Wish I Could Fly
|"Wish I Could Fly"|
|Single by Roxette|
|from the album Have a Nice Day|
|Released||1 February 1999|
|Recorded||January; March 1998|
|Studio||El Cortijo Studios, Marbella|
Polar Studios, Stockholm
|Roxette singles chronology|
Artwork for the 2000 US version of the single
"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
"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." 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." 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.
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.
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.
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. 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. It was certified gold in both territories for shipments in excess of 25,000 and 15,000 units, respectively. The single also made the top ten in Finland and Iceland, the top twenty in Belgium, Norway and Switzerland, and the top thirty in Germany, the Netherlands, and the Polish Airplay Chart. It peaked within the top twenty of Billboard's European Hot 100 Singles.
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. "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. 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. 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.
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. 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. The song went on to peak at number 27 on Billboard's Adult Contemporary Chart, and at number forty on Adult Top 40.
Formats and track listings
All songs written by Per Gessle.
- Recorded at Polar Studios in Stockholm, Sweden in January 1998 and El Cortijo Studios in Marbella, Spain in March 1998.
- Mixed by Marie Fredriksson, Per Gessle, Michael Ilbert and Clarence Öfwerman at Mono Music, Stockholm.
- Marie Fredriksson – lead and background vocals and production
- Per Gessle – background vocals, acoustic guitar, string arrangements and production
- Micke "Nord" Andersson – twelve string acoustic and Rickenbacker guitars
- Michael Ilbert – programming, engineering, string arrangements and production
- Jonas Isacsson – additional bass guitar
- Christer Jansson – tom-toms and cymbals
- Christoffer Lundquist – background vocals and extended-range bass
- Clarence Öfwerman – keyboards, programming and production
- Mats "MP" Persson – string arrangements
- Stockholms Nya Kammarorkester (credited as SNYKO) – strings
*sales figures based on certification alone
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- Information adapted to text from video.
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