The New Issue: Taylor Swift's Secrets of a Good Girl

February 18, 2009 8:45 AM ET

The world's biggest new pop star is a little bit country, a little bit rock & roll, and all control freak. What's behind Taylor Swift's drive for success? Vanessa Grigoriadis hangs out with the Grammy-nominated, chart-topping 19-year-old superstar for Rolling Stone's new cover story to talk awkward middle-school memories, how Joe Jonas broke her heart, and how Swift transformed herself from a hard-working kid growing up in Pennsylvania into Nashville's favorite adopted daughter.

Grab the new issue today for the full story, and check out our first-ever story on Taylor, Country Lolita, right away. Plus, get a look at photos from the Rolling Stone cover shoot by Peggy Sirota in our Taylor Swift cover shoot gallery. And come back later this week for even more Swift — including photos from her family album, a gallery tracking her rise from hopeful to headliner, an exclusive Q&A you won't see in the magazine and video of Swift getting a first look at her first RS cover.

And don't miss The Story Behind the Taylor Swift Cover Story, where Grigoriadis opens up about her time with the teen sensation. Grigoriadis, who tailed Taylor everywhere from the set of CSI, where she was filming a guest appearance, to Faith Hill and Tim McGraw's L.A. mansion to her Nashville home, where an afternoon snack of cookies and milk turns into a near disaster. So is Swift the good girl she claims to be? Grigoriadis says yes: "She really is that girl in the tiny little bedroom at home writing songs about the things she hopes and dreams and feels."

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

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Song Stories

“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

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