In 1961, a songwriter named Ray Charles — not the famous Ray Charles, a different Ray Charles — wrote a kids’ novelty song called “Fifty Nifty United States” for the weekly variety show Perry Como’s Kraft Music Hall. The song includes the names of all 50 states, sort of tunelessly jammed together into alphabetical order. Apparently, some teachers use the song as a sort of mnemonic device. I’d never heard of the song before this morning. Taylor Swift knows it by heart.
Right now, Swift is appearing on The Voice, NBC’s hit singing-competition show, as something called a “Mega Mentor” — an extra coach for the show’s four also-famous coaches. She’s done this before; she was also a Mega Mentor on the show in 2014. But if you’ve watched The Voice, you know that the show’s emphasis is less on the actual singers competing on the show and more on the coaches gently clowning each other, sometimes during breaks in the tapings.
On last night’s episode, Swift, sitting with Blake Shelton, asked if he knew the song. He didn’t. So she sang the whole thing. All 50 states. You can watch her do it below.
— The Voice (@NBCTheVoice) October 29, 2019
Swift’s new album Lover is out now on TS/Republic, and all of its songs are better than “Fifty Nifty United States.”