Gonna Fly Now

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"Gonna Fly Now"
Single by Bill Conti
from the album Rocky - Original Motion Picture Score
Released February 28, 1977
Format 7"
Genre Orchestral
Length 2:48
Label United Artists
Writer(s) Bill Conti, Carol Connors, Ayn Robbins
Producer(s) Bill Conti
Certification Gold (RIAA)
Bill Conti singles chronology
"Gonna Fly Now"
(1977)
"Redemption"
(1979)

"Gonna Fly Now", also known as "Theme from Rocky," is the theme song from the movie Rocky, composed by Bill Conti with lyrics by Carol Connors and Ayn Robbins, and performed by DeEtta Little (the sister of actor Cleavon Little) and Nelson Pigford. Released in February 1977 with the movie Rocky, the song became part of American popular culture after main character Rocky Balboa as part of his daily training regimen runs up the 72 stone steps leading to the entrance of the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Philadelphia, while the song plays. Rocky, training for a fight he doubts he can win, struggles to run up the steps ("Trying hard now, it's so hard now"). As Rocky gains strength and inspiration ("Getting strong now, won't be long now"), he begins running up the steps with increasing ease and speed. The song finishes ("Gonna fly now, flying high now, gonna fly, fly, fly...") as Rocky runs up the "Rocky Steps" before the Philadelphia Museum of Art easily and with vigor and raises his arms in a victory pose. The song was written in Philadelphia. The song is also often played at sporting events, especially at sporting events in the city of Philadelphia or featuring sports teams from there.

Reception[edit]

The song (whose lyrics have a total count of 14 words some sung multiple times) was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song in the 49th Academy Awards. The version of the song from the movie, performed by Conti with an orchestra, hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1977, while a version by jazz trumpeter Maynard Ferguson hit the top 30. Disco versions by Rhythm Heritage and Current were on the chart at the same time (Conti's own version reveals some early disco influence in the orchestration). Conti's single was certified Gold by the RIAA, for shipments exceeding one million in the United States. The American Film Institute placed it 58th on its AFI's 100 Years... 100 Songs list.

Uses[edit]

In Rocky II, an alternate version of the song was used, with a children's choir singing the chorus. Rocky III included an updated disco influenced arrangement during the training montage on the beach. This recording is however missing from the soundtrack album, the sleeve notes of which say "All music on this album selected by Sylvester Stallone", who instead opted to reprise the original versions of "Gonna Fly Now" and "Reflections" from the first film and "Conquest" from the second installment.

Rocky IV was scored by Vince DiCola who mainly introduced new themes of his own but "Gonna Fly Now" returned with its composer for later installments. In Rocky Balboa, a slightly different version of the song used more trumpets and different vocal tones. The soundtrack for that film also includes a vocal remix performed by Natalie Wilde.

Chart performance[edit]

Year Chart Peak
position
1977 Canadian RPM Top Singles 8
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[1] 22
US Billboard Hot 100[2] 1
2007 US Hot Ringtones (Billboard)[3] 19

In popular culture[edit]

Due to its original use, the song (or soundalikes) is used frequently in various forms of popular media where a main character is forced to train hard in order to defeat an opponent, often during a montage sequence.

American politician and former Vice President Walter Mondale used this as his campaign song in 1984.

It is often played at sporting events in the city of Philadelphia. For example, it is played right before kickoff of Eagles games at Lincoln Financial Field.

In the Philippines, the song was used in the commercial for Tiger Energy Biscuits which shows the Tiger mascot eating the said biscuit brand before jogging in the streets of Manila.

The 2013 back to school advertising campaign for Target featured the song as a little girl attempts a chin-up during gym class.

The song was used in an episode of the television series My Name Is Earl.

The song was also played in one of Despicable Me 2's mini-movies, "Training Wheels" when Agnes was training for her new rocket-bike.

The song was used in Jackass 3D as part of a recurring gag called "The Rocky," which involved Bam Margera throwing a cup of water on an unsuspecting victim, then punching him with a boxing glove.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
"Got to Give It Up (Part 1)" by Marvin Gaye
Billboard Hot 100 number one single
July 2, 1977
Succeeded by
"Undercover Angel" by Alan O'Day