Suggest a Songfact / Artistfact
Album: HeartlightReleased: 1982Charted:
This was inspired by the 1982 movie E.T.
, about an alien who comes to Earth and tries to return home. When E.T. (Extra Terrestrial) flies, his heart glows, which is the "heartlight." Diamond says he was trying to create "a simple musical statement that we all felt very sincerely."
Diamond wrote this with Carole Bayer Sager and Burt Bacharach, who were married at the time. The songwriters attended a screening of the movie together, then went to Sager and Bacharach's apartment and wrote the song. Said Diamond, "We wanted to express how all of us felt about the little alien who suddenly appears in a strange world."
Diamond wasn't sure how kids would receive this song, so he played it for his 12-year-old son, Jesse, before releasing it. Jesse gave it the good word.
In 1982, Kenny Loggins released a song called "Welcome To Heartlight
" that reached #24 in the US. His song had nothing to do with E.T.
- it was inspired by a school of that name in Los Angeles.
Diamond was surprised to learn that not everyone associated with E.T.
was thrilled with his song. According to an article in People magazine
, MCA, which was in charge of merchandising for the movie, threatened a lawsuit, which is a bit specious since there is no mention of the film or any of the characters in the lyric. Still, Diamond made a deal with MCA, paying them $25,000 in order to avoid litigation.
This was the last of eight #1 hits for Diamond on the Adult Contemporary chart, and also his last song to reach the Top 30 of the Hot 100. A consistent hitmaker since the mid-'60s, "Heartlight" marked the end of his chart dominance, but he remained a very popular concert draw and managed a #1 album in 2008 with Home Before Dark.
This wasn't the only song inspired by the movie E.T.
The team of Buckner & Garcia, who had a big hit earlier in 1982 with "Pac-Man Fever
," recorded a song called "E.T., I Love You." Both Buckner & Garcia and Neil Diamond were signed to Columbia Records, and according to Jerry Buckner
, the label waited for Diamond to release his E.T.
before issuing theirs.