Flying Without Wings

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"Flying Without Wings"
Single by Westlife
from the album Westlife and Pokémon: The Movie 2000: The Power of One soundtrack
Released 18 October 1999 (1999-10-18)
Format CD single
Recorded Rokstone Studios, London
Genre Pop
Length 3:36
Label BMG
Writer(s) Wayne Hector, Steve Mac
Producer(s) Steve Mac
Certification Silver (UK), Gold (SWE)
Westlife singles chronology
"If I Let You Go"
"Flying Without Wings"
"I Have a Dream"/"Seasons in the Sun"
Alternative cover
2003 "Unbreakable Tour" live single version

"Flying Without Wings" is a song released by Irish boy band Westlife from their self-titled debut studio album (1999).


The song became an instant hit in the United Kingdom and many parts of the world. The song became the group's third UK number-one single, spending 13 weeks on charts.[1] It is also one of Westlife's biggest selling singles. The song has received a Gold sales certification in the UK for over 400,000 copies sold.[2]


"Flying Without Wings"
Promotional single by Westlife featuring BoA
Released 2003 (Asia)
Format CD single
Recorded 2003
Genre Pop
Length 3:36
Label BMG, S.M. Entertainment
Writer Wayne Hector, Steve Mac
Producer Lee Soo Man, Steve Mac
"Flying Without Wings"
Westlife feat. Cristian Castro - Flying Without Wings.jpg
Promotional single by Westlife featuring Cristian Castro
Released 2003 (Spain/ Mexico)
Format CD single
Genre Pop
Length 3:36
Writer Wayne Hector, Steve Mac

In 2002, as part of the promotion of their Unbreakable - The Greatest Hits Vol. 1 album, the band re-recorded the song as a duet with Mexican singer Cristian Castro and South Korean pop singer, BoA. Both duets were included on the album in their respective regions. Both duets were also released as singles in their respective regions.[3]

Writing and inspiration[edit]

The song was written by Wayne Hector and Steve Mac. In an interview with HitQuarters Hector said the basic idea for the song came to him while on a break from working on a hip hop session with Ezi Cut in Los Angeles:

"I came up with a couple of lines for the first verse and then phoned my mama’s house, left it on the answering machine, and said, “Don’t get rid of this!”[4]

Upon returning to England, Hector went into the studio to work on the idea with long-time songwriting partner and producer Steve Mac.[4] When the two discussed what the song was about they agreed that, "this is about our wives. This is about the things that make our lives complete."[4] According to Hector the lyrics were completed in about half an hour.[4]

Live version[edit]

In 2003, as part of the promotion for their Greatest Hits tour, the band released the live version of the song, as well as five other live tracks, as an EP made exclusively available via digital download and limited edition sampler. A new version of the music video, entwining footage from the live performance and scenes of the original music video, was added to YouTube in December 2003.

Track listing[edit]

  • United Kingdom
  1. "Flying Without Wings" - 3:35
  2. "Everybody Knows" - 3:45
  3. "Flying Without Wings" (Video) - 3:40
  1. "Flying Without Wings" - 3:35
  2. "That's What It's All About" - 3:20
  3. "Flying Without Wings" (Acappella) - 3:29
  • Australia
  1. "Flying Without Wings" - 3:35
  2. "I Have A Dream" (Remix) - 4:06
  3. "Seasons In The Sun" (Single Remix) - 4:10
  4. "Flying Without Wings" (Video) - 3:40
  1. "Flying Without Wings" (Duet with Cristian Castro) - 3:35
  2. "Never Knew I Was Losing You" - 4:09
  1. "Flying Without Wings" (Duet with BoA) - 3:35
  2. "Never Knew I Was Losing You" - 4:09
  • Greatest Hits Tour Single[7]
  1. "Flying Without Wings" (Live) - 3:35
  2. "When You're Looking Like That" (Live) - 3:28
  3. "If I Let You Go" (Live) - 3:38
  4. "Tonight" (Live) - 4:31
  5. "My Love" (Live) - 3:52
  6. "Bop Bop Baby" (Live) - 4:32

Chart performance[edit]

Charts (1999/2000) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[8] 31
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[9] 7
Belgium (Ultratip Wallonia)[10] 8
Denmark (Tracklisten)[11] 14
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[12] 17
Europe (Eurochart Hot 100)[13] 10
Finland (Suomen virallinen lista)[14] 17
Germany (Media Control Charts)[15] 85
Irish Singles (IRMA) 1
Norway (VG-lista)[16] 7
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[17] 6
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[18] 12
UK Singles (Official Charts Company) 1
UK Radio Airplay Chart 8
Charts (2008) Peak
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[19] 165
Charts (2011) Peak
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[20] 172

Video album[edit]

Flying Without Wings Karaoke
Video by Westlife
Released 2000
Genre Pop
Label BMG
Westlife chronology
The Westlife Story
Flying Without Wings Karaoke
Coast to Coast - Up, Close and Personal

A karaoke version of "Flying Without Wings" was released on DVD in 2000 and debuted at number one. It includes easy to read lyrics, photographs & interactive menus, picture sleeve. It has a running time of 45 minutes.[21]

Track listing[edit]

  1. Swear It Again
  2. If I Let You Go
  3. Flying Without Wings
  4. Fool Again
  5. Seasons In The Sun
  6. I Have A Dream
  7. More Than Words
  8. Against All Odds

CD production[edit]

Arranged by (strings) : Richard Niles
Arranged by (vocals) : Steve Mac, Wayne Hector
Arranged by, mixed by : Steve Mac
Artwork by (design) : Root
Photography : Brian Aris
Bass guitar : Steve Pearce
Guitar : Paul Gendler
Performer (Choir Md) : Benny Diggs
Engineer (Mix) : Matt Howe
Engineer, pProgrammed by : Chris Laws
Other (management) : Louis Walsh, Ronan Keating

Tours performed at[edit]

Other appearances[edit]

The Westlife song has appeared in Pokémon: The Movie 2000 as the final song of the credits in the film and on the official movie soundtrack.[22] It also featured in the 2000 Australian film The Magic Pudding.

Ruben Studdard cover version[edit]

"Flying Without Wings"
Single by Ruben Studdard
Released June 10, 2003 (2003-06-10)
Format CD single
Genre Urban contemporary, contemporary R&B
Label J Records
Writer(s) Wayne Hector / Steve Mac
Producer(s) The Underdogs and Face
Certification Gold (RIAA)
3× Platinum (CRIA)
Ruben Studdard singles chronology
"Flying Without Wings"

"Flying Without Wings" was covered by American Idol winner Ruben Studdard as his debut single in 2003. The single was released on June 10 and charted at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 on June 28, behind "This Is the Night" by Clay Aiken. "Flying Without Wings" also gained attention on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, peaking at number thirteen, while it reached number 27 on the adult contemporary chart. It was also released in New Zealand and reached number two behind Clay Aiken. The single had sold 751,000 copies through December 2006. This version of the song also appears on the game Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Flying Without Wings"
  2. "Superstar"

Other cover versions[edit]

JLS also performed the song with Westlife on The X Factor final in 2008. Burnell Taylor sang the song on the twelfth season of American Idol during the Top 10 Week, Music of the American Idols in 2013. The song was also covered by the Factor Essex finalists in 2013 in an attempt to raise money for the Karis May Darling Foundation.

Delta Goodrem with Brian McFadden cover version[edit]

Australian singer Delta Goodrem performed the song with boyfriend and ex-Westlife member, Brian McFadden, on her national Visualise Tour in 2005.[23]

Nicholas McDonald with Shane Filan cover version[edit]

On 14 December 2013, Nicholas McDonald sang the song with ex-Westlife member Shane Filan on the final of the tenth series of The X Factor.[24] His cover version was also appeared on his debut studio album.[25]


  1. ^ "WESTLIFE | Artist". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  2. ^ "Westlife | Official Top 20 | MTV UK". Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  3. ^ "Westlife Flying Without Wings Mexico Promo 5" CD SINGLE (239371)". 2003-03-12. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Interview With Wayne Hector", HitQuarters, 1 Feb 2010.
  5. ^ "Westlife Flying Without Wings Mexico 5" CD SINGLE (244450)". 2003-04-24. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  6. ^ "Westlife Flying Without Wings Japan Promo 5" CD SINGLE (255411)". 2003-08-15. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  7. ^ "Level 42 To Be With You Again UK 12" RECORD/MAXI SINGLE (39792)". 1995-01-25. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  8. ^ " – Westlife – Flying Without Wings". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  9. ^ " – Westlife – Flying Without Wings" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  10. ^ " – Westlife – Flying Without Wings" (in French). Ultratip.
  11. ^ " – Westlife – Flying Without Wings". Tracklisten.
  12. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Westlife search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  13. ^ Billboard - Google Books
  14. ^ "Westlife: Flying Without Wings" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  15. ^ "Die ganze Musik im Internet: Charts, News, Neuerscheinungen, Tickets, Genres, Genresuche, Genrelexikon, Künstler-Suche, Musik-Suche, Track-Suche, Ticket-Suche –" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  16. ^ " – Westlife – Flying Without Wings". VG-lista.
  17. ^ " – Westlife – Flying Without Wings". Top 40 Singles.
  18. ^ " – Westlife – Flying Without Wings". Singles Top 60.
  19. ^ "Chart Log (2008)". 2008-12-27. Retrieved 2014-07-12. 
  20. ^ "Chart Log (2011)". 2011-11-19. Retrieved 2014-07-12. 
  21. ^ "Westlife Flying Without Wings Karaoke UK DIGITAL VERSATILE DISC (246048)". 2003-05-07. Retrieved 2012-01-06. 
  22. ^ "Pokemon 2000: The Power of One- Original Soundtrack;". Retrieved 2012-03-13. 
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^

External links[edit]

Preceded by
A Moment Like This
American Idol winner's singles
Succeeded by
I Believe