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GONNA FLY NOW

Gonna Fly Now

from the album Rocky – Original Motion Picture Score
B-side “Reflections”
Released February 28, 1977
Format 7″
Genre Orchestral, Rock
Length 2:48
Label United Artists
Writer(s) Bill Conti, Carol Connors, Ayn Robbins
Producer(s) Bill Conti

“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 West 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 are 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 1976, 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 1976.[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 V, two different versions of the song are played: an instrumental horn version and a different orchestral version. 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. Creed samples the first few notes of the track during the film’s last fight.