This teary-eyed ballad is one of a number of songs on Halcyon that were based on Goulding's split in late 2011 from BBC Radio 1 DJ Greg James. The singer admitted to The Sun that she was worried about her ex-boyfriend's reaction to her new album. "The last record I felt like I was singing about stuff like that and I thought it was really sincere but I listen back and I think, ' God that was really naive, that was nothing'," she said. "This time It's the real deal. There's stuff about Greg. I played it to him because I felt that was better than him hearing it randomly somewhere."
The song featured on the fifteenth episode of the ninth season of the ABC medical drama Grey's Anatomy on February 14, 2013.
This was one of four Ellie Goulding songs to feature on the soundtrack of the 2014 movie, Divergent. She also provided the "musical voice" for the film's lead character, Tris Prior. "We started working on the film with songs from Ellie Goulding's album Halcyon and soon found that the texture of her music and the tone of her voice matched perfectly with our film," said director Neil Burger. "In many ways Ellie has become the inner voice of our heroine Tris."
The chorus of "Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir" in "Lady Marmalade" is French for "Do you want to sleep with me tonight?" When Labelle performed it on television, they had to change it to "Voulez-vous danser avec moi ce soir" (Do you want to dance with me tonight?).