Aerosmith may be known as the “Bad Boys from Boston,” but the band’s biggest hit was inspired by a sappy story told by Barbra Streisand.
The group has had a slew of successful singles in their 48-year career, including classic rock radio staples like “Janie’s Got a Gun” and “Dream On.” However, the band’s only song to ever hit No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart is “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing,” the towering love ballad made famous in the 1998 film “Armageddon.”
According to a newly published interview on The Ringer with “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” songwriter Diane Warren, the tune was inspired by a 1997 “20/20” interview Streisand gave to Barbara Walters about her budding romance with her then-fiancé, actor James Brolin.
On “20/20,” Streisand described a romantic moment she had while spooning in bed with Brolin.
“We’re just about to fall asleep,” Streisand said. “And he says, ‘I don’t want to fall asleep.’ And so I say, ‘Why not?’ And he says, ”Cause then I’ll miss you.'”
Fans of “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” likely recognize traces of the chorus in that anecdote. The song goes, “Don’t want to close my eyes / I don’t want to fall asleep / ‘Cause I’d miss you, baby / And I don’t want to miss a thing.”
According to Warren, she wrote down the phrase “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” on a piece of paper as a potential song title while watching the interview.
“I love a good title,” Warren told The Ringer. “So I do that a lot.”
Warren also said that she had a female vocalist like Celine Dion in mind when writing the song, which features lyrics like, “I could stay awake just to hear you breathing / Watch you smile while you are sleeping / While you’re far away and dreaming.” But Warren said she later realized how compelling the song could be with a male performer.
“With that kind of lyric, I mean, for a guy to sing that song — especially a badass like Steven Tyler — it becomes a whole other thing,” Warren said. “It just makes it more compelling. That’s what women never usually hear their boyfriends or husbands saying, right? So, here you have this tough guy, Steven, singing that kind of lyric, whereas if you had a female vocalist … I don’t know, it’s not the same.”