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Story of Song

Lorde told VHI News that her inspiration for the song came from a picture in National Geographic. She said: “I had this image from the National Geographic of this dude just signing baseballs.  He was a baseball player and his shirt said, ‘Royals’.” This picture of the man in the baseball shirt influenced Lorde so much that she wrote the entire song around that idea.  She said “It was just that word.  It’s really cool.” Lorde has always had an interest in royalty her whole life. She told the news segment that “Obviously I’ve had this fascination with aristocracy my whole life. Like, the kings and queens of 500 years ago…they’re like rock stars. If there was a TMZ 500 years ago, it would be about like Henry VII and Marie Antoinette and all those people.” Lorde wrote the entire song in thirty minutes and recorded it during her lunch break from school. She told the NZ Listener that: “When I wrote ‘Royals’, I was listening to a lot of rap, but also a lot of Lana Del Rey, because she’s obviously really hip-hop influenced, but all those references to expensive alcohol, beautiful clothes and beautiful cars — I was thinking, ‘This is so opulent, but it’s also bulls…t’.”  Lorde told that she also came up with one of the lines from the song when she was 11 or 12 by writing in her diary: “We’re driving Cadillacs in our dreams.”

Release date

June 3, 2013


Lorde – Joel Little


Lava – Republic – Universal – Virgin

Chart Rankings

“Royals” was listed as one of the best songs of 2013 by many publications, including Rolling Stone, Time, and Spin, and won various awards including Grammy Award for Song of the Year, Best Pop Solo Performance, and the APRA Silver Scroll Award. The song debuted at number one on the UK Singles Chart, causing Lorde to become the youngest solo artist to land a number one single since 1998. The song stayed at number one in the US for nine weeks on the Billboard Top 100 Chart, becoming the first solo act from New Zealand to enter the Hot 100, and making her the youngest artist to get a number one single since 1987 and Tiffany (who was also 16). “Royals” stayed in the top ten for 23 consecutive weeks and the song holds the longest record for a woman on top of the Billboard Alternatives Songs chart, with Lorde becoming the first female solo artist to top the Billboard Alternatives Songs chart since 1996. The song debuted at number one on the New Zealand Top 40 and stayed at that spot for three weeks. Besides the UK, US, and New Zealand, “Royals” reached number one in Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Europe, Ireland, Italy, Scotland, and Venezuela, and hit the top ten in Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Brazil, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal Digital Songs, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and various US Billboard Charts.  The song was certified 7x Platinum in the United States, 6x Platinum in Canada and New Zealand, 2x Platinum in Italy and Sweden, Platinum in the United Kingdom and Venezuela, and Gold in Belgium, Germany, and Switzerland. “Royals” earned Platinum status for Streaming in Denmark.

Artist’s age on release date

Lorde was 16 when “Royals” was released

Cover Versions

Bruce Springsteen opened his Auckland concert with “Royals”, and Jason Derulo covered the song, as well as the Florida State University all girls a capella group, Acabelles, causing it to go viral in a matter of weeks, being featured on Good Morning America, CNN, and others, receiving over 5 million views on YouTube, and even having Lorde herself mention it on her Twitter account. Canadian indie rock band Walk off the Earth covered the song in a video on their YouTube channel, in addition to US girl band Cimorelli on their YouTube channel. The song has also been covered by Pentatonix; British girl group Mutya Keisha Siobhan; Closer to Closure; American band Paper Route; Postmodern Jukebox; Mayer Hawthorne; the Rekkids; Death By Bacon; and hundreds of lesser know artists.

Added by Slate

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