The Story of... 'I Don't Want to Miss a Thing' by Aerosmith

31 March 2021, 18:12

The Story of... 'I Don't Want to Miss a Thing' by Aerosmith
The Story of... 'I Don't Want to Miss a Thing' by Aerosmith. Picture: Columbia/Buena Vista Pictures

By Tom Eames

Aerosmith's 'I Don't Want to Miss a Thing' was an unexpected comeback from a veteran rock band, and it was one of the greatest power ballads of all time.

But who was meant to record it first? Which pop legend's marriage inspired the song?

Find out all you need to know about Aerosmith's 1998 classic from Armageddon here...

  1. Who wrote 'I Don't Want to Miss a Thing' and what inspired it?

    Diane Warren with Aerosmith's Steven Tyler in 2016
    Diane Warren with Aerosmith's Steven Tyler in 2016. Picture: Getty
    • Diane Warren wrote the song, which is about treasuring every moment spent with another person.

    • Warren was also behind huge songs such as 'Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now' by Starship, 'If I Could Turn Back Time' by Cher, 'Because You Loved Me' by Celine Dion, and 'How Do I Live' by Leann Rimes.
    Barbra Streisand and Josh Brolin in 2019
    Barbra Streisand and Josh Brolin in 2019. Picture: Getty

    • Warren found inspiration after hearing about an interview where actor James Brolin said that when his wife Barbra Streisand was away, he missed her even when he was sleeping.

    • When tasked with writing a song for Armageddon, she figured it was a perfect sentiment, since the film dealt with the impending destruction of Earth.

    Warren said: "Some of the lyrics, like 'I can stay awake just to hear you breathing,' I'd be like, 'No, don't do that. Don't watch me breathe. I won't be able to sleep. Go do something else.' It's so funny, because part of me would never want someone to say that to me, but then again, I write it."

  2. What movie was it used in?

    Armageddon trailer (1998)

    • The song was written for the 1998 disaster movie Armageddon starring Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler.

    • U2 were apparently in line to record the song, but once Liv Tyler was cast, her father Steven Tyler's band Aerosmith were chosen instead.

    Read more: Steven Tyler joins shocked street busker singing his song 'I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing’

    • The movie became the highest-grossing film of 1998 worldwide.

    • Celine Dion was also considered, with Warren later saying: "I remember being at the Sunset Marquis Hotel, and sitting at the piano with [Tyler] and teaching him the song and just having chills all over my body as I heard the song come to life with his voice and knowing what it was going to be. It was an amazing experience. I'd written with Aerosmith before, and they'd never done the songs we wrote."
  3. What happens in the music video?

    Aerosmith - I Don't Want to Miss a Thing (Official HD Video)

    • It was shot at the Minneapolis Armory in 1998, and was directed by Francis Lawrence. It sees the band playing the song along with scenes from the film. Steven Tyler injured his knee the day before, so they used a lot of close-ups as his movement was limited.

    • At the end of the video, the screen goes out as a tearful Grace (Liv Tyler) touches one of the monitors to reach out to her father (real life father Steven in the video; on-screen father Harry, played by Bruce Willis, in the film).
  4. How did it perform in the charts?

    Aerosmith - I Don't Want to Miss a Thing
    Aerosmith - I Don't Want to Miss a Thing. Picture: Columbia/Epic
    • Aerosmith had been around since the 1970s, but this was by far their biggest hit and gave them a huge comeback.

    • It was also their only number one in the US, staying on top for four weeks. It has also sold over a million copies in the UK, peaking at four.

    • Aerosmith didn't care that their biggest hit was written by somebody else. Joe Perry said: "At the time, we just didn't have the time to settle down and do it. We were out on the road, so they brought us in to see the movie and said 'here's the song, this is where it fits into the movie, you can do it if you want.'

      So we were in the studio within the next three days cutting it. And yeah, we do wish that we'd had a little more time, so that we could have had a shot at writing it, but it was perfect timing. The song was great, people loved it, and I don't think people care that much who wrote it."