Before “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” became synonymous with Ben Affleck and Liv Tyler, the song from Michael Bay‘s 1998 science fiction disaster flick Armageddon had its beginnings in another romance. Performed by Aerosmith, the power ballad was written by prolific song writer Diane Warren, who was inspired by an exchange between Barbra Streisand and husband James Brolin.
In her new memoir My Name is Barbra, Streisand writes about lying in bed with Brolin one night, when he told her, “I don’t want to fall asleep.” When she asked why, he replied: “‘Cause I’ll miss you.’”
“What a beautiful, poetic thing to say,” Streisand writes. “And it captured a moment of complete bliss… physical, emotional, spiritual.”
In 1997, Streisand told the story in a 20/20 interview with Barbara Walters. Warren, who was watching, wrote down the exchange as inspiration, later using it in the lyrics for “I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing.”
Aerosmith recorded the song, and it became their first no. 1 hit in 1998. The song went on to score an Oscar nomination for Best Original Song, after being included in Armageddon.
None of this is lost on Streisand, who writes, “It was so gratifying to see so many people responding to Jim’s words. Well, no wonder… so did I!”
Other interesting tales from the memoir include Streisand calling up Apple CEO Tim Cook, because she didn’t like how Siri pronounced her name.
“My name isn’t spelled with a ‘Z,’” she said. “It’s Strei-sand, like sand on the beach. How simple can you get?” Thankfully, Cook was willing to entertain her concerns. “Tim Cook was so lovely,” Streisand confirmed. “He had Siri change the pronunciation.” She added, “I guess that’s one perk of fame!”
My Name is Barbra, out now via Viking, sees Streisand recounting the totality of her life and career, “from growing up in Brooklyn to her first star-making appearances in New York nightclubs to her breakout performance in Funny Girl (musical and film) to the long string of successes in every medium in the years that followed.”
There’s a bit of a fabled aura around Streisand’s memoir, which she’s essentially been working on for decades. As she explained in a 2021 Tonight Show interview, it was former First Lady Jackie Kennedy who approached her about writing a book in the mid-Eighties (Kennedy was working as an editor at Doubleday at the time). Streisand said she wasn’t ready to write then, but around 1999, she started reflecting on her life and career in her journals, though that effort eventually got sidetracked by other endeavors.
In 2015 Viking officially announced that it had acquired the rights to Streisand’s memoir and that the book would hit shelves in 2017. That date, however, obviously came and went.
In the interview with Fallon, Streisand said the pandemic finally gave her the time to finish the book. “I’ve written 824 pages, and I still have the little epilogue to do,” she quipped.