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Smokey Black Nights

Unreleased | 2003

“Smokey Black Nights” is one of the first songs Taylor has ever written, when she was still living in Wyomissing (PA). It is about her time spent in Stone Harbor, a town at the New Jersey shore, where the Swift family spent their summers when Taylor was as a kid.

Background

From the time she was 2 until she was 14, when her family left for Nashville, Taylor’s parents had a summer house on the bay in Stone Harbor. When asked about what she remembers about her time at the Shore, Taylor said:

«It was really cool living on the bay, and we have so many stories about it. We used to all gather together on the dock when the boat parades would go by on July 4 and we'd shoot water balloons at them. I made a clubhouse in the room above my garage and made a filing system of members of the club. Everyone had a profile that I would write on tiles I found. I painted the whole room different colors and used to spend all day in there just doing nothing but sitting in my little club. Because it was mine. We lived across from the bird sanctuary and I had a pair of binoculars, and some days I'd just stare at the window, looking for birds. Or the boy who lived next door to me, whom I swore I would marry someday. One summer when I was 11, I wrote a novel. I was allowed to be kind of weird and quirky and imaginative as a kid, and that was my favorite part of living at the Shore.»

Taylor Swift

Lyrical Theme

Taylor started writing “Smokey Black Nights” while on vacation in Stone Harbor in the summer of 2002. According to her 2020 documentary Miss Americana, she finished a first draft on Januar 19, 2003. In a 2009 email exchange with The Philadelphia Inquirier about her days on the shore, Taylor spoke a little bit about the song:

«There was a little demo I made when I was 11, and I think it’s floating around the Internet. It’s called “Smoky Black Nights,” and it’s all about being at the Shore.»

Taylor Swift

Lyrics

[Verse 1]
Let’s watch the tide chase the waves onto the sand
I wonder if a broken heart can feel the warmth of my hand
And I wonder what a piece of driftwood has seen all through his lifetime
Let’s walk away the past through the smokey black nights

[Chorus 1]
I’ve seen a million things
Spoke a million words
Now I only want to speak to you
Waiting for the words
Counting every bird
There’s nothing I’d rather do
On the smokey black nights

[Verse 2]
Still through the haze I can make out constellations
I’ll make one of you and me as we sit in the sand
And I saw that sunset gleaming as my eyes went wild
Let’s walk away the past through the smokey black nights

[Chorus 2]
I’ve played a thousand songs
Sang a thousand words
Now I only want to sing to you
Waited on a wire
Staring at the fire
There’s nothing I’d rather do
On the smokey black nights

[Chorus 3]
I’ve walked a thousand miles
Smiled a thousand smiles
Now I only smile when I’m with you
Waiting for the words
Counting every bird
There’s nothing I’d rather do
On the smokey black nights

[Outro]
So walk with me as the sweet wind dances
I’ll write a song for you and me on the smokey black nights

General Information
StatusUnreleased
Leaked2003
WrittenJanuary 19, 2003
GenreCountry
Length3:15
SongwriterTaylor Swift
Diary Entry
Song Artwork
Leaked Demo Audio