How Aerosmith’s Only No. 1 Hit Led a Country Singer to Leave His Label

Aerosmith produced many classic rock hits over the years, however, only one of their singles made it to No. 1. Their single was so big a notable country singer recorded a version of it — at his label’s request. His decision initiated a sequence of events which led to the end of his time at a major label.

Aerosmith in front of a wall
Aerosmith | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

The story of Aerosmith’s biggest hit

Aerosmith gave us numerous classic songs from “Dream On” to “Toys in the Attic” to “Janie’s Got a Gun.” All of those songs where hits, but they lacked one thing: a blockbuster movie to promote them. It was only when Aerosmith became involved with a popular action movie that they finally made it to the pinnacle of the Billboard Hot 100. 

Aerosmith recorded a song for the Bruce Willis film Armageddon called “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing.” It was a major commercial triumph for the band, becoming a hit decades after the band debuted. Since “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” was such a success, it makes sense another artist would want a piece of the action.

“I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” by Aerosmith

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A country singer changes his story about why he covered ‘I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing’

According to a 1998 Billboard article, country artist Mark Chesnutt covered the song after his manger at Decca Records recommended he cover it. Chesnutt said he thought “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” was great. However, he hoped fans wouldn’t think he was cashing in on the success of Armageddon by covering its signature tune. Afterward, he had some very different things to say about his cover.

“Which is the last d*mn thing I wanted to do,” he told Taste of Country in 2018. “I did it because I knew if I didn’t do it, they were gonna push me back on the back burner and I was gonna lose my shot. Then I wouldn’t be on radio anymore. I knew that was gonna happen, so I said, ‘Okay, I’ll do it, just this once.'” Chesnutt played ball with his label — but at a price.

“I Don’t Want to Miss a Thing” by Mark Chesnutt

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“As luck would have it, it ended up going to No. 1… for four d*mn weeks!” he noted. Despite this, “It didn’t sell anything. So I asked to leave the label, ’cause when it was time to go back in the studio, there was another pop hit they wanted me to cover. I said no, absolutely not. That made everyone at the label mad at me, and I got the reputation in town of being hard to work with. And once you get that label, then you’re pretty much done.”

Where Mark Chesnutt’s career went from there

Chesnutt left his label but this was not the end of his career, as he released albums on smaller labels. He doesn’t regret his decision. “I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing” was a blessing for Aerosmith — and a more mixed blessing for Chesnutt.