January 24 – A Tale Of Two Delilahs

Sometimes someone only barely peripherally involved in your life can turn it around. Such was the case of one Delilah DiCrescenzio on Tom Higgenson’s life, it would seem.

Higgenson was the leader of a struggling Chicago-area band who happened to see Delilah through a friend of a friend. “I thought she was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen, “ he recalled. “I told her ‘I have a song about you’.” He didn’t at the time, but he soon did. She was apparently not impressed enough to dump her boyfriend for him… but the situation worked out well for Higgenson nonetheless.

Higgenson’s band is the Plain White T’s, a band he formed in 1997 with a couple of high school friends. Higgenson was early on the driving force in the T’s, being their lead singer, guitarist , main writer and in time, keyboardist when required.

They signed to an indie label, Fearless, and put out their first album in 2000. a rather forgettable and almost unnoticed piece called Come on Over. However, on this day in 2005 the tide began to change a little for them with the release of their third album, All That We Needed, an album that drew decent reviews. Allmusic for instance, rated it 4-stars and referenced Tom Petty and Big Star in its review, noting they sounded like Jimmy Eats World wannabes less than in the past. That in itself might not have counted for much for the T’s were it not for that one song Tom wrote for Delilah, the last track on the record. “Hey There Delilah” was by most accounts, their best song by far to that point … and the one that got their career jump-started. It didn’t happen overnight however.

The song, and the album, did almost nothing in 2005. The one significant thing it did though was garner interest from Disney, of all people, who signed them onto their major-distribution Hollywood label. Their debut on that label, Every Second Counts came out the next year, with a remixed version of “Hey There Delilah” on it. Things took off of course; with the album hitting the top 10 at home and in Ireland and the single becoming omnipresent in 2007, hitting #1 in the U.S. and Canada and #2 in the UK. The song about the optimistic high schooler who was gonna win the girl and the good life with his guitar fit almost every contemporary radio format, it seemed, and went 4X platinum in the States – their biggest hit to date by a long stretch. So popular was it that the first album it showed up on, All that We Needed began to sell and eventually went gold for them despite never charting at all on Billboard.

The T’s carry on to this day, to less mainstream success. They had one more top 40 hit, “1,2,3,4” in 2008 and put out their eighth album in 2018, on the same Fearless label that they started out on. These days Higgenson says that writing is his favorite part of the whole musical experience and that their roots in Chicago kept them down to earth and made them who they are. Which would seem to be pretty good guys, at least in his case. He was in the news this month when he gave a surprise performance of the song to an eight year old girl name Delilah who was undergoing cancer treatment and happened to love the song.

As for Delilah of the song… well, she did attend the Grammys with Higgenson in 2008 (their song lost out to Amy Winehouse for Song of the Year, but she and he apparently don’t keep in touch. Drummer De-mar Hamilton says “She does like the song though!” Apparently millions of others do too!


8 thoughts on “January 24 – A Tale Of Two Delilahs

  1. I first came across these on a couple of A.M.P samplers I was sent @ 2004, I think. They were on one with Aquabats, Just Surrender and a few others that I thought were really a ‘match.’ The other they were on was with likes of Houston Calls – a much better fit. (Just realised that as a result of writing this, and trying to find these Samplers, My Houston Calls album has gone missing! Panic! – at home, not The Disco.)

    Plain White T’s must have also been on the Warped tour 2005 as they appear on my complilation of that too.
    (I though, years later that One Direction released a huge song that was very similar in the bridge / chorus to ‘Delilah.’
    Nobody else agreed. So just me, then. :-D)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Badfinger (Max)

    I don’t remember this one but it’s cool she went to the award show with him. Reminded me of the My Sharona story except it won her over at least for a while.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It may be a bit corny, but I do like that song, “Delilah”. I also like that it helped raise the profile of Plain White T’s and, as is safe to assume, pay for some bills. But the best part of your post is what Tom Higgenson did to eight-year-old Delilah. Obviously, he’s not the first music artist to surprise a person in distress, but I feel this case was particularly touching!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ditto. I liked the song well enough, it was better than a lot of the other top 40 schlock I heard in the mid-00s, but I was really touched by Higgenson doing that for the little girl. That was great.

      Liked by 2 people

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