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Taylor Swift at the CMT Music Awards on April 10, 2006.
John Shearer—WireImage/Getty Images

It’s been nine whole years since Taylor Swift released her very first single on June 19, 2006, which was many, many cat photos ago.

Princess dresses, curls taken out of the pages of a fairytale, Nashville hospitality that gracefully closed the distance between Swift and her Swifties: She made her industry entrance singing about a boy who compared her blue eyes to Georgia stars in “Tim McGraw.” And that entrance was just the beginning of a career built on the foundation of fans who saw her as the star-next-door, like a girl you’d want your brother to date, or even your best friend.

While some of the above isn’t true for the world/Instagram-ruling pop star anymore – those curls, like the high school romance that allegedly inspired “Tim McGraw,” just couldn’t last – we’ll never forget the country gal we fell for. (See, the message in “Tim McGraw” totally applies here.)

“Tim McGraw” peaked at No. 40 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 6 on the Hot Country Songs – just the beginning of Swift’s long and loving relationship with the top of the charts.

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