Articles Comments

» 1970s » Gonna Fly Now (Theme From Rocky) – Bill Conti

Gonna Fly Now (Theme From Rocky) – Bill Conti

Rocky Original Soundtrack featuring Gonna Fly NowI still remember the first time I heard the theme from Rocky. I was riding in my parent’s Ford Country Squire station wagon when the song came on the AM radio.

I suddenly wanted to leap from my seat and bash through the window so I could run alongside the station wagon.

With “Gonna Fly Now” playing in my head, I was going to conquer my fear of snakes. I was going to eat four McDonald’s cheeseburgers in eight bites. I was going to kiss a girl and she was going to kiss me back. I was going to be the champion kick-soccer player in my third-grade classroom.

I was going to be invincible.

All this happened long before I realized that “Gonna Fly Now” was the backdrop to one of the most iconic music montage training sessions in film history that culminates on “the Rocky steps” in Philadelphia, PA.

All I knew is that “Gonna Fly Now” was the greatest song I had ever heard and I needed to buy the record immediately. I persuaded my parents to drive to the nearby Grand Central store where I plunked down $7.98 for the Original Soundtrack to Rocky and tore open the plastic sleeve as we rode home in the car.

I breathlessly dropped the needle and listened to “Gonna Fly Now” non-stop for the next hour. Eventually I discovered the rest of the album. Sure, there were some dramatic pieces in the same vein as “Gonna Fly Now.” But they weren’t “Gonna Fly Now.” Nothing was that emotional, that powerful, that, well, flight-inspiring.

Listen to Gonna Fly Now (Theme From Rocky) by Bill Conti

America LOVED “Gonna Fly Now” enough to push it to #1 on the Billboard Top 40 in 1977. That turned composer Bill Conti into a one-hit wonder and a household name (at least for a few years). Conti never again reached the Billboard Top 40 even though he gained steady work as a film composer, adding the soundtracks to For Your Eyes Only and The Karate Kid to his growing list of credits. He also wrote the themes to the TV dramas Falcon Crest and Dynasty. Can you say 80s pop cultural guru?

Click to hear other Billboard number-one hit one-hit wonders

But Bill Conti’s version wasn’t enough for American ears. We also enjoyed Maynard Ferguson’s version of “Gonna Fly Now” in 1977 that also reached #28 on the Billboard Top 40.

Ferguson’s version is an example of an instrumental one-hit wonder. Even though Bill Conti’s version includes a few sung parts (“Gonna Fly Now/Getting Strong Now”), I think it’s fair to consider “Gonna Fly Now” an instrumental one-hit wonder as well.

Click to hear more instrumental one-hit wonders

It was a good year to like songs inspired by boxing movies. And when Sylvester Stallone won an Academy Award for Rocky, it was clear it was a good year to be a Stallone. As a trivial side note, Sly Stallone’s brother Frank Stallone is also a one-hit wonder for “Far From Over” from Staying Alive, a follow-up to Saturday Night Fever.

Written by

I'm an obsessive music collector, cataloger, commenter and trivia nut. Sometimes I'm even a listener. One-hit wonders have always been a guilty pleasure.

Filed under: 1970s · Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Reply