Ed Sheeran wrote this waltz-time love song for his girlfriend Cherry Seaborn, who is an old school friend. After writing it he had no idea whether or not she really likes the track. "I just recorded it and sent it because she was living in New York at the time so I didn't see her reaction," he told BBC Radio 2. "I think she liked it, it's a good'un (good one)."
The wedding song looks forward to a future of children and family and growing old together. Sheeran penned the tune solo having set out to write the biggest song of his career. "I just wanted to beat 'Thinking Out Loud'. I wasn't in any other mind," he told Beats 1's Zane Lowe. "I wanted to beat 'Thinking Out Loud' because I know that song was gonna define me and that was gonna be the song in fifty years like when you have one song like that you're that artist but when you have two or three songs like that that's when you start to be like Van Morrison."
"Thinking Out Loud" was co-written with folk singer Amy Wadge and Sheeran told the BBC that he wants the biggest song of his career just to have his name on the credits. "I need to write the best love song of my career," he said, "and I need to do it one hundred percent me so everyone will listen to it and be like 'oh f--k, no, he actually can do it.'"
Baby, I'm dancing in the dark with you between my arms Barefoot on the grass, listening to our favourite song When you said you looked a mess, I whispered underneath my breath But you heard it, darling, you look perfect tonight
The inspiration for the chorus came from an unlikely place – dancing to Atlanta rapper Future's track "March Madness" on the lawn at James Blunt's house in Ibiza. Speaking with Entertainment Tonight Canada, Sheeran explained the inspiration behind the line:
"We were in Ibiza at James Blunt's house and for some reason, there was a certain point in the night and people just put on house music. I just don't like house music at all - at all! So I changed it to Future's 'March Madness' and there were a bunch of 40 year old people like, 'What are you doing? What is this?' And then we had a dance."
"March Madness is a track off Future's 56 Nights mixtape. During the tune the Atlanta rapper explicitly connects his struggle to the struggles of the world around him.
The snowy video was shot on the ski slopes in Hintertux, Austria in October 2017. The story of Ed Sheeran falling in love with a girl he grew up was based on a script written by him and director Jason Koening (who made the clip for "Shape Of You"). The singer's love interest is played by Beautiful Creatures and The Disaster Artist actress, Zoey Deutch.
"Came up with the idea for the video because I like Christmas," Sheeran said. "There's not enough Christmas music videos out nowadays. So yeah, I wanted snow and romance. The song's cheesy anyway and I thought we might as well go like full-blown Swiss cheese on it."
Despite the song having no references to snow, Ed opted for a wintery theme for the video. He revealed to The Sun that the 1990s boyband East 17's hit single "Stay Another Day" inspired the clip.
"That's not a Christmas song but it has snow in the video. They're all in their puffer jackets in the snow and it's become a Christmas song," Sheeran explained. "I'm like, 'That's really clever. That gets played every year now because it's got snow in the video. So, with the 'Perfect' video I thought, right, let's put snow in it."
Ed Sheeran teamed up with Beyoncé for the song's official remix, which was released November 30, 2017. The English singer previously worked with Mrs Carter when they performed together at a Grammy tribute concert for Stevie Wonder and at Global Citizen Festival in 2015.
The new version of the track was Beyoncé's third surprise feature in the last few months of 2017, following her contributions to the "Mi Gente" remix with J Balvin and Willy William, and Eminem's single "Walk On Water."
Ed Sheeran's collaboration with Beyoncé, was re-titled "Perfect Duet." It was recorded in a studio in New York on September 17, 2017 with just one other person sitting in on the session.
"It's a really weird thing, it was just me and her and an engineer, which was very cool," Sheeran told News Corp Australia. "To be one-on-one with someone you respect that much and be able to craft the song the way you envision without input from anybody else... that's rare. When there are two people coming together like that, everyone has an opinion, you know?"
Ed Sheeran's original version started off as an acoustic number. Speaking to Entertainment Tonight's Keltie Knight, he recalled that when Beyoncé started working on her part of the duet, she called the English star and said, "I don't know how you feel about this but I've taken all the instruments off it and it's just gonna be acoustic guitar." To which Sheeran responded, "Ah that's great, because it used to be that!"
The pair went back and forth in the studio for around four hours before Beyoncé recorded her vocals. "Went in, one take, came out," Sheeran said.
Ed Sheeran released another version of "Perfect" on December 15, 2017. This one is an orchestrated duet with opera superstar Andrea Bocelli. Sheeran's brother, classical composer Matthew Sheeran, arranged the reboot and the siblings mutually decided to invite the Italian tenor to sing on the project.
Sheeran also tackled Italian for the new rendition of the song, and the accompanying video features the Brit attempting to master the lyrics in another language. This isn't the first time Sheeran added a second language to a hit song. "Bibia Be Ye Ye," for example, features some lyrics sung in Twi, a dialect spoken in Ghana.
This song topped UK's Radio Smooth's 2018 All Time Top 500, voted by their listeners. George Michael's "Careless Whisper" was the runner-up on the countdown.
When this song secured its 52nd week on the Hot 100, Ed Sheeran became the first solo artist to spend a whole year on the listing with three different singles. "Perfect" joined his past hits "Shape Of You" and "Thinking Out Loud," which spent 59 and 58 weeks respectively on the chart.
This was the most-heard song on US radio in 2018 with 3.99 billion audience impressions. It was the second year in a row that Ed Sheeran had the biggest radio hit. In 2017, Sheeran's "Shape of You" was the most-heard song, with 5.847 billion impressions.