Taylor is truly a global superstar, with all of her albums being certified Platinum (or Multi-Platinum) by the RIAA for selling at least a million copies, and her 2008 album Fearless being certified Diamond for selling over 10 million copies.
But back in 2006, Taylor Swift was just an up-and-coming country artist celebrating her first gold record with her self-titled debut album.
And when she finally got that first gold record, she gave it to Eric Church.
Now, Taylor Swift and Eric Church might seem like polar opposites. But that’s exactly why Taylor was tapped to replace Church when he was unceremoniously kicked off the Me and My Gang Tour with Rascal Flatts in 2006.
According to Church, the combination of him and Flatts was a marriage that was doomed to fail from the start:
“Horrible match. Horrible combination.
We didn’t do things exactly like we were supposed to. We played too long, we were a little loud, we were a little rowdy…lot of rules, lot of rules.
And I broke ’em. All of ’em. And got fired from the tour at Madison Square Garden.”
Now, Rascal Flatts apparently remembers the situation a little differently, with former lead singer Gary LeVox responding to Church:
“It wasn’t that you were too loud or too rowdy. You just played too long.”
But either way, Church was off the tour.
And that opened up a spot for a young up-and-coming artist named Taylor Swift to take his place.
According to Church, he was happy for Taylor for getting the opportunity on the tour. And Taylor called up Eric to make sure things were ok between them after she took his spot:
“Taylor called, because she’s great, and said, ‘Hey, I don’t want there to be any bad blood here between us, hope everything’s good.'”
(“Bad Blood?” I see what you did there Chief).
“I said ‘No, it’s great, everything’s good. They’re going to love you. And I said, ‘Only request I have is your first gold album, I want it.’
And about nine days later she walked up on a bus somewhere and had a gold album, and it said, ‘To Eric, Thanks for playing too loud and too long on the Flatts tour, I sincerely appreciate it. – Taylor Swift’
Still have it. It’s in the Country Music Hall of Fame now, but one of the little tidbits of country music history.”
That gold record was presented to Taylor for selling 500,000 copies of her self-titled debut album Taylor Swift, which featured songs like “Tim McGraw,” “Picture To Burn,” “Teardrops On My Guitar,” and “Our Song.” The album has since been certified 7x Platinum for selling over 7 million copies.
But that first gold record, for the first half million albums that Taylor ever sold, is hanging in the Country Music Hall of Fame – after Taylor gave it to Eric Church.