“The Last Great American Dynasty” by Taylor Swift

Taylor Swift’s “The Last Great American Dynasty”, was inspired by an American historical figure. And the person in question is the one and only Rebekah Harkness (who was popularly called Betty Harkness). And in this song, Swift actually tells the tale of Betty Harkness.

In educating listeners about Harkness’ life, Swift indirectly juxtaposes the iconic woman’s life with hers. For example, she compares her famous annual celebrity-studded Fourth of July parties to the parties held by Harkness herself in her days.

In the chorus, she also talks about the severe criticisms that Harkness had to deal with during her time. These criticisms (which were inspired by Harkness’ “wild life’) mainly came from the tabloids. And anyone who knows Swift also knows how much criticisms she herself has had to put up with throughout her career.

“There goes the last great American dynasty
Who knows, if she never showed up, what could’ve been”

In all, this song can be best described as a mini biography of Rebekah Harkness. A biography narrated from the standpoint of a true fan who can relate with her.

Who is Rebekah Harkness?

She was a socialite, heiress and dance patron from America. She is best remembered for founding the now defunct New York ballet company called the Harkness Ballet. Having inherited her second husband’s fortune in the mid 1950s, she became one of the richest women in her country.

Taylor Swift buys Rebekah Harkness’ House

In 2013, Swift actually purchased a house belonging to Harkness. Said house (“Holiday House”) is located in the affluent village of Watch Hill in the town of Westerly, Rhode Island. Swift reportedly paid for the mansion in cash.

Facts about “The Last Great American Dynasty”

Taylor and American musician Aaron Dessner wrote this song together. The production was also done by Aaron.

This is the third song on the track listing of Taylor’s critically acclaimed “Folklore” album. “Folklore” (which is her eighth studio project) spawned three singles, including “Cardigan“.

Both this song and its album were released on the same day (July 24th, 2020).

Interesting to note is that it is one of the most-liked songs on the album. And this is despite it not being a single. Other renowned non-single tracks from the album include the following:

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