Wish I Could Fly

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"Wish I Could Fly"
Roxette Wish I Could Fly.jpg
Single by Roxette
from the album Have a Nice Day
B-side"Happy Together"
Released1 February 1999
RecordedJanuary; March 1998
StudioEl Cortijo Studios, Marbella
Polar Studios, Stockholm
  • Roxette Recordings
  • EMI
Songwriter(s)Per Gessle
Roxette singles chronology
"No sé si es amor"
"Wish I Could Fly"
Alternative Cover
Artwork for the 2000 US version of the single
Artwork for the 2000 US version of the single
Music video
"Wish I Could Fly" on YouTube

"Wish I Could Fly" is a song by Swedish pop music duo Roxette, released on 1 February 1999 as the lead single from their sixth studio album, Have a Nice Day. An orchestral pop ballad containing elements of electronica, the song was written as an experiment by Per Gessle, who was attempting to establish if a prominently-placed drum loop would fit alongside a large orchestra. The track became a sizable hit for the duo, peaking inside the top twenty of Billboard's European Hot 100 Singles, and was the most-played song on European radio of 1999. It would also become their final top 40 hit on the UK Singles Chart.

Composition and style[edit]

"Wish I Could Fly" is an orchestral pop ballad which contains elements of electronica. According to the liner notes of the duo's 2002 compilation The Ballad Hits, the song was written by Per Gessle as an experiment to "see how a drum machine loop would fit with a big orchestra, but it quickly evolved into something more substantial."[1] Vocalist Marie Fredriksson has described it as a "very special song to me. One of my all-time favourite Roxette songs. I never get tired of this."[2] A Spanish-language version of the song, titled "Quisiera volar", was included as a bonus track on deluxe edition versions of Have a Nice Day.[3]

According to Ultimate Guitar, "Wish I Could Fly" has a moderately slow tempo of 80 beats per minute. The song is composed around a complex, orchestra-performed chord progression, however, its basic chord structure consists of four repetitions of an A♯–F–Gm–A♯–C sequence during the introduction. Each verse is composed of four repetitions of a Gm–A♯–C sequence, followed by a chorus consisting of F–Dm–Gm–C–F–D♯–A♯–C. The bridge is made up of three progressions of G–C–G–D, followed by two short progressions of a Dm–F–G sequence, while the outro is based around three elongated bars of Cm–D♯–F.[4]

Music video[edit]

The music video of the song was directed by long-time collaborator Jonas Åkerlund, and consists of a compilation of brief shots of different people's lives, prominently featuring Marie alone in her apartment yearning for a missed lover. Shots are sequenced through a moving spotlight that shines through the darkness, illuminating scenes of lovers sleeping or having sex, prostitutes, streets, buses and metro stations, as well as various inanimate objects. In one of those shots, we see Per with his one year old son Gabriel.[5][6]

Commercial performance[edit]

The song became a sizable hit for the duo, peaking within the top thirty of numerous record charts throughout Europe and ending 1999 as the most-played song on European radio.[7] The single charted highest in Hungary, where it reached number one and in both Italy and the duo's native Sweden, reaching number four in both countries.[8][9] It was certified gold in both territories for shipments in excess of 25,000 and 15,000 units, respectively.[10][11] The single also made the top ten in Finland[12] and Iceland, the top twenty in Belgium, Norway and Switzerland,[13][14][15] and the top thirty in Germany, the Netherlands, and the Polish Airplay Chart.[16][17][18] It peaked within the top twenty of Billboard's European Hot 100 Singles.[19]

Roxette performed the song at numerous high-profile events in the UK, including the annual televised Party in the Park concert at London's Hyde Park, and on BBC One's Top of the Pops.[20] "Wish I Could Fly" peaked at number 11 on the UK Singles Chart, making it their highest-charting single in the country since "Almost Unreal" reached number seven in 1993, although it would also prove to be their final top forty hit in the UK.[21] Similarly, the song peaked at number 11 on the singles charts of both Austria and Spain, also peaking at number one on the Spanish Airplay Chart.[22][23] It became the duo's first single since "The Big L." in 1992 to enter the French Singles Chart, albeit spending six weeks on the chart and peaking at number 80.[24]

While Have a Nice Day was not released in the United States, an updated and repackaged edition of their 1995 compilation Don't Bore Us, Get to the Chorus! Roxette's Greatest Hits was released there in September 2000 by Edel Records.[3] This new edition of the compilation included "Wish I Could Fly" and subsequent single "Stars", with the former being serviced to adult contemporary radio formats from July 2000.[7] The song went on to peak at number 27 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Chart, and at number forty on Adult Top 40.[25][26]

Formats and track listings[edit]

All songs written by Per Gessle.


Credits adapted from the liner notes of The Ballad Hits.[1]




Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Italy (FIMI)[10] Gold 25,000*
Sweden (GLF)[11] Gold 15,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone


  1. ^ a b Lindström, Sven (2002). The Ballad Hits (CD liner notes). Roxette. Capitol Records. 72435 42798-2 9.
  2. ^ "Digital booklet". Don't Bore Us, Get to the Chorus! Roxette's Greatest Hits (liner notes). Roxette. Stockholm, Sweden: Edel Records America. 2000. ED182052.CS1 maint: others (link)
  3. ^ a b Thorselius, Robert (May 2003). The Look for Roxette: The Illustrated Worldwide Discography & Price Guide (1st ed.). Sweden: Premium Förlag Publishing. ISBN 978-9197189484.
  4. ^ "Wish I Could Fly by Roxette chords". Ultimate-Guitar.com. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  5. ^ Ballad & Pop Hits – The Complete Video Collection (DVD liner notes). Roxette. EMI. 2003. 7243 4 90946-9 7.CS1 maint: others (link)
  6. ^ Information adapted to text from video.
  7. ^ a b Michael Paoletta (29 July 2000). "Reviews & Previews | Spotlight | Roxette - "Wish I Could Fly"". Billboard. Nielsen Holdings PLC. 112 (31): 23. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  8. ^ a b c "Hit Parade Italia - Top Annuali Single: 1999" (in Italian). Federation of the Italian Music Industry. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  9. ^ a b "Swedishcharts.com – Roxette – Wish I Could Fly". Singles Top 100. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  10. ^ a b "Italian single certifications – Roxette – Wish I Could Fly" (in Italian). Federazione Industria Musicale Italiana. Retrieved 28 June 2017. Select "1999" in the "Anno" drop-down menu. Select "Wish I Could Fly" in the "Filtra" field. Select "Singoli online" under "Sezione".
  11. ^ a b "Guld- och Platinacertifikat − År 1999" (PDF) (in Swedish). IFPI Sweden. Retrieved 10 March 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Roxette: Wish I Could Fly" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  13. ^ a b "Ultratop.be – Roxette – Wish I Could Fly" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  14. ^ a b "Norwegiancharts.com – Roxette – Wish I Could Fly". VG-lista. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  15. ^ a b "Swisscharts.com – Roxette – Wish I Could Fly". Swiss Singles Chart. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  16. ^ a b "Offiziellecharts.de – Roxette – Wish I Could Fly". GfK Entertainment Charts. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  17. ^ a b "Nederlandse Top 40 – Roxette" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  18. ^ a b "Lista Przebojów Trójki - Polskie Radio Online: Notowanie nr893 - 12 marca 1999". Polskie Radio (in Polish). 12 March 1999. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  19. ^ Dominic Pride (20 March 1999). "After years together, EMI's Roxette finds freedom in owning its rights". Billboard. Nielsen Holdings PLC. 111 (12): 16, 23. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  20. ^ Brendon Veevers (20 November 2013). "Renowned for Sound | Record Rewind: Roxette – Have a Nice Day". Renowned for Sound. Retrieved 23 June 2017.
  21. ^ a b "Roxette: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  22. ^ a b c Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.
  23. ^ a b "Austriancharts.at – Roxette – Wish I Could Fly" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  24. ^ a b "Lescharts.com – Roxette – Wish I Could Fly" (in French). Les classement single. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  25. ^ a b "Roxette Chart History (Adult Contemporary)". Billboard. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  26. ^ a b "Roxette Chart History (Adult Pop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  27. ^ Ryan, Gavin (2011). Australia's Music Charts 1988-2010. Mt. Martha, VIC, Australia: Moonlight Publishing.
  28. ^ "Brazilian Singles Chart Archive" (PDF). Associação Brasileira dos Produtores de Discos. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  29. ^ "Top RPM Adult Contemporary: Issue 8359." RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  30. ^ "Eurochart Hot 100 Singles" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  31. ^ "Top 10 Greece" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved 26 June 2018.
  32. ^ "Top 10 Hungary" (PDF). Music & Media. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  33. ^ "Íslenski Listinn NR. 313 Vikuna 5.3. - 12.3. 1999" (PDF). Dagblaðið Vísir. 5 March 1999. p. 10. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
  34. ^ "Tokio Hot 100 - Hits! in Tokio | Week of March 14, 1995". Billboard. 111 (14): 83. 3 April 1999. ISSN 0006-2510.
  35. ^ "Dutchcharts.nl – Roxette – Wish I Could Fly" (in Dutch). Single Top 100. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  36. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". The Official Charts Company. 14 March 1999. Retrieved 28 June 2017.
  37. ^ "Sverigetopplistan > Sök Alla Listar > Årslista > Singlar > 1999". Sverigetopplistan (in Swedish). Retrieved 29 June 2017.

External links[edit]