Taylor Swift Performs 'On A Complete Whim' To Honor Jimmy Fallon's Late Mother

"You squeeze my hand three times in the back of the taxi."

Last night, Jimmy Fallon returned to The Tonight Show for the first time since his mother, Gloria, passed away

"She was the best audience. She was the one I was always trying to make laugh," Fallon said in a tribute during the show. 

Fallon then goes on to share a story from his childhood: 

"When we were little, my mom would walk us to the store — me and my sister — and we would hold hands. And she would squeeze my hand three times and say, 'I love you.' And I would squeeze back, 'I love you, too,' " he said. "Last week, I was in the hospital, and I grabbed her hand and squeezed, 'I love you.' And I just knew we were in trouble ... Mom, I'll never stop trying to make you laugh. I love you," he concluded, squeezing his hand three times.


Afterward, Taylor Swift showed up to surprise the audience with a performance of her track, "New Year's Day," from her new album, Reputation. Swift's song was particularly moving considering its line: "You squeeze my hand three times in the back of the taxi," and those lyrics that remind us to hold on to our memories. 

The show's producer, Mike DiCenzo, took to Twitter to share some important notes about the performance: 

"First, a quick word about Taylor Swift. She was not scheduled to do our show today. But we wanted something special for this first show back, so we asked her on a complete whim, since she had been in town doing  SNL. She said yes with zero hesitation," he said. "She sang 'New Year's Day.' No one had heard it. Suddenly she sings the line, 'Squeeze my hand 3 times in the back of the taxi.' I nearly gasped. Tears. I think everyone in the audience started sobbing ... I could see Jimmy silhouetted at his desk dabbing his eyes with a tissue. We all lost it. It was a beautiful coincidence in a beautiful performance. 'Hold on to your memories, they will hold on to you,' Taylor sang."

DiCenzo adds that the hug between Fallon and Swift at the end of the performance was "100 percent real emotion." 

Check out the beautiful performance below as well as Fallon's tribute to his mother:


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