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Starlight

RED (2012) | RED (Taylor's Version) [2021]

“Starlight” is a song on Taylor’s fourth studio album, RED (2012). It finds Taylor singing about the romantic adventures of Ethel and Bobby Kennedy after coming across a photo of the pair dancing when they were teenagers. The re-recording of the song, “Starlight (Taylor’s Version)”, was released on November 12, 2021 on the album RED (Taylor’s Version).

Background and Lyrical Theme

“Starlight” is about Ethel and Bobby Kennedy, who are the grandparents of Conor Kennedy, whom Taylor was dating while writing for RED. Taylor wrote the song alone and co-produced it with regular collaborator Nathan Chapman and Dann Huff. She has said the following on the song’s meaning:

«'Starlight' is a song I wrote after seeing a picture of Ethel and Bobby Kennedy when they were seventeen. I saw this picture about a year and a half ago, and I didn’t know anything about what they were doing or what was going on in the picture, but I just thought, ‘They look like they’re having the best night.’ And so I wrote this song about what the night might’ve been like. I ended up meeting Ethel and going and playing it for her, and she just loved it. It was such a fun moment when she was just in love with the song and so happy about it. It’s just this adorable picture that to me, it brought forth all these potentials for how that night could’ve been.»

Taylor Swift
She also told The Wall Street Journal: “I get a lot of style inspiration from the 1960s, so I’ll go and look at black and white pictures, and look at photos from the ‘50s and ’60s, and I came across this picture of these two kids dancing at a dance. It immediately made me think of like how much fun they must have had that night. It was back in the late ’40s. I ended up reading underneath that it was Ethel Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy. And they were, like, 17. So I just kind of wrote that song from that place, not really knowing how they met or anything like that. And then her daughter Rory ended up coming to a show a couple weeks later and I told her about the song and she was like, ‘You have to meet my mom, she would love to meet you.’ So that was kind of what that song was about.”

Taylor by Taylor Swift: Made of Starlight

Taylor used “Starlight” in the commercials for her third fragrance, Taylor by Taylor Swift (2013) and even named its spin-off after the song: Taylor by Taylor Swift: Made of Starlight (2014). The perfume originally came in a musical box that played the song “Starlight”.

Lyrics

[Intro]
I said, “Oh my, what a marvelous tune”
It was the best night, never would forget how we moved
The whole place was dressed to the nines
And we were dancing, dancing
Like we’re made of starlight (Like we’re made of starlight)

[Verse 1]
I met Bobby on the boardwalk, summer of ’45
Picked me up late one night out the window,
We were 17 and crazy, running wild, wild
Can’t remember what song it was playing when we walked in
The night we snuck into a yacht club party
Pretending to be a duchess and a prince

[Chorus]
And I said, “Oh my, what a marvelous tune”
It was the best night, never would forget how we moved
The whole place was dressed to the nines
And we were dancing, dancing
Like we’re made of starlight, starlight
Like we’re made of starlight, starlight

[Verse 2]
He said, “Look at you worrying so much about things you can’t change.
You’ll spend your whole life singing the blues if you keep thinking that way”
He was trying to skip rocks on the ocean, saying to me,
“Don’t you see the starlight, starlight?
Don’t you dream impossible things?”

[Chorus]
Like, “Oh my, what a marvelous tune”
It was the best night, never would forget how we moved
The whole place was dressed to the nines
And we were dancing, dancing
Like we’re made of starlight, starlight
Like we’re made of starlight, starlight

[Bridge]
Ooh, ooh, he’s talking crazy
Ooh, ooh, dancing with me
Ooh, ooh, we could get married
Have ten kids and teach ’em how to dream

[Guitar Solo]

[Chorus]
Oh, my, what a marvelous tune
It was the best night, never would forget how we moved
The whole place was dressed to the nines
And we were dancing, dancing
Like we’re made of starlight, starlight
Like we’re made of starlight, starlight

[Breakdown]
Like we’re made of starlight, starlight
Like we dream impossible dreams
Like starlight, starlight
Like we dream impossible dreams

[Outro]
Don’t you see the starlight, starlight?
Don’t you dream impossible things?

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General Information
AlbumsRED
RED (Taylor’s Version)
ReleasedOctober 22, 2012
Re-ReleasedNovember 12, 2021
StudioBlackbird (Nashville)
GenrePop Rock
Length3:40
LabelsBig Machine Records
Republic Records
SongwriterTaylor Swift
ProducersNathan Chapman (original)
Dan Huff (original)
Christopher Rowe
Paul Mirkovich
Taylor Swift
RED CHRONOLOGY
Everything Has ChangedStarlightBegin Again
Hidden Message
For Ethel
Taylor and Ethel Kennedy
Song Artwork
Lyric Video
Official Audio
Original Audio
Taylor by Taylor Swift Ads