Defying Gravity (song)

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"Defying Gravity"
Song by Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth from the album Wicked (Original Broadway Cast Recording)
Released December 16, 2003
Recorded May 10, 2003
Genre Pop, show tunes, orchestral, operatic pop
Length 5:56
Label Decca Broadway
Writer(s) Stephen Schwartz
Composer(s) Stephen Schwartz

"Defying Gravity" is the signature song from the musical Wicked, composed by Stephen Schwartz, originally recorded by Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth on May 10, 2003, and released on December 16, 2003. It is mostly a solo sung by the main character of the show, Elphaba (the Wicked Witch of the West), with two small duets at the beginning and in the middle of the song between Elphaba and her friend Glinda, and a chorus part in the end in which the citizens of Oz sing. It was performed on the BBC television programme I'd Do Anything, and as a result the song charted at no. 60 on the official UK Singles chart.[1]

Context and analysis[edit]

In Wicked, the song is the finale for the show's first act, when Elphaba discovers that The Wizard of Oz is not the heroic figure she had originally believed him to be. Realizing this, and despite Glinda's attempts to dissuade her, Elphaba vows to do everything in her power to fight the Wizard and his sinister plans against the Animals of Oz. She sings of how she wants to live without limits, going against the rules that others have set for her. During the song, Elphaba enchants a broomstick to levitate and, pursued by the Wizard's guards, rises from the stage above the angered citizens of Oz, who try in vain to "bring her down."

The song is heavily cinematic and comes to a climax for the final verse. The staging of this climax features several special effects. The actress playing Elphaba is lifted up into the air by a hydraulic launch system. The sequence relies heavily on around 60 moving lights, smoke, and wind effects.

Idina Menzel single[edit]

"Defying Gravity"
Idina Menzel - Defying Gravity.jpg
Single by Idina Menzel
from the album I Stand
Released March 1, 2007
Format CD, digital download
Recorded 2007
Genre Pop, orchestral
Length 3:46
Label Warner Bros.
Writer(s) Stephen Schwartz
Producer(s) Glen Ballard
Idina Menzel singles chronology
"Take Me or Leave Me"
(2006)
"Defying Gravity"
(2007)
"Brave"
(2007)

Idina Menzel, having reprised her role as Elphaba in the London production of Wicked in 2006, recorded a remixed "pop mainstream" version of the song. It was released as a single on March 1, 2007 and was later included on the UK and iTunes versions of her 2008 album I Stand. The remix of "Defying Gravity" was also the anthem at the 2007 Gay Pride Parade and Festival in Los Angeles, and appears on the official CD from the event. She released the song as a single a second time in 2012 from her album Live: Barefoot at the Symphony.

Formats and track listings[edit]

U.S. CD single

  1. "Defying Gravity" (Tracy Young's Flying Monkey's Club Mix) – 8:02
  2. "Defying Gravity" (Eddie Baez Club Mix) – 8:42
  3. "Defying Gravity" (Hani Flying So High Club Mix) – 7:04
  4. "Defying Gravity" (Josh Harris Vocal Club Mix) – 7:16
  5. "Defying Gravity" (Funky Junction & Antony Reale Club Mix) – 6:22
  6. "Defying Gravity" (Single version) – 3:48

Digital single

  1. "Defying Gravity" (Album version) – 3:46

Digital maxi single

  1. "Defying Gravity" (Tracy Young's Flying Monkey's Radio Edit) – 3:45
  2. "Defying Gravity" (Eddie Baez Radio Edit) – 4:54
  3. "Defying Gravity" (Funky Junction & Antony Reale Radio Edit) – 4:36
  4. "Defying Gravity" (Hani Flying So High Short Mix) – 4:55
  5. "Defying Gravity" (Josh Harris Radio Edit) – 3:53

Digital maxi single (DJ version)

  1. "Defying Gravity" (Tracy Young's Flying Monkey's Club Mix) – 8:02
  2. "Defying Gravity" (Eddie Baez Club Mix) – 8:42
  3. "Defying Gravity" (Funky Junction & Antony Reale Club Mix) – 6:22
  4. "Defying Gravity" (Hani Flying So High Club Mix) – 7:04
  5. "Defying Gravity" (Josh Harris Vocal Club Mix) – 7:16

Official versions[edit]

  • "Defying Gravity" (Album version) – 3:46
  • "Defying Gravity" (Single version) – 3:48
  • "Defying Gravity" (Eddie Baez Club Mix) – 8:42
  • "Defying Gravity" (Eddie Baez Radio Edit) – 4:54
  • "Defying Gravity" (Funky Junction & Antony Reale Club Mix) – 6:22
  • "Defying Gravity" (Funky Junction & Antony Reale Radio Edit) – 4:36
  • "Defying Gravity" (Hani Flying So High Club Mix) – 7:04
  • "Defying Gravity" (Hani Flying So High Short Mix) – 4:55
  • "Defying Gravity" (Josh Harris Vocal Club Mix) – 7:16
  • "Defying Gravity" (Josh Harris Radio Edit) – 3:53
  • "Defying Gravity" (Tracy Young's Flying Monkey's Club Mix) – 8:02
  • "Defying Gravity" (Tracy Young's Flying Monkey's Radio Edit) – 3:45
  • "Defying Gravity" (Live from Soundstage) – 3:56

Chart performance[edit]

Chart (2007-2008) Peak
position
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[2] 72
US Dance Club Songs (Billboard)[3] 5

Other recording[edit]

The song was used to wake up astronauts aboard space shuttle mission STS-131 in April 2010 for astronaut Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger in honor of the day's planned extra-vehicular activity.[4]

The song was recorded and performed twice on Fox's TV show Glee, sung by Rachel Berry and Kurt Hummel (Lea Michele and Chris Colfer, respectively). The song first appeared in "Wheels" and again in the series' 100th episode, sung by Rachel, Kurt and Mercedes Jones (played by Amber Riley). Responding to the latter performance, a tipsy April Rhodes, played by Kristin Chenoweth herself, remarks how the song is good enough for Broadway.

Girls Aloud singer Kimberley Walsh recorded the song for her album Centre Stage.

Mitch Grassi and Scott Hoying (Pentatonix) have also performed a cover of this song on their YouTube channel Superfruit as a birthday present from Mitch to Scott.

Japanese voice actress and singer Ayahi Takagaki covered this song in her album "melodia".

All official versions of "Defying Gravity"
Language Original cast Title Translation
Glinda Elphaba
Danish[5] Annette Heick[6] Maria Lucia Rosenberg ? ?
Dutch Chantal Janzen[7] Willemijn Verkaik[8] "Ik lach om zwaartekracht" "I laugh at gravity"
English Kristin Chenoweth Idina Menzel "Defying gravity"
Finnish[9] Anna-Maija Tuokko (fi) Maria Ylipää (fi) "Painovoimaa murtamaan" "Break gravity"
German[10] Lucy Scherer Willemijn Verkaik "Frei und schwerelos" "Free and weightless"
Japanese[11] 沼尾みゆき (Miyuki Numao) (ja) 濱田めぐみ (Megumi Hamada) (ja) "自由を求めて" ("Jiyū o motomete") "Looking for freedom"
Korean[12] 정선아 (Cheong Seon-a)

김보경 (Kim Bo-gyeong) (ko)

김소현 (Kim So-hyun)

옥주현 (Ock Joo-hyun)

박혜나 (Park Hyena) (ko)

김선영 (Kim Seon-yeong) (ko)

"디파잉 그래비티" ("Tip’aing kŭraebit’i") "Defying gravity"
Portuguese Fabi Bang (pt) Myra Ruiz "Desafiar a gravidade" "Defy gravity"
Spanish[13] Cecilia de la Cueva (es) Danna Paola "En contra de la gravedad" "Against gravity"

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ UK Music Charts | The Official UK Top 75 Singles: Week of Mon 26 May - Yahoo! Music UK
  2. ^ "Austriancharts.at – Idina Menzel – Defying Gravity" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved November 14, 2010.
  3. ^ "Idina Menzel – Chart history" Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs for Idina Menzel. Retrieved October 1, 2011.
  4. ^ /audio/shuttle/sts-131/html/ndxpage1.html "STS-131 wake calls" Check |url= value (help). NASA. 
  5. ^ Charmedbalthazar (2011-04-02), Wicked Interview with Maria Lucia and Annette Heick, retrieved 2016-09-26 
  6. ^ "Annette Heick". www.danskefilm.dk. Retrieved 2016-09-26. 
  7. ^ "Chantal Janzen in musical Wicked" (in Dutch). Retrieved 2016-09-26. 
  8. ^ "Biography | Willemijn Verkaik Fansite". www.willemijnverkaikfansite.com. Retrieved 2016-09-26. 
  9. ^ "Helsingin Kaupunginteatteri - Ohjelmisto - Wicked". www.hkt.fi. Retrieved 2016-09-26. 
  10. ^ ""Wicked - Die Hexen von Oz (Originalversion des Deutschen Musicals)" von Ensemble Palladium Theater Stuttgart auf Apple Music". iTunes. Retrieved 2016-09-26. 
  11. ^ ミュージカル「ウィキッド」劇団四季版, UNIVERSAL CLASSICS(P)(M), retrieved 2016-09-26 
  12. ^ "*Betty's secret garden* : 네이버 블로그". blog.naver.com. Retrieved 2016-09-26. 
  13. ^ Danna Paola (2014-01-06), Danna Paola - Defying Gravity / En Contra de la Gravedad (Audio), retrieved 2016-09-26 

External links[edit]