989
ReleasedOctober 27, 2014
RecordedJanuary 10, 2013
StudioConway Studios (Los Angeles)
GenreSynth Pop
Length3:13
LabelBig Machine Records
SongwritersTaylor Swift
Max Martin
ProducersMax Martin
Shellback
Mattman & Robin
1989 CHRONOLOGY
Out Of The WoodsAll You Had To Do Was StayShake It Off
Single Certification
Hidden Message
They paid the price
Taylor on Recording Day
Instagram Teaser
Official Audio