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#FlashbackFriday: The Plain White T's Reveal the Real Story Behind "Hey There Delilah"

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"Hey there Delilah, what's it like in New York City?"

It's a lyric that, unless you were living under a rock circa 2007, instantly conjures up feelings of nostalgia. And even though the Plain White T's have churned out three albums since its release, including their long-awaited seventh—and decidedly more indie-sounding—full-length American Nights (out now), it seems to be the one that sticks, for better or worse.

"We always wrote acoustic songs, but that one just happened to really catch on," front man Tom Higgenson (pictured, third from left) told InStyle at our N.Y.C. office, after playing a sold-out show at Gramercy Theatre. As an April Fool's gag, the band decided to open (as opposed to close out) the show with their Grammy-nominated hit single.

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So, in the spirit of new records and new beginnings, we had to ask: What's the deal with Delilah? "When we first met, she had a boyfriend," Higgenson said of the song's subject, who, at the time, was a track star at Columbia University. "We kept in touch every once in a while, and then the song blew up. Before I even wrote it, I joked with her that she was going to be my date to the Grammys, and when we got nominated, I had just broken up with my girlfriend at the time, and I was like, 'I gotta call Delilah and ask her—this is the self-fulfilling prophecy of the song.' So I called her, and she agreed to come."

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But, according to the band, what ensued was decidedly more awkward than the cameras let on. "By the time the awards actually came around, I was back with my girlfriend, and she was back with her boyfriend, and we just all awkwardly went to the show," Higgenson added. "It was super uncomfortable. When anyone asked her what it was like to be there, she’d talk about her boyfriend—she kept saying everything was 'neat.'" He pauses to collect his thoughts. "Truth be told, it's probably a good thing it never worked out with us. She can just keep running, as far as I’m concerned."

Guess she didn't do that much to him after all.

Watch the music video for the band's new single “Pause” below, and purchase American Nights for $10 on the iTunes Store.

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