Study Guide

I Don't Want to Miss a Thing Technique

  • Music

    Aerosmith released several power ballads before recording "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" for the soundtrack for Armageddon, but these earlier attempts retained more of Aerosmith's hard rocking instrumentation. 

    Steven Tyler's harmonica and Joey Kramer's drums drive the opening bars of "Crazy," while Joe Perry's fills flesh out the track. Perry and Tom Hamilton launch "Crying" with a guitar-bass power riff. On "Dream On," Perry only holds back so long before unleashing some rock and roll leads.

    With "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing," though, the band's instruments are all but buried beneath the lush orchestral instrumentation. Kramer's drums provide a rock-like beat, and occasionally a guitar chord and fill peek through, but for the most part, the vocals are framed in the leanest sections by a piano and in the densest by a full orchestra.

    If the band members are uncomfortable with their roles in the song, they haven't said so. For example, Perry concedes that "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" was largely written and arranged by others. 

    He said, "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.'" If they had been less busy, he says, they would have liked to write their own song, but “the song was great, people loved it, and I don't think people care that much who wrote it." (Source)

  • Setting

    There are actually a couple of overlapping settings for this song. Played in the final scene of Armageddon, as Grace marries A.J. and casts an appreciative and loving glance at her heroic but dead father (can you believe we managed to make it this far without mentioning Bruce Willis even once?), the song's most literal setting is in the final scene of the film. 

    But as Liv Tyler plays Grace and her actual father sings the song, "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" could also be situated within their relationship.

    Within the film, Grace gets married immediately after losing her father in a heroic battle against an earth-bound space rock. In cheesy Hollywood fashion, the song's lyrical pledge not "to miss a thing" could be applied both to the new couple and to the father and daughter. Grace's father, Harry Stamper (seriously, Brice Willis), has been blown to bits by the double-whammy of a nuclear bomb and an exploding asteroid, but we know he is still there in spirit—or maybe a trillion tiny space spirits—and not missing a thing.

    In real life, Steven Tyler missed the first decade of his daughter's life, as Liv's mother chose to conceal her daughter's paternity in order to protect her from the influence of a drug-addicted rock star. But after the relationship was revealed in 1988, Liv and Steven developed a close bond. He had three other children through other relationships, but he described Liv as his "dream daughter" and has promised to make up for lost time. He said, "I love her more than anything and have a great relationship with her. We can talk about anything." (Source)

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