E.T., I Love You

Album: Now & Then (1982)
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Songfacts®:

  • Jerry Buckner and Gary Garcia, famous for their 1982 hit "Pac-Man Fever," wrote this after seeing the movie E.T. The song was written from the perspective of Elliott, the young boy who befriends the alien in the film.

    In our interview with Jerry Buckner, he said, "When that movie came out, they weren't doing the tie-ins like they do now with songs and products and all that. That's just a regular thing now, but back then they weren't doing that. The movie had just come out, and I went to see it with my wife and daughter. And, like everybody else, it really moved me. It was a great movie. It was very emotional, and it just blew me away.

    Well, I had just lost this dog I had had for a long time and I was really grieving over the dog. She was a great dog. I had sat down at the piano and had written out some little chords and stuff, just to help me get through the grieving process. And I thought, 'You know what? This song might work for this idea.'"
  • According to Jerry Buckner, his agent played this song for Steven Spielberg, who loved it. Problem was, Neil Diamond also wrote a song inspired by the film, and like Buckner & Garcia, Diamond was also signed to Columbia Records, and was a much bigger fish. His song was "Heartlight," which ended up reaching #5 in the US. Buckner says that CBS blocked release of "E.T., I Love You" to make way for "Heartlight," holding it back for six months and then giving it no promotional support. "We tried everything to get them to release it," he told us. "We couldn't get permission from Spielberg and them after that and it just was a mess. It broke our hearts because not only would it have been a big hit, but it was a regular song: more like a movie theme with no sound effects. And I think that would have been a stepping stone for us to do another song. We could have eventually gotten into doing regular pop songs, which would have been great."

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