Paula Cole Revealed the ‘Dawson’s Creek’ Theme Song Was Inspired by a Bad Marriage

TL;DR:

  • Paula Cole wrote “I Don’t to Wait,” which became the theme song to Dawson’s Creek.
  • She says it’s a “joyous and wonderful” song.
  • The song charted internationally.
The cast of 'Dawson's Creek' with a bench
The cast of ‘Dawson’s Creek’ | Columbia/TriStar International Television. A Sony Pictures Entertainment Company.

The classic rock of the 1990s often dealt with downbeat topics. For example, Paula Cole’s “I Don’t Want to Wait” was inspired by a bad marriage. The song later became the theme song for the classic soap opera Dawson’s Creek.

How Paula Cole’s grandparents inspired the ‘Dawson’s Creek’ theme song

During a 2016 interview with SongFacts, Cole said her grandparent’s marriage inspired “I Don’t Want to Wait.” She revealed she grew up down the street from her grandparents. She said they were a huge part of her life.

“I had a sense that my grandfather was getting towards the end of his life and I wrote “I Don’t Want to Wait,” which was so prescient in a way,” Cole said. “I wrote that song and it was released after his death. 

“Even though it’s very catchy and melodic and it’s a bit of an earworm, for me it’s a very personal song that’s looking at my grandparents, specifically my grandfather, Everett, who fought in World War II, his unhappy marriage to my grandmother — the firecracker, Helen — their influence on my father and then that influence on me,” Cole added.

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Paula Cole said ‘I Don’t Want to Wait’ has wings

Cole didn’t want to be exactly like her grandparents. “When you grow up with your grandparents you can really see the generations and the energy of the parenting,” she said. “I was looking at it and thinking, ‘I don’t want to make some of these mistakes. I really hope I don’t.'” 

Cole felt her grandfather’s spirit is in “I Don’t Want to Wait.” She described the song as having “wings.” Looking back on “I Don’t Want to Wait,” she called it “joyous and wonderful.”

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How the ‘Dawson’s Creek’ theme song performed on the charts in the United States and the United Kingdom

“I Don’t Want to Wait” became a hit in the United States. It peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard Hot 100, staying on the chart for 56 weeks. None of Cole’s other tracks lasted longer on the chart. The song’s parent album, This Fire, hit No. 20 on the Billboard 200, remaining on the chart for 77 weeks.

“I Don’t Want to Wait” was a more modest hit in the United Kingdom. According to The Official Charts Company, the track reached No. 43 in the U.K. and stayed on the chart for two weeks. Meanwhile, This Fire hit No. 60 there and lasted on the chart for two weeks.

“I Don’t Want to Wait” famously became the theme song to Dawson’s Creek. It also appeared in The Angry Birds Movie 2. “I Don’t Want to Wait” is a classic track even if it was rooted in a bad marriage.

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