For Twilight fan Christina Perri, landing a track on the soundtrack for Breaking Dawn was a dream come true. She told MTV News how she penned the song after attending an early screening of the movie. Said Perri: "I tried not to get hyped out, because it's one of my favorite movies, one of my favorite books, one of my favorite soundtracks, and that could potentially freak out the little songwriter in me.
So I tried to put that aside and take it one step at a time, went to see the movie and cried like a baby, because it's so good, and I felt so lucky to be there. And then went home and wrote a love song to Edward and Bella... and to have it be chosen, I'm unbelievably honored."
Perri wrote the song based on the emotions that she felt reading about the star-crossed love affair between Edward and Bella throughout Stephenie Meyer's series. "When we went to watch the screening, they told us to see where there was temporary music added and just jump into those scenes a little harder," she explained to MTV News. "But I'm fortunately a fan of the movie and the characters, and I feel like, by reading these books, I can step into that feeling that Edward and Bella have for each other. So [songwriter] David Hodges and I sat down, and it just came out in one afternoon. I feel like it was all meant to happen; I feel like it was all waiting inside me, waiting to come out."
Perri recalled to Billboard magazine: "Atlantic Records (was) doing the writing for Breaking Dawn. They asked me to come in and screen the movie and then write something. They were going to give me a shot because they knew what a big fan I was. So, I saw the movie in this little screening room with all these super-Hollywood-y dudes on their Blackberries not watching... and I'm in the front row crying the whole time. I went straight home and wrote 'A Thousand Years'."
The song reached a new peak position of #11 in the UK in September 2013, after contestant Nicholas McDonald performed it on the British version of X Factor.
"A Thousand Years" returned to the UK Top 75 in the spring of 2018 after it was used in a carpool karaoke-style clip in support of World Down Syndrome Day. The video
features 50 mums and their children singing along to Perri's hit.