I Believe I Can Fly

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"I Believe I Can Fly"
Single by R. Kelly
from the album R. and Space Jam: Music from and Inspired by the Motion Picture
ReleasedNovember 26, 1996 (1996-11-26)
RecordedAugust 1996
Songwriter(s)Robert Kelly
Producer(s)R. Kelly
R. Kelly singles chronology
"I Can't Sleep Baby (If I)"
"I Believe I Can Fly"
"Gotham City"
Music video
"I Believe I Can Fly" on YouTube

"I Believe I Can Fly" is a 1996 song written and performed by American singer R. Kelly, from the soundtrack to the 1996 film Space Jam. It was originally released on November 26, 1996, and was later included on Kelly's 1998 album R.

In early 1997, "I Believe I Can Fly" reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100; it was kept from the number one spot by Toni Braxton's "Un-Break My Heart". Although Kelly has had two number one songs on the pop chart, "I Believe I Can Fly" is his most successful single. It reached the number-one spot of the Billboard R&B Singles Chart and remained there for six non-consecutive weeks, keeping "Un-Break My Heart" from the top position of that chart for four of those weeks. "I Believe I Can Fly" also topped the charts in eight countries (including the United Kingdom), has won three Grammy Awards, and was ranked number 406 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in 2004. The music video was directed by Kelly with Hype Williams[1] and designed by visual artist and designer, Ron Norsworthy.


Cover versions[edit]

In film and television[edit]

Other than appearing on the soundtrack for the film Space Jam, "I Believe I Can Fly" was performed by the school band in the movie Drumline during the high school graduation ceremony of Devon Miles (Nick Cannon).

Other performances[edit]

Kelly performed his song at the 40th Annual Grammy Awards.

In The TP-2.com Tour, Kelly performed a 10-minute long remix of "I Believe I Can Fly," which included dialogue from a priest, Kelly's mother, and God as characters. The remix was later featured on the bootleg release Loveless.[5][6]

STS-122 crew heard this song on flight day 10 as a wake up call.[7]

Since its release, it has become commonly associated with the NBA, most notably with Michael Jordan. The song also played at the conclusion of NBC's broadcast of the 1997 NBA Finals.[8]

In addition to the NBA, the song also found use at other sporting events, most notably at Major League Baseball's New York Yankees home games during their four consecutive World Series runs from 1998 to 2001, the first three of which they won.

A version of the song, recorded by the Halifax community choir, was used as the backing track to a 2012 UK TV advertisement for the Halifax Bank.[9]

On October 13, 2012, when the Space Shuttle Endeavour was being transferred from Los Angeles International Airport to the California Science Center through the streets of Los Angeles, the recording was played as the shuttle left The Forum, and the song was performed live by James Ingram later that day at Debbie Allen's live show celebrating the Endeavour's arrival at the corner of Crenshaw Blvd and Martin Luther King Blvd. (The shuttle was delayed over five hours in arriving there; to keep the crowd entertained, the performance went on only slightly delayed.)


  • In the 1999 episode "The Best of Both Worlds" of the animated TV series KaBlam!, in the Life with Loopy segment, the song was spoofed as "I (Don't) Believe I Can Fly."
  • In 2013, the song was parodied by sports radio show Tim & Sid, spoofing the song as "I Believe in Masai", in reference to Toronto Raptors General Manager Masai Ujiri.
  • In 2016, the song was parodied as "I'm Convinced I Can Swim" by "Art Smelly" from the soundtrack to the hit film Earth Jelly in an episode of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

Charts and certifications[edit]


  1. ^ "mvdbase.com - R. Kelly - "I believe I can fly" This song hit top charts in the united states".
  2. ^ "Dressed to Chill overview". Allmusic.com.
  3. ^ "Dressed to Chill Marion Meadows". JazzTimes.com.
  4. ^ "GLEE: The New Directions Perform Fly/I Believe I Can Fly on Perez TV". Archived from the original on 2013-12-03.
  5. ^ Sanneh, Kelefa (8 Sep 2002). "THE NEW SEASON/MUSIC; The Adventures Of 'Loveland'". The New York Times. Retrieved 25 Jul 2018.
  6. ^ "R. Kelly Vows To Clamp Down As New Bootleg Hits Streets". MTV. 21 May 2002. Retrieved 25 Jul 2018.
  7. ^ NASA (2008). "STS-122 Wakeup Calls". NASA. Archived from the original on February 17, 2008. Retrieved February 16, 2008.
  8. ^ 1997 NBA Finals Tribute on YouTube
  9. ^ "Halifax unveil home insurance ad with Adam and Eve". The Drum. Retrieved 2012-11-08.
  10. ^ "Australian-charts.com – R. Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  11. ^ "Austriancharts.at – R. Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  12. ^ "Ultratop.be – R. Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  13. ^ "Ultratop.be – R. Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly" (in French). Ultratop 50.
  14. ^ "Lescharts.com – R. Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly" (in French). Les classement single.
  15. ^ "Musicline.de – R. Kelly Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  16. ^ "Íslenski Listinn NR. 215 Vikuna 3.4. '97 - 9.4. '97" (PDF). Dagblaðið Vísir. April 4, 1997. p. 16. Retrieved April 8, 2018.
  17. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – R. Kelly" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  18. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – R. Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly" (in Dutch). Single Top 100.
  19. ^ "Norwegiancharts.com – R. Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly". VG-lista.
  20. ^ "Swedishcharts.com – R. Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly". Singles Top 100.
  21. ^ "R Kelly: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  22. ^ "Official Dance Singles Chart Top 40". officialcharts.com.
  23. ^ "Official R&B Singles Chart Top 40". officialcharts.com.
  24. ^ "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts". GfK Entertainment (in German). offiziellecharts.de. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  25. ^ "End of Year Charts 1997". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved December 4, 2017.
  26. ^ "UK Top 100 - 1997". Retrieved 2010-08-28.
  27. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1997". Archived from the original on 2009-06-11. Retrieved 2010-08-28.
  28. ^ "R&B Rap Hip-Hop Year-End Charts - 1997 - Soul System".
  29. ^ Geoff Mayfield (December 25, 1999). 1999 The Year in Music Totally '90s: Diary of a Decade - The listing of Top Pop Albums of the '90s & Hot 100 Singles of the '90s. Billboard. Retrieved October 15, 2010.
  30. ^ "Austrian single certifications – Kelly R. – I Believe I Can Fly" (in German). IFPI Austria. Enter Kelly R. in the field Interpret. Enter I Believe I Can Fly in the field Titel. Select single in the field Format. Click Suchen. 
  31. ^ "Ultratop − Goud en Platina – singles 1997". Ultratop. Hung Medien.
  32. ^ "French single certifications – R. Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique.
  33. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (R. Kelly; 'I Believe I Can Fly')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  34. ^ "New Zealand single certifications – R. Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly". Recorded Music NZ.
  35. ^ "Norwegian single certifications – R. Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway.
  36. ^ "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (R. Kelly; 'I Believe I Can Fly')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien.
  37. ^ "British single certifications – R. Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly". British Phonographic Industry. Select singles in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type I Believe I Can Fly in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  38. ^ "American single certifications – Kelly, R. – I Believe I Can Fly". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH. 
  39. ^ "Best-Selling Records of 1996". Billboard. BPI Communications Inc. 109 (3): 61. January 18, 1997. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 9, 2015.
  40. ^ "Best-Selling Records of 1997". Billboard. BPI Communications Inc. 110 (5): 76. January 31, 1998. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 9, 2015.

External links[edit]