The Plain White T's Explain Why "Hey There Delilah" Is Still Timeless After 15 Years
When the Plain White T's released their album All That We Needed in January 2005, it wasn't their debut, but it was what put them on the map. The band actually formed in 1997, and they already had two albums and a small but loyal fanbase under their belt. That tiny fanbase got a boost almost instantly when their final single off the album, "Hey There Delilah," was released. The song was a runaway success, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and scooping up two Grammy nominations. As the band celebrates All That We Needed's 15th anniversary, they're feeling more nostalgic than ever. The Plain White T's comments about what makes "Hey There Delilah" timeless will make you feel the same way.
When "Hey There Delilah" was released in May 2006, it completely took over the airwaves. Many people may have assumed the song was manufactured by big-wig producers and strategically released to become a radio hit, but the truth is the band didn't have many expectations for the song at all.
"When I wrote 'Delilah,' it wasn't really any different than any other song I wrote," vocalist Tom Higgenson tells Elite Daily. "I never really put a limit on anything. Everything I put out, I love. Whether it sells 10 [copies] or 10 million, it's a little bit out of my hands. All I can do is do my best to make good music and put it out," he says.
Even after the song's success, Higgenson says he continued making music with the same approach he had from day one. "I never felt super pressure," he says. "Obviously, I'm very proud of that song, and I do think it's really beautiful and ... it's special, but I guess the point is the process behind that one wasn't any different than any other one. I never really got too crazy about trying to recapture it."
Higgenson sometimes finds it hard to believe how "Hey There Delilah" has endured in music culture, and has even found new life with a brand new generation on social media. "I feel like every week someone sends me a new meme or TikTok post. It's so funny," he says.
Higgenson believes the timeless nature of the track comes down to one major quality. "We didn't really do this on purpose... but the fact it is such a stripped-down production, just guitar and a vocal... it's recorded very timelessly," he explains. "I think, because of that, it's not dated. Did the song come out in the 1960s? The '70s? Or did it come out in 2020? I don't know."
As All That We Needed approached its 15th birthday, the Plain White T's knew the milestone called for something special. Higgenson feels like new music has taken a backseat during the pandemic, but has taken comfort in listening to artists he knows and loves on vinyl. Listening to his favorite records got him thinking: "I was like, 'How the hell is All That We Needed not on vinyl?'"
The Plain White T's commissioned a 15th anniversary edition of All That We Needed and a limited-edition version pressed on yellow splatter vinyl. Both will be sold exclusively on the band’s website for $22.
Most importantly, Higgenson wants to share his gratitude for the song and album that changed everything for The Plain White T's. "15 years, that went by in a flash. I feel like as you get older and older, it probably just feels faster and faster," he says. "Thank you to anyone who listened to 'Hey There Delilah' and it meant something to you."
Plain White T's' vinyl debut of All That We Needed arrives Nov. 13 via Craft Recordings.