Song From Taylor Swift's New Album is About a 'Misfit Widow' From St. Louis

She's known for writing songs about her past relationships, but this time the American Music Awards "artist of the decade" chose someone else's story to sing about.

July 24, 2020
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ST. LOUIS (NOW) - The first line of Taylor Swift's new song titled "The Last Great American Dynasty," goes like this

"Rebekah rode up on the afternoon train, it was sunny
Her saltbox house on the coast took her mind off St. Louis"

The song is about Rebekah West Harkness, also known as Betty Harkness, and it's featured on her new album "Folklore," which was just released on Thursday night. 

Harkness went to John Burroughs School in St. Louis, was an accomplished dancer who started her own ballet company and once owned a mansion in Rhode Island that Swift purchased in 2013 for about $17 million. Harkness married William Hale Harkness – her second of four marriages – whose family founded the Standard Oil company.

Swift's new song goes:

"Bill was the heir to the Standard Oil name and money, and the town said, ‘How did a middle-class divorcée do it?'
They picked out a home and called it Holiday House, their parties were tasteful if a little loud
The doctor had told him to settle down, it must have been her fault his heart gave out."

The song really digs into some of Harkness’s antics, including how she "filled the pool with champagne," the time she was in a feud with a neighbor and decided to dye his dog "key lime green," and once played cards with the Spanish artist Salvador Dali.

As the song states: 

"Filled the pool with champagne and swam with the big names
And blew through the money on the boys and the ballet
And losing on card game bets with Dalí

...

And in a feud with her neighbor
She stole his dog and dyed it key lime green"

In the song, Swift calls Harkness "the maddest woman this town has ever seen."

Swift explained in an Instagram post why she wrote the song.

"I found myself not only writing my own stories, but also writing about or from the perspective of people I’ve never met, people I’ve known, or those I wish I hadn’t," Swfit stated this song, in particular, is about "a misfit widow getting gleeful revenge on the town that cast her out."

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