Rocky • Theme Song / Gonna Fly Now

Gonna Fly Now, 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.

Gonna Fly Now eleased 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 often played at sporting events, especially in Philadelphia. Most notably, the Philadelphia Eagles play the song before the opening kick-off of every home game at Lincoln Financial Field.

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Rocky • Theme Song  Gonna Fly Now

Rocky Reception

The song (whose lyrics are only 30 words long) was nominated for Best Original Song at 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. 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.

Variations

In Rocky II, an alternative 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 “Reflections” from the first film, and “Gonna Fly Now” 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, as does its sequel, Creed II.

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