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Gonna Fly Now (Theme From Rocky) – Maynard Ferguson

Conquistador by Maynard Ferguson featuring Gonna Fly Now (Theme from Rocky)Here’s an unexpected twist for you: two versions of Bill Conti’s “Gonna Fly Now” hit the Billboard Top 40 in 1977.

The first and most successful version is by Bill Conti from the official soundtrack recording of Rocky. This is the song that makes you want to drink raw eggs and run until you puke. It hit #1 on the Billboard Top 40 and also won a Grammy Award for Best Original Song in 1977.

Then there is this version by jazz trumpeter Maynard Ferguson. As a kid, I always preferred the Bill Conti version. It was the original. It was what I heard first and I really only had room for one great Rocky version in my brain.

But over the years, Ferguson’s version of “Gonna Fly Now” has grown on me. Perhaps it’s the man’s ridiculous ability to hold high notes on the trumpet longer than anyone this side of Dizzy Gillespie. Listen to the high notes. That’s not easy, folks.

Listen to Gonna Fly Now (Theme From Rocky) by Maynard Ferguson

“Gonna Fly Now” reached #28 on the Billboard Top 40 in 1977 and turned Maynard Ferguson into a one-hit wonder — at least in the pop music world. In the jazz world, Ferguson had a long, successful career and accumulated legions of fans and admirers.

Although “Gonna Fly Now” has a few words, I’m still considering an instrumental one-hit wonder.

Click to hear more instrumental one-hit wonders

Bill Conti’s version of “Gonna Fly Now” remains the standard. But this is a strong imitation.

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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.

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