The song is the winner out of thousands of entries for the 2008 American Idol Songwriter's Competition, and was written by Regie Hamm. It was released as Cook's first single exclusively on iTunes on May 22, 2008. The next day, it was made available at all digital retailers. The song was sent to the radio stations following the end of the airing of American Idol finale in Hawaii. As of November 2008, the single has moved about 1,000,000 units. This song was also used for a performance on So You Think You Can Dance season 4, performed by Courtney and Mark.
On the 2008 ESPY's the song was used. The song was also used at the end of 2008 Summer Olympics Games opening ceremony on August 8, 2008 by NBC to recap the events that took place during the opening ceremonies. It has also been used throughout the Olympics to recap the days victories for the United States.
In the U.S. the song debuted on the Billboard Hot 100 at number three with 236,000 copies sold in its first week of release. These figures give it the strongest first week sales of an Idol coronation single since season 2. The song debuted at #2 on the Canadian Hot 100, blocked by Madonna's "4 Minutes". Due to low airplay, the song was prevented from debuting at #1 by Lil Wayne's "Lollipop" featuring the late Static Major and singer Leona Lewis's "Bleeding Love". In addition to it's high opening week sales, "The Time of My Life" showed strong sales longevity, and has passed the million mark in digital sales. The song's sales and radio longevity allowed it to stay in the top 50 on the Hot 100 for 19 weeks, before being removed from the chart after it's 20th week per Billboard's recurrent rules.
On June 1, 2008, the single entered the UK Singles Chart at number 61. It also debuted in New Zealand at #29.
As of the week ending September 13, the single has reached #1 on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart, #28 and Top 40 Mainstream. It is only the second coronation single of an American Idol winner to reach the top 40 on U.S. Mainstream radio, following Kelly Clarkson's "A Moment Like This." The song was particularly successful on U.S. Adult radio. The song reached number one on the Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks chart, breaking a 36 week streak of number one songs by female artists on the chart, and initially remained at the top spot for 11 weeks. During the Holiday 2008 season, Faith Hill's "A Baby Changes Everything" briefly overtook the #1 spot on the chart, but "The Time of My Life" returned to the top in January 2009, where it has spent an additional 3 weeks so far. This brings it's total to 14 non-consecutive weeks at #1 to date. Cook is also the second American Idol winner to top the chart, and the fourth contestant from the show to top it. The song has also enjoyed one of the longest runs at #1 on the chart, placing in the top ten of longest running #1's by a male artist on the chart. It also reached the top ten on the Adult Top 40, peaking at #7.
The RIAA certified "The Time of My Life" platinum on December 12, 2008 for selling over 1 million digital downloads, making it the fourth platinum-selling coronation song for an American Idol winner, after Kelly Clarkson's "A Moment Like This", Carrie Underwood's "Inside Your Heaven", and Phillip Phillips's "Home".
|Canadian Hot 100||2|
|Finnish Singles Chart||10|
|New Zealand RIANZ Singles Chart||29|
|U.S. Billboard Hot 100||3|
|U.S. Billboard Pop 100||6|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Contemporary Tracks||1|
|U.S. Billboard Hot Adult Top 40 Tracks||7|
|UK Singles Chart||61|