Writer(s): Olivia Rodrigo, Dan Nigro (see lyrics here)
Released: January 8, 2021
First Charted: January 23, 2021
Peak: 18 US, 15 BA, 13 DG, 14 ST, 16 RR, 9 AC, 14 A40, 19 UK, 17 CN, 16 AU, 7 DF (Click for codes to charts.)
Sales (in millions): 6.0 US, 1.7 UK, 11.55 world (includes US + UK)
Airplay/Streaming (in millions): -- radio, 660.0 video, 1849.43 streaming
Click on award for more details.
About the Song:
Olivia Rodrigo was only 17 years old when she hit #1 with “Drivers License.” She had previously been known for roles on Disney Channel’s Bizaardvark and High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. The “atmospheric power ballad,” WK produced by Dan Nigro, was the lead single from her first album, Sour. Billboard magazine’s Gab Linsberg and Jason Lipshutz called it the kind of debut single “that aspiring artists dream of.” WK
The song mixes “bedroom pop, indie pop, and power pop” WK and is characterized by “a minimalist, piano-led production, incorporating kick drums, harmonies, syncopated hand-claps, and a dreamy bridge.” WK Rodrigo has said the song has Taylor Swift and Lorde influences. WK Rolling Stone’s Brittany Spanos echoed this, saying the production of the song “is reminiscent of Lorde’s Melodrama…while the lyrics and detailed storytelling channel Swift’s Fearless.” WK
She was inspired to write the song after breaking up with her boyfriend. They used to talk about how exciting it would be once she had her driver’s license and could drive to his home. Instead, she ended up driving aimlessly around the suburbs of Los Angeles listening to sad songs and longing for him. SF She said, “Putting all those feelings into a song made everything seem so much simpler and clearer – and at the end of the day, I think that’s the whole purpose of songwriting. There’s nothing like sitting at the piano in my bedroom and writing a really sad song. It’s truly my favorite thing in the world.” UR
On its fourth day of release, the song set a record on Spotify for the most single-day streams for a non-holiday song. It also had the biggest first week for a song on Spotify (65 million) SF as well as Amazon Music. The song debuted atop the Billboard Hot 100, making her the youngest artist to achieve that feat. The song’s eight weeks at the pinnacle made it the longest-running number-one debut single in the history of the chart. WK It also hit #1 in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.
First posted 10/26/2021; last updated 7/26/2023.