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Sunday, September 07, 2014

I Don't Want To Miss a Thing

It's another fantastic Sunday morning, and I hope you're looking forward to another edition of the Sunday Jukebox this week.  I think I've chosen a song that most of you will like, and I definitely have an interesting spin on today's topic.

Now as you know, this year I've decided to make every Sunday Jukebox spotlight a #1 hit from the Billboard music charts.  And, each week, I've featured at least one #1 hit from either the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990, and even from the 2000s.

Many of the artists that I have featured on this blog entry have had several #1 hit singles, such as Michael Jackson and Katy Perry.  After all, both artists had well over five #1 singles alone from the same album (for "Thriller" and "Teenage Dream" respectively).  Some have been one-hit-wonders.

Regardless of which, many of the artists that I have featured in this blog thus far haven't had to wait too long to achieve their very first #1 hit single.  Take last week's Sunday Jukebox artist, Little Eva.  Her debut single, "The Loco-Motion" became a #1 hit for a week.  Mind you, it was her only #1 hit, but still, it was the first release that she ever did.  That's a big deal.  Why, compare her to say, Madonna.  It took her six singles before she scored her virgin #1 hit in December 1984 with "Like a Virgin".

And some artists had to wait even longer than that to have a #1 single.  For Prince, it took six years before he hit #1 with 1984's "When Doves Cry".  For Bryan Adams, it took one year longer for him to achieve a #1 single with "Heaven" from 1985.  And for Michael Bolton, it took practically fourteen years since he released his first single for him to achieve his very first #1 song, "How Am I Supposed To Live Without You?".

So, as you can see, some artists had to wait quite a while to taste the sweetness of success on the top of the charts.  And the group that I will be featuring in this blog entry had to wait even longer than any of the artists that I previously named in this entry so far.

It's not like they never tried to get to the top of the charts.  After all, this band first formed in 1970 in Boston, Massachusetts, and are still going strong after nearly 45 years together.  But when it came to releasing songs, it took them forever to score a #1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.

Mind you, they came quite close on several occasions.  The first time was in 1976, when a re-issue of their classic rock single "Dream On" peaked at #6.  Twelve years later, in 1988, the band's rock ballad "Angel" managed to do even better, making the #3 spot.  "Love in an Elevator" became a Top 5 hit in 1989, and a few months later, "Janie's Got a Gun" did one spot better.

But would you believe that it would take the band a total of TWENTY-EIGHT YEARS before they would secure their very first (and as of 2014, only) #1 Billboard Hot 100 hit?  That's a really insane amount of time to wait!  I mean, certainly the band hit #1 several times on the United States Rock Charts, but the Billboard charts were a huge deal.

I guess you could say that fate certainly played a hand in this band's #1 single.  Selected as a song for the movie soundtrack for a summer blockbuster certainly helped with the song's promotion - and the fact that one of the stars of the movie was the daughter of one of the band members probably helped the song get selected for the soundtrack in the first place.

ARTIST:  Aerosmith
SONG:  I Don't Want to Miss a Thing
ALBUM:  Armageddon:  The Album
DATE RELEASED:  August 18, 1998

Wow...not only was this Aerosmith's first #1 hit, but it stayed on the top of the charts for practically the whole month of September 1998.  Not bad, eh?  This was the #1 song sixteen years ago this week, and it certainly was a very powerful song.  I certainly remember beginning my twelfth grade year and hearing this song on the radio being played multiple times.

But then again, the song was written by established songwriter Diane Warren, who is no stranger to creating beautiful music.  She's written songs for Michael Bolton, Gloria Estefan, Celine Dion, Belinda Carlisle, *NSYNC, Olivia Newton-John, Whitney Houston, En Vogue, Laura Branigan, Taylor Dayne, Sheena Easton, and Cher!  Certainly this is one artist who definitely knows her way around a sheet of music.

And of course, you all know the guys who became Aerosmith (the band members, of course, being Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Tom Hamilton, Joey Kramer, and Brad Whitford (not to be confused with actor Bradley Whitford).

Together, the combination of Diane Warren and Aerosmith blended together quite nicely.  Not only did the song spend four weeks at #1, but it sold well over one million copies in both CD and cassette single format (yes, Virginia, they still sold cassettes in 1998).  It went on to become the 17th best-selling single of 1998.

Of course, part of the reason why the single did so well was due to the phenomenal success of the movie that featured this song on its soundtrack. 

On July 1, 1998, the film "Armageddon" was released in theatres, and it was a film that depicted a group of blue-collar drillers who were recruited by NASA to save the world.  After getting a warning sign from pieces of an asteroid raining down over Manhattan, NASA has discovered that the worst is yet to come.  If they don't come up with a way to destroy the gigantic asteroid from striking the Earth's surface, the results could cause another extinction event similar to the one that wiped out the dinosaur population some sixty-five million years ago.

The movie also deals with a few side plots as well.  After all, two of the men recruited to destroy the asteroid are Harry Stamper and A.J. Frost (played by Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck respectively), who are at odds because of the fact that A.J. is dating Harry's daughter, Grace (Liv Tyler), and Harry is not happy about this at all.  It goes without saying that by the end of the movie, both men develop a bit of an understanding towards each other, and one of the men makes the ultimate sacrifice to ensure that the world continues to keep spinning.

Of course, you probably realize one of the reasons why Aerosmith was so keen to contribute to the song's soundtrack.  After all, Liv Tyler is the daughter of lead singer Steven Tyler.

Liv Tyler even appears in the music video for the song "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing", which was directed by Francis Lawrence and was filmed entirely at the Minneapolis Armory.

Now, the music video did air in the way that the director intended it to be aired.  However, one thing did have to be altered due to a real-life event.  Have you ever wondered why Steven Tyler had so many close-up shots while everyone else in the band was given at least one or two far away shots?  Well, I always thought it was to lead up to the end of the video where a tearful Liv Tyler touches the screen where Steven's image is displayed (which simulates a scene that happens towards the end of "Armageddon").  But in reality, Steven suffered a knee injury the day before the video was filmed, and to ease the pain, it was decided that Steven's shots would be close-ups because he had to sit down frequently on the set, and because his movement was severely limited.

And it seemed to work.  I suppose it helped too that the song was a slow ballad as opposed to a head-banging rock classic.

But the music video for "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" became the second most played music video of 1998 (just behind Brandy and Monica's collaboration for "The Boy is Mine").  It won an MTV Music Video Award in 1998 for "Best Video from a Film", and the song was even nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song.  Unfortunately, it lost to "When You Believe" by Mariah Carey and Whitney Houston.

On the flipside, the song was also nominated for a Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Original Song!  Fortunately, it lost to "I Wanna Be Mike Ovitz!"

So, that's the story of "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing", a song that became the very first #1 hit for Aerosmith.  A number one hit that took almost three decades for the band to get.

Wouldn't you say it was worth the wait?

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