(L) Mike Coppola / Getty Images, (R) Gilbert Carrasquillo / FilmMagic / Getty Images
The year was 1998.
They’d seen it all, done it all, and been around the world several times over – but for rock legends Aerosmith, there was still one thing they hadn’t conquered after 28 years together: scoring a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.
Sure, albums like 1975’s groundbreaking Toys in the Attic and the following year’s Rocks solidified Aerosmith’s spot in rock history as superstars, earning both critical acclaim and a devoted fan following, but it wasn’t until the soundtrack for the biggest blockbuster of 1998 put the band on a collision course with their goal.
As the story goes, Aerosmith was tapped to provide a power ballad as big as the film it was being made for – Michael Bay’s epic disaster film Armageddon, a project that found Steven Tyler’s daughter Liv in the first major starring role of her career. The band had just released Nine Lives and had devoted the majority of their time to promotion and touring in support of the album, finding themselves burned out when it came time to get into the studio and write for the Armageddon soundtrack.
Seeing their frustration and exhaustion, a label executive presented Aerosmith with a few “rough drafts” of songs that had been written by other songwriters, but there was one that stood out – “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” by critically acclaimed songwriter Diane Warren.
But it didn’t actually begin as a song – it began as a title, thanks to the one and only Barbra Streisand. Warren, a self-admitted “sucker for a good title,” was watching a 20/20 segment that featured Streisand gushing about her relationship with fiancé (and now husband of 20 years) James Brolin when she shared a sweet memory of her new love.
“And we’re just about to fall asleep, I thought. And he says, ‘I don’t want to fall asleep,'” Streisand said. “And so I say, ‘Why not?’ And he says, ”Cause then I’ll miss you.'”
Instinctively, Diane jotted down a few words – “I Don’t Want to Miss A Thing,” not knowing when she’d have the chance to use it but running with a gut feeling that it would take her somewhere big.
And take her somewhere big, it did.
Knowing that it had been earmarked for another singer, the label threw caution to the wind and wanting to hear it performed by a rock band, gave it to Aerosmith; they recorded a demo that both their label and the movie studio loved and just like that, Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” was born, debuting at the #1 spot on the Billboard Hot 100 on August 18th, 1998 where it stayed for four weeks solid. It even scored Diane her 4th of 9 Oscar nominations!
Here’s to 20 years of one of the biggest songs of the last two decades!