Hey There Delilah

Album: All That We Needed (2005)
Charted: 2 1

Songfacts®:

  • Delilah is Delilah DiCrescenzo, a steeplechase runner Plain White T's lead singer Tom Higgenson met through a friend. He thought she was the most beautiful girl he'd ever seen.

    "I was like, 'Well, all right, I've got to write a song for this girl,'" he told Songfacts. "I literally started playing it. The first verse just poured out exactly as it is, all the way through to the chorus. I didn't really know the girl, you know? So, it was like, 'What's it like in New York City? Tonight, you look so pretty'"

    Higgenson didn't get the girl - Delilah was dating somebody and wasn't interested - but he did get a hit song out of the encounter.
  • The song tells the story of a girl and a boy in a long distance relationship who talk about their future plans - she'll finish and he'll be a rock star. Higgenson hashed out the song over a six-month period after meeting Delilah. "I just had to make up the rest of it," he said. "If I was in this long-distance relationship with somebody, what would I want to say? What would those emotions be?"
  • This ballad was a huge hit for Plain White T's, but it is not indicative of their sound, which leans into the louder pop-punk realm. They didn't start playing it live until it was featured on Myspace, which was huge at the time; after seeing the band on the 2005 Warped Tour, Myspace owner Tom Anderson featured them on the site. Droves of Myspacers made "Hey There Delilah" their profile song, which is when the band started performing it in concert. They were surprised when crowds loved it and sang the words back to them.
  • The song took two years to catch on. It was first released on their 2005 album All That We Needed and issued as a single in 2006 on the independent label Fearless. The single didn't catch on, but the album sold about 80,000 copies, enough to get the attention of Hollywood Records, a major label. Hollywood signed the band and released "Hate (I Really Don't Like You)" - an angry song about a conflicted breakup - as the first single in 2006. That song did well, charting at #68 in the US in November 2006. When the head of Hollywood Records came to see the band in concert, he saw the crowd reaction to "Hey There Delilah" and coveted it. Hollywood convinced the band to include it on their 2007 album Every Second Counts, and re-released it as a single. This time, it took off, rising to #1 in July 2007.
  • The original version of this song, found on the 2005 All That We Needed album, is just voice and acoustic guitar. When they decided to make a video for the song, they produced a new version with Sean O'Keefe, who had worked with Fall Out Boy. This version, which was issued as a single in 2006 and is the one familiar to most listeners, added strings, an organ (in the chorus) and some other musical embellishments.
  • The video was directed by Jay Martin, who went on to work with Shawn Mendes ("Stitches") and Cole Swindell ("Break Up In The End"). The model Melissa McNelis plays Delilah.
  • Tom Higgenson told Clickmusic that he felt this was possibly the most well-crafted song on the album: "I think I definitely spent the most time on the lyrics with that song. It's a lyric-driven song, so every line was important. It's very exposed and vulnerable, but it's very simple."
  • After leaping from #16 to #6 on the US chart, this song moved up one place each week until it reached #1. This 6-5-4-3-2-1 pattern was the most positions a song climbed step-by-step to #1 since Bill Conti's "Gonna Fly Now (Theme From Rocky)" edged 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 in 1977.
  • "Hey There Delilah" was also a #1 hit on the Adult Contemporary chart, and in Canada. It was also a hit throughout Europe, reaching #2 in the UK.
  • This became the first Hot 100 chart-topper for the Hollywood label, home to Miley Cyrus and Jonas Brothers.
  • This was nominated for Grammy Awards for Song Of The Year and Best Pop Performance By A Duo Or Group. Delilah DiCrescenzo attended the ceremony as Tom Higgenson's date on February 10, 2008. The song didn't win, and while it was technically their first date, Delilah made it clear that it was strictly platonic and was still seeing her boyfriend.
  • Plain White T's had a few more minor hits, including "1,2,3,4" and "Rhythm Of Love." They stayed active, releasing new music every few years and continuing to perform.

    According to Tom Higgenson, who is the only songwriter on the track and thus gets all the publishing royalties, he could live on what he makes from the song. "Even if I had all the money in the world, I'd still be doing exactly what I'm doing," he told Songfacts. "I think that's a part of why we had the success, too. When you do something you love, that joy for it really comes through."
  • Plain White T's guitarist Dave Tirio gave his take on the real Delilah and how this song came about: "She is a nice girl and I remember when we met her back in the day Tom just was smitten with her and he was just kind of flirting with her and he was talking about writing a songs about her and she responded by kind of goofing around and saying, 'Oh, where is my song? I want to hear this thing. And he kind of had to put his money where his mouth is and he started writing the thing. He got about four lines into it and just writing about how she had gone off to school and how much he missed her and whatnot. Then he kind of spun that into what would you want to say to any girl in your life that you were totally head over heels for, what were all the things you would want to cram into one little conversations then he kind of channeled that into the song."
  • Tom Higginson explained to Absolute Punk the meaning behind the band's name: "Plain White T's was the best name out of a bunch of really bad names that we thought of. We thought that in a way it stood for something classic, timeless, and always cool; which is also the kind of music we've always tried to make."
  • The band recorded a new version of this song for Sesame Street with the lyrics changed to teach the letter "T" (get it?). For example:

    Hey there that's Timmy
    He's a T wearing a T-shirt
    And he has a little teacup
  • On August 7, 2018, The Hollywood Reporter revealed that the band was pitching "Hey There Delilah" as a TV series, "a contemporary fairy tale that expands the story within the song."
  • This song shows up in these TV shows:

    Family Guy ("Stewie Is Enceinte" - 2015)
    Orange Is the New Black ("You Also Have a Pizza" - 2014)
    Journeyman ("Perfidia" - 2007)

Comments: 69

  • Kate from Boston, Mai love the tune. Its really really great. But its also a bit sad.
  • Dalayla Mercado from 405 Hillcrest Wow my name is dalayla and me dad told me he made it but he is a liar
  • Not Joejoebeans from Not Clovis, NmSarah, Nothing about this song or your target of stalkerism is about you. Stop kidding yourself, romance isn’t someone writing a song about someone they don’t know no matter how much you convince yourself. You’ll find someone that loves you but the singer of the plain white T’s isn’t it and it ain’t about you. Tune though regardless.
  • Fred Smart from Evanston, IlThe numbers behind this song are amazing.
  • Drew from Eau Claire, Withis is a great song...mine and my girlfriends song
  • Sarah from Clovis, NmI love this song because the guy that i like that likes me is nicknamed delilah and he is having his brother teach him how to play guitar just so he can play this song to me.
  • Jean from Austin, Txi thought this song was about the radio personality Delilah. LOL.
  • Teala from Boston, Mathis is one of my favorite songs. i heard Tom met her after she attended a show of theirs. and once he wrote the song about her, Delilah went to see it performed while her boyfriend waited out in the car! haha
  • Rahul from Chennai, Indiaits hard to get another song like this...to me its a masterpiece..though clutching on to one aspect the whole world understands - love, this song is unique in its own way...so enjoy it ppl...
  • Hope from Naperville, IlIt was so overplayed on the radio. Have you noticed how radio stations play decent music over and over until you are just sick of it? Either way, this is a a sweet song, even if it is an imaginary relationship. At my camp it is the perfect slow dance song, minus the fact that everyone is so tired of hearing it.
  • Jess from Cape May, NjWhen this song first came out i was in love; This is one of the Plain White T's greatest song
  • Brian from Chicago, IlI met Tom last night at a show i played at a bar in the west chicago suburbs where he lives. He is a very nice guy whos willing to talk to anyone. He def wrote the song no doubt about it.
  • Raul from Chicago, IlHey tom higgenson's dad was my old boss john higgenson, out in elk grove village, il.
  • Natasha from Oklahoma City, Okin answer to what someone responded with the last time i posted which was ages and ages ago, it says the release date is 2005 but all last summer i heard it like every 2 hours like radio stations do with new songs so i am confused as to how a 2-year-old song gets airplay as if it is a fresh new one...was it really released that long ago and just now caught on last year? does anyone know anything about that? there is another song this site that was the same way, played every 2 hours or so but was supposedly released in 05.
  • Vincent from Detroit, MiMaybe this is just me... but this sounds to me like a very sad song.

    Most everybody thinks this is a sweet song, and maybe that's the intention, but this is the way I see it...

    Notice that this is a one way conversation, from the guy left behind, to the girl "a thousand miles away". You have no idea what the girl is thinking, or doing from the song... for all we know the guy is home longing for the girl and the girl is out living up the life in New York City.

    Plus, it seems apparent to me that they'll never work out in the end. It looks like he hasn't had any higher education, yet she will graduate from college in two years. He has big plans of being a rock star, but that's quite the pipe dream there. Most people that do pursue a career in music end up failing, but even if he does beat the odds, that could potentially be a worse situation for their relationship, because the "high-flying" life of a rock star will tend to destroy the possibility of having a meaningful relationship (how many rock-stars have long lasting marriages?), no matter how much love there is there.

    Either way, she will, after graduating, be in a different place (metaphorically speaking, though possibly geographically as well) than the guy she left behind. Chances are that there is no hope for this relationship... so it sad to me.

    This song is to me a song about the naivety that goes into pursuing long distance relationships that are doomed to inevitable failure. But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.
  • Dewd from Ontario, OnThis song is good, i liek how you can someohw find a way to relate to it but yet it bugs me how the chorus just repeats "Ooh it's what you do to me" over and over again!!!! UGH!!! couldn't they have come up with something a little more creative?
  • Jo from Cleveland, OhI don't know who wrote "Hey There Delilah", but even if Plain White Tees didn't write it, they still managed to make it beautiful. Yes, the chords are simple and so are the lyrics, but that just adds to its charm. I don't think its about a pedophile; I don't know what the author intended. I just think the interpretation lies with the listener. Personally, I love this song.
  • Austin from Smallsville, NeTHis song is so comercialized. The lyrics are simple and very predictable. and they are just two chords in the whole thing. Just out of curiosty though, does anyone else think that it is kind of a rip of Good ridance by Green Day. Think about it.
  • Kendra from Dallas, TxWhen this song came out My husband was on his way to Iraq and we listened to it everyday, I listened to this song almost Everyday and it made me Cry but it also made me look forward to him coming home for good!! On his Rand R he came home for 2 weeks and we became pregnant..YAYYYY!! I'm having a girl and we are gonna name her Delilah.
  • Ching from Kolwoon, Hong Kongi am from Hong Kong and I like this song. English is not my first language,I like this song. Have a concert because of this song, we buy tickets because this song easy to understand for the ESL student all over the world. thank you.
  • Anna from Atlanta, Gathis song really doesn't show what they're all about. It's sad that it's famous without any of their other songs, but i still love it!!
  • Drake from Monroe, LaThe only song that can possibly me more obnoxious than this one is 'Roxanne' by the Police (by the way I like the Police). This song is just plain awful. It's poorly written and even more poorly sung. I cannot help bet laugh at the people who find that it 'reminds them of so-and-so'. Get a life or at least a better song.
  • Doris from Lynwood, CaThis song makes me cry everytime I hear it. . .it was the ringtone my 13 year old sister had when her bestfriend called her. .it makes me cry because her bestfriend was murdered about 3 months ago by her own dad . . . He killed her mom,too......so I really could care less who wrote it,the Plain White T's made the best of this song. . .and I'm not trying to argue with anyone,its just how I personaly feel and everyone should respect that. . . .everyones entitled to their opinion
  • Tony from Escondido, Cai agree with matt from cherry hill completely. the song sucks.and the plain white t's got popular from a song they didnt even write. and that makes it suck even more.
  • Delilah from Tupelo, MsActually, Haley from Manhatten, Higgenson DID NOT write this song.This is a common misconception, due largely to the fact that Tom is claiming he wrote it. Matt from Cherry Hill is the most intelligent person on here so far because he knows what he is talking about. Although I disagree about the song "sucking", he is correct in that NEITHER THE PLAIN WHITE T'S NOR ANYONE IN THAT BAND wrote the song "Hey There Delilah". They are peddling filthy, whorish lies!!!!
  • Chrissy from Lakeland, Flummm... Natasha.. to answer your question, this song actually did come out a while ago. i first came across it about a little over a year ago but idk how long its actually been out. : ]
  • Natasha from Bethany, OkIt says the release date is 2005 but I hear all over the radio now on all the top 40 stations everywhere I have been in the country the last 3 months(Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma). Was this released 2 years ago and it didn't get big or promoted til now?? anyone know the story behind that?
  • Secret from London, Englandthis song makes me feel so sad.I met a boy I fell in love with from a different continent but he didnt want to keep it going long-distance as he wanted us both to live our lives free.I still love him and talk to him all the time and I know he misses me too but theres nothing either of us can do,we plan on getting back together next summer,but weather that happens Im not sure.......
  • Shane from St. John's, United StatesI'm in a long distance semi-relationship. I say semi because we're not an item, but we could be except for distance. Anyways, this song is pretty good except it's hard to change the lyrics because Delilah is 3 syllables and _____ is only 2! but still love the song.
  • Haley from Manhattan, NyWtf.. this song is NOT about an child predator, Delilah is in her 20's..

    and Tom Higgenson WROTE it, so techincally it is by the Plain White T's, smart one.

    And it doesn't sound anything like Simon and Garfunkel..
  • Sean from Vero Beach, Flusually I would agree with the whole this is an overrated song thing, but I can relate to it, so that makes it special to me
  • Emma from Mississauga, Canadai think this is possibly the most overrated song on the radio today. i really wish they would stop playing it. its theoretically disinteresting and boring to listen to.
  • Megan from CalgaryOh, and Alex from New York- I have to disagree. "Hey There Delilah" really doesn't sound anything like "The Boxer" by Simon and Garfunkel.
  • Megan from CalgaryThis song is overrated, and not that great. I am tired of hearing it playing out of my sisters CD player. She should turn on some Simon and Garfunkel and see what REAL song writing is like.
  • Matt from Cherry Hill, Njthis song sucks. besides the plain white tees didnt even write it.
  • Joanna from Philadelphia, Pai heard on the radio that delilah was just a friend. sounds to me like he wanted her though. and wtf with the child predator stuff..she's in college in ny, he's far away trying to make it in music.
  • Tim from New York, NyI have to agree with Addy from Toledo, cause he´s a thousand miles away, but still she looks pretty? hes obviously looin at her myspace. and two more years shell be done with school, and hes already done?? uhh someone call "to catch a predator" lol
  • Sinyorita from Wb, IndiaI Am in long distant relationship....and though most of the time..it is just a thrilling experience..it has its dose of ups and downs..the major cause is the distance..
    we cant be the rest of the world..we cant do what the others similarly in love might do...
    its just painful and frustrating at times..
    My man couldn't contact me for a month!..
    one day i received a mail from him
    "plz..do download the song called "hey there delilah"...
    from plain white t's..
    belive me gall..you will be shocked.."
    i was realy taken aback..but i followed his orders..
    and i was spell bound..!!!!!!!!!!!!
    even though my parents sat beside me as i played the song...i never paid attention to what they said (of course they dont know abt him...)

    IT was as if the song was made perfectly for just the two of us...(now i am not sure about that after reading the comments..hehe)

    It was a perfect dedication...

  • Rob from Nashville, TnWhat a horrible waste of radio play,especially when My Morning Jacket and Umphrey's McGee are around.
  • Sam from Portsmouth, VaI think thee genius of Paul Simon would write something alot better than this!
  • Sarah from Chicago, IlI love this song, yet it makes me really sad at the same time. I am in a relationship right now with a boy that I met at my senior year of high school. We have been together for the summer but now we are both going away to college. Though our colleges are only like two hours away from each other I am still afraid because that is still a good distance when trying to balance our busy schedules at college. May not be a thousand miles but it sure is going to feel like it. :( I love him so much and just hope things work out between us.
  • Alex from New York, NyMy mom thinks this sounds like simon and garfunkle's The Boxer but i see only a slight insignificant similarity. What do you think?
  • Brandon from Rancho , CaThis song really breaks my heart because my attempt at a long distance relationship ended in February.

    We dated for 2 years, and although sometimes times were hard, overall it was some of the best times of my life.

    It really is affecting because all these promises he's making are so similar to what i was promising her.

    Amazing how fast life changes.
  • Anna from Paris, Txi love this song... while im not in a long distance relationship, this a real and true love song that alot of people can relate to... lol, and its fun to sing along with.... OHHH ITS WHAT YOU DO TO MEEEE....
  • Kimberly from Triiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii, WaThis song became mine and now my ex's song when we started dating. We met over the internet and were friends for a few months and he would call me just to talk. When we became boyfriend and girlfriend, it was the most amazing thing. I love this song and he did too. He lives two states away and we both dreamt of meeting. We talked about how his dream was to become a big star football player since he was pretty much the all star at his school and that once I got out of high school (in the two years I had left) we would somehow have a life with one another. In fact, his mother had two more kids, a boy and a girl and she named the girl Delilah. This became our song and he'd sing it to me when I felt lonely without him. I still dream of meeting him someday, but until then, all I have is the memory of him and this song.
  • Hunter from Marshamellow, Vathis song i pretty much how my love life is
  • Santsuko from Candy Land, AzI can't say too much about this song. But it's the kind that makes me lay on my bed and think about that person I wish was with me. And somewhere in the song I find my self almost alseep with a sad smile on my face. I do love this song and got the lyrics as soon as I could.
  • Sam from Portsmouth, VaOnly girls can like this song.
  • Gdsgrg from Lockport, NyI love this song!! i couldnt imagine this cuz im in love w/ this amazing guy he is the perfect boyfriend ever and we live 5 houses down from each other i couldnt imagine living a thousand miles away from him i love u <3bailey<3
  • Rhoda from Rice, AlI love this song. If my boyfriend ever sang a song like this to me, I would kill myself when he was done, because my life would never be any better than at that point in time.
  • John from Conover, NcThis song is so pathetic. He plays two chords, and recites a love poem. Do they play this live? If so, do the other band members just sit there?
  • Nicky from Rockaway, NjEverytime I hear this song I think of my boyfriend. We've only been together for six months but I've known him since we were younger. For thirteen years I livedd in the house around the corner from his so when we first started dating we saw each other all the time. Then, a couple months in I moved. We still see each other but it gets really hard knowing that he's not around the corner anymore. Lately I've been getting really depressed but whenever I hear this song it makes me smile :)
  • Allison from An Awesome City In, CoOMG! i love this song too! The first time i heard it i was like "oh my gosh! i love this song" and now i'm addicted to the radio and keep on trying to find the song again.
  • Allen from Jordan, Hong Kongmy girl is in new york city and i'm in the other side of the map... we even don't see the moon at the same time. It's freakin hard how life has been for me, for her for both of us. I am a frontman of a band in my hometown and even though i dont aim to make money outta our music i just want to create a name so that kids scribble our name on their desks..i love my girl very much and i know i wont be seeing her for another year.. actually it was 2 yrs but 1 yr just passed by... i'm miss her so much that sometimes i want to rip my heart out and lay numb.. this song is like a small vision of the life we are having.. i love it and she loves it aswell... i've promised her that i'll sing for her every full moon night and i'll definately sing my heart out on this one...i love my girl uti***
  • Roiben from New York, NyThis reminds me of me and my own long distance relationship. He lives in England and I live New York. And we aren't going to see each other for at least 5 years. Every time he writes me he starts the letters with "Hey There Delilah." Lol.
  • V from None Of Your Business, Gawow this song is amazing it gives me the chills lol
  • Theresa from Rochester, Nyoh my gosh i am in love with this song, its definetly on my top favorites!! i am soooo glad that i found it on here!!
  • Mj from Philly, Pawow what a wonderful, moving, inspiring song!! :O) This song brings forth such truth with my relationship! The words to this songs expresses both of our situation(s) and heart(s). I waited THREE long, lonely, tiring years to finally be with the one I love so dearly! It is rare that two people, meeting the very first time, end up being "soul mates" but for us atleast, it happened. We know it is fate that we be together forever... hand in hand, struggle through struggle, and with God, we will stand together, facing it all. Simply because we love each other dearly, and no one can take that away or match it with any amount of money. I thank God for this song! It truly served as a blessing for us both. GBU all! MJ <3
  • Hank from Pompano Beach, FlOk I'm listening to the words of this song and i'm freaking out, why? Because I'm 14 and inlove with a girl, and were seperated by distance (I live on the east side of florida, her on the west). And another thing is we have plans for the future, and i'm going to school to be a musician, guitarist, which i've been playing for 6 years. And It's just so unbelievable. But were sticking together til the end. I heard it on a radio in a shop, so I came home tonight and non stop looking it up on the internet til I found it. Every word of this song explains our unique, hard, worth it relationship. wow, get a load of that...all i have to do is change the word delila to oriana, which rhymes in the song too, wow to friging freaky!
  • Cassie from Overland Park, KsI love this song so much.
  • Ashley from Taylor, MiThis song was wrote to be a pick up line it never worked but they are still friends
  • Jessa from Pittsburgh, Pathis song is great i think it is about a long distance relationship but im reall not sure so im not gunna pick a fight ill just let every one else figure it out kk tootle loo...
  • Natalie from Chicago, IlI wish my best guy friend/would be boyfriend would write something this sweet for me! People think it's an Emo somg but I disagree.
  • Alejandro from Cozumel, MexicoTotally loved this song, yeah i'm in a long distance relationship so this song means a lot to us, it's funny how exactly in 2 years we will be able to see eachother, also all the plans we have thought of; how the song is so related to these kind of relationships.
    Love you with all my heart Julia~ <3

    yup, long distance sucks!
  • Bob from Hippy, CoI heard on the radio, The Plain White T's said this song is about a girl he's only seen a few times. Her name is Delilah, but she has a boyfriend who is not in the band. So this song is sort of the band's fantasy relationship.
  • Neha from Oakville, CanadaI love this song so much! It is so touching to hear how much the two love each other, despite the fact that they won't see each other for the next twp years, and how he wrote the song for her! how sweet!
  • David Humphreys from Worthing (near Brighton), EnglandI just love this song, was sent to me by a friend in America so has added meaning... It's not just about extreme long distance though and the aspect of looking towards the future is really sweet.
  • Sarah from Rocky Point, NyI love this song. It reminds me of these 2 guys from france that my best friend and I met on a cruise! we miss them so much and its like a song for us cuz we will be done wit HS in 2 years. OMG i really love this song!
  • Brittlynn from New Baltimore, MiThis song makes me cry. Long distance sucks.
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