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Diane Warren Recalls Writing 'Say Don't Go' with Taylor Swift 10 Years Ago: 'It Was Worth the Wait'

"I was curious what they would do with the record," said Warren of the song, which appears on Swift's new re-recorded album, '1989 (Taylor's Version)'

Upon cowriting "Say Don't Go" a decade ago, Diane Warren felt the song was destined to be a hit for Taylor Swift.

The "Karma" singer released 1989 (Taylor's Version) on Friday, and the project contains five "From the Vault" tracks including "Say Don't Go," which the pop superstar cowrote with Warren — who's penned classics like Aerosmith's "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" and Cher's "If I Could Turn Back Time."

In a new interview with Rolling Stone, Warren, 67, opened up about branching out of her usual solo writing style to sit down with Swift, 33, and craft the breakup ballad "from scratch."

Related: Taylor Swift Shines on Twinkly, Dreamy 1989 (Taylor's Version): Breaking Down the 5 New Vault Tracks

<p>Amy Sussman/Getty, Emma McIntyre/Getty</p> Taylor Swift in September 2022; Diane Warren in March 2022

Amy Sussman/Getty, Emma McIntyre/Getty

Taylor Swift in September 2022; Diane Warren in March 2022

At the time, she wondered why "Say Don't Go" wasn't featured on the original 1989 track list. "Everything has its time, you know? It took a while to see the light of day, but I’m glad it finally did," said Warren. "It was worth the wait."

The songwriter recalled Swift being "very particular about how she said certain things" while working on the lyrics, thinking about her listeners every step of the way: "She’s deeply aware of how her fans want to hear something. I can’t explain it, but that’s probably why she’s the biggest f---ing star in the world."

The song's lyrics find Swift looking to a doomed relationship and hoping it doesn't end. "Why'd you have to lead me on? / Why’d you have to twist the knife? / Walk away and leave me bleedin’, bleedin'? / Why’d you whisper in the dark? / Just to leave me in the night? / Now your silence has me screamin', screamin' / Say, 'Don't go,'" she sings on its refrain.

Related: Taylor Swift Says Re-Recording 'Bad Blood' Remix with Kendrick Lamar Felt 'Surreal and Bewildering'

<p>John Shearer/Getty</p> Taylor Swift performs in Arizona in March 2023

John Shearer/Getty

Taylor Swift performs in Arizona in March 2023

"Say Don't Go" was written toward the end of 2013, and Swift recorded a demo of the song on New Year's Day 2014 alongside Warren in the studio. Many people wouldn't want to work on a holiday, but the "Lavender Haze" performer was committed to the song.

"I’m a workaholic, and that’s fine for me," Warren told RS. "But I remember being impressed that she did, too. Everybody’s on vacation, but she showed up."

As with most songwriting sessions, Warren walked away unsure if the song would see the light of day. "I was curious what they would do with the record," she said, later noting that she was informed of its release on Thursday evening and went outside to give the track — coproduced by Swift and Jack Antonoff — a listen.

Related: Taylor Swift Addresses 'Squad' and Sexuality Rumors in '1989 (Taylor's Version)' Liner Notes

Mike Coppola/Getty Diane Warren in New York City in December 2022
Mike Coppola/Getty Diane Warren in New York City in December 2022

"I said, ‘Oh my God, this is f---ing awesome,'" said Warren. "It was such a surprise to me that the record version was as good as it was. You know what? I hope they release this as a single because I think it’s a f---ing hit."

1989 (Taylor’s Version) marks the fourth re-recording from Swift, coming several months after she dropped Speak Now (Taylor’s Version) in July and following the 2021 re-releases of Fearless and Red.

Swift posted to Instagram to celebrate the release, opening up about how much the album and revisiting it means to her in the caption. 

<p>Kevin Winter/TAS23/Getty</p> Taylor Swift performs in Los Angeles in August 2023

Kevin Winter/TAS23/Getty

Taylor Swift performs in Los Angeles in August 2023

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"I was born in 1989, reinvented for the first time in 2014, and a part of me was reclaimed in 2023 with the re-release of this album I love so dearly. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine the magic would you sprinkle on my life for so long," the "Karma" singer wrote.

"This moment is a reflection of the woods we've wandered through and all this love between us still glowing in the darkest dark," added Swift. "I present to you, with gratitude and wild wonder, my version of 1989. It's been waiting for you."

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