Gonna Fly Now

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"Gonna Fly Now"
Single by Bill Conti
from the album Rocky - Original Motion Picture Score
B-side "Reflections"
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"

"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 and raises his arms in a victory pose, while the song plays. 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.


The song (whose lyrics is only 30 words long) 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). Billboard ranked Conti's version as the No. 21 song of 1977.[1] 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. Due to its charting success, in a rarity for a movie soundtrack, "Gonna Fly Now" is on the regular playlist on '70s on 7 on Sirius XM Radio.


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
1977 Canadian RPM Top Singles 8
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[2] 22
US Billboard Hot 100[3] 1
2007 US Hot Ringtones (Billboard)[4] 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.

The alternate version featuring the children's choir was used in the 1983 film Mr. Mom.

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.

It was used in the Will Smith (who's from Philadelphia) NBC sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, for the Season 4 (episode 26, the season finale) episode The Philadelphia Story. When Will's training to fight a bully that used to beat him up in school, the music plays in the background of his training sessions, and as he's running up the Philadelphia Art Museum, as Rocky Balboa did in the Rocky movie.

The song has been used as the main theme for France's daily radio comedy program Les Grosses Têtes since 1977.

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 song was used in the November 2002 Gilmore Girls episode "They Shoot the Gilmores, Don’t They?". Kirk is seen celebrating to the song after he wins the dance-a-thon.

The song is also available in the Sega game Samba de Amigo.

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.[episode needed]

The song was also played in one of Despicable Me 2's mini-movies, "Training Wheels", in which Agnes is 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.

The song appears in a 2014 commercial for JBL.[citation needed]


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