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Written by Diane Warren, the song debuted at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100, giving the band their first and only number-one single there. The song stayed at number one for four weeks, from September 5 to September 26, 1998. The song also stayed at number one for several weeks in several other countries, including Australia, Ireland and Norway. It sold over a million copies in the United Kingdom and reached number four on the UK Singles Chart. The song was also covered by American country music singer Mark Chesnutt for his album of the same name. In early 1999, his version was a top-twenty hit on the Billboard Hot 100 while also topping the BillboardHot Country Songs charts.
In 1997, Diane Warren was watching Barbara Walters interview James Brolin and Barbra Streisand. Brolin said he missed Streisand when they were asleep, and Warren wrote down the words "I don't want to miss a thing", before there was even a song.
"When I first heard it," recalled drummer Joey Kramer, "it was just a demo with piano and singing. It was difficult to imagine what kind of touch Aerosmith could put on it and make it our own... As soon as we began playing it as a band, then it instantly became an Aerosmith song."
This song was Aerosmith's biggest hit, debuting at number one on the US Billboard Hot 100, where it stayed for four weeks in September, and reaching number one around the world, including Australia, the Philippines, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Austria, Norway, Italy, the Netherlands, and Switzerland.
The song helped introduce Aerosmith to a new generation and remains a slow dance staple.
It was one of many songs written by Warren in that period. The original version was a collaboration between Chicago musician Phil Kosch of Treaty of Paris and Super Happy Fun Club, and nephew of chart topping writer Lou Bega. Bega introduced the two and they penned the initial track, but ultimately Kosch was uncredited.
The song appeared on the Argentine version and a European re-released version of the album Nine Lives. It also appeared on the Japanese version of Just Push Play.
CD single 2
"I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" (Pop Mix) - 5:03
"Pink" (live) - 3:48
"Crash" - 4:30
"Crash" and the original "Pink" appeared as tracks 9 and 11, respectively, on all versions of Nine Lives.
CD single 3
"I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" - 4:57
"I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" (Rock Mix) - 4:30
"Crash" - 4:30
"Animal Crackers" - 2:35
The music video for this song was shot at the Minneapolis Armory on November 4, 1998, and was directed by Francis Lawrence. It features the band playing the song intertwined with scenes from the film Armageddon. It features an appearance by Steven Tyler's daughter Liv, who plays Grace Stamper in the film. Steven Tyler injured his knee the day before the shoot, so they used many close-up shots due to his limited movement.
The video begins with shots of the moon in orbit and several asteroids passing by safely and then a view of Earth before zooming in to show Steven Tyler singing. The shots interchange between the band and Mission Control viewing the band singing via their monitors. As the video progresses it reveals that the band is playing in front of what appears to be the fictional Space ShuttleFreedom. Along with Aerosmith, a full hand orchestra plays in sync with the melody. Then smoke surrounds the orchestra and the members of Aerosmith as Freedom takes off from the launch pad. Finally, the screen goes out as a tearful Grace touches one of the monitors to reach out to her father (real life father Steven Tyler in the video; on-screen father Harry Stamper, played by Bruce Willis, in the film).
Chesnutt chose to cover the song through the suggestion of his record producer Mark Wright, who had heard the Aerosmith version on his car radio. According to Wright, he and Chesnutt only listened to Aerosmith's rendition twice before recording, in order to allow Chesnutt to come up with a rendition that was "his". Because the two thought that his version had potential as a single, his label Decca Records withdrew his then-current single "Wherever You Are" in late 1998 and began promotion of "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" instead. Chesnutt also said that he chose to do the song because he thought that it would help revive his then-flagging album sales and chart performance. Despite showing favor toward the cover at the time, Chesnutt remarked in 2016 that he "didn't want to cut it" and that, even though his version topped the country music charts and was successful on radio, sales were poor for both the single and the corresponding album. He also noted that soon afterward, he exited his label after refusing their offer to cover another pop song.