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What Hurts The Most

Rascal Flatts Cover | Speak Now World Tour (2011)

“What Hurts The Most” is a song written by American songwriter Jeffrey Steele and English songwriter Steve Robson. It was covered by country band Rascal Flatts, who released it as the first single from the 2006 album Me and My Gang, topping the US country and adult contemporary charts with it. Taylor performed the song twice: The first time being during a “Speak Now World Tour” concert in 2011, and again during “The RED Tour” in 2013, together with Rascal Flatts.

Background

When Taylor was first starting out, her first touring experience was opening for Rascal Flatts in 2006. Taking a trip down memory lane, Taylor has performed one of the band’s biggest hits, “What Hurts The Most,” twice. It first served as an acoustic cover during her concert in Oklahoma City. She introduced the song, saying:

«There are amazing musicians that are from Oklahoma. I was thinking of doing a song from one of them, if that's okay with you. There's this guy who's called Joe Don Rooney who's a good friend of mine, and he's from Oklahoma, and Rascal Flatts have been amazing to me.»

Taylor Swift
Two years later, Taylor was playing a sold-out show on her “The RED Tour” at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on September 20, 2013. While she was straddling the line between pop and country at the time, she kept her feet firmly planted in the country genre during the concert by inviting Rascal Flatts to duet with her:

«Nashville is all about remembering where you came from. And remembering the people who are your absolute idols, and remembering the people who helped you out in the very beginning and took you on their arena tour, their sold-out tour, and nobody knew your name. For me, I have this artist, this band, who took me on tour when nobody knew who I was, and about five years ago, I opened up for them here in this building.»

Taylor Swift

Lyrical Theme

“What Hurts The Most” was written by the international team of Jeffrey Steele and Steve Robson; Steele was based in Nashville and Robson is from Newcastle, England. Robson wrote the music and Steele added the lyric, but not until months later when he listened to the track and suddenly found inspiration. The message of the song is to not wait to tell someone how you feel about them. Don’t hold back your feelings. What hurts the most is losing someone because you didn’t tell them how much you care. Jeffrey Steele told Great American Country:

«The song was originally inspired by losing my father. But I ended up changing the meaning and I made it more of a love song, to be more universal.»

Jeffrey Steele
In 2007, “What Hurts The Most” was awarded the BMI “Song of the Year” award at the annual BMI Country Awards ceremony. In addition, co-writer Jeffrey Steele was awarded the BMI “Songwriter of the Year” award.

Lyrics

Written by Jeffrey Steele and Steve Robson

[Verse 1]
I can take the rain on the roof of this empty house
That don’t bother me
I can take a few tears now and then and just let them out
I’m not afraid to cry every once in a while
Even though going on with you gone still upsets me
There are days every now and again I pretend I’m okay
But that’s not what gets me

[Chorus]
What hurts the most was being so close
And having so much to say
And watching you walk away
And never knowing what could’ve been
And not seeing that loving you
Is what I was trying to do

[Verse 2]
It’s hard to deal with the pain of losing you everywhere I go
But I’m doing It
It’s hard to force that smile when I see our old friends and I’m alone
Still harder
Getting up, getting dressed, living with this regret
But I know, if I could do it over
I would trade, give away all the words that I saved in my heart
That I left unspoken

[Chorus]
What hurts the most is being so close
And having so much to say much to say
And watching you walk away
And never knowing what could’ve been
And not seeing that loving you
Is what I was trying to do, oh

[Instrumental Break]

[Chorus Variation]
What hurts the most was being so close
And having so much to say (Much to say)
And watching you walk away
And never knowing what could have been
And not seeing that loving you
Is what I was trying to do, oh

[Outro]
Not seeing that loving you
That’s what I was trying to do

General Information
Associated EraSpeak Now Era
RecordedOctober 15, 2011
September 20, 2013
Written2003
VenuesChesapeake Energy Arena
(Oklahoma City)
Bridgestone Arena (Nashville)
GenreCountry
Length5:09
SongwritersJeffrey Steele
Steve Robson
Live Performance 2011
Live Performance 2013