Falling Slowly

"Falling Slowly" is a song in the indie folk and indie rock genres that was written, composed and performed by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. The song was featured on the soundtrack of the 2007 Irish musical romance film Once, which starred Hansard and Irglová, and for which it won the Academy Award for Best Original Song at the 80th Academy Awards.[1] The song was also recorded by Hansard's band The Frames.

"Falling Slowly"
Single by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová
from the album Once soundtrack
ReleasedApril 21, 2006 (The Swell Season)
September 22, 2006 (The Cost)
May 22, 2007 (Once soundtrack)
February 2008 (radio single)
GenreIndie folk
indie rock
Length4:50 (Album Version)
4:04 (Soundtrack Version)
4:35 (The Frames Version)
LabelOvercoat Recordings
Songwriter(s)Glen Hansard
Markéta Irglová
Producer(s)Glen Hansard


The song was written and composed while Once was in production. The film's director and screenwriter, John Carney, developed the script around songs which Hansard and Irglová had provided to him.[2] In the movie, the duo play the song in Walton's music shop in Dublin, with Hansard on guitar and Irglová on piano. The couple performed it at gigs in various European venues over the next two years.[3] Versions appeared in 2006 on two albums: The Cost, which Hansard's band The Frames recorded and released, and The Swell Season, an album on which Hansard and Irglová collaborated.[4] According to the "First Showing" article:

After almost getting her acceptance speech skipped and almost not getting to say a word for her acceptance at the 2008 ceremony after their Oscar win, Irglova made a speech about the song in which at the end of the speech she says, "This song was written from a perspective of hope, and hope at the end of the day connects us all, no matter how different we are..."[5]


The song charted at #16 in the Irish Singles Chart when The Frames first released it. The Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová version charted at #28 in December 2007, before peaking at #2 in March 2008, following the song's Oscar win. It sold 944,000 digital downloads in the United States.[6]

Chart (2008) Peak
position [7]
Brazil (ABPD)[8] 51
Irish Singles Chart 2
Canadian Hot 100 8
US Billboard Hot 100 61


"Falling Slowly" was nominated for a 2008 Grammy, for Best Song Written For Motion Picture, Television Or Other Visual Media; it lost to "Love You I Do" from Dreamgirls.[9]

The song won the Academy Award for Best Original Song on 24 February 2008, beating out the choral gospel song "Raise It Up" from August Rush and three songs from the modern Disney musical Enchanted.[4] The win marked the fourth year in a row that the Oscar-winning song had not been nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Original Song.

Earlier the song's eligibility for an Oscar was in dispute because it had been performed and recorded prior to the release of Once.[4] The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences ruled, however, that because the song had been written and composed for the movie, and because the prior public exposure during the long period that the movie took to produce had been minimal, it remained eligible.[3] The Academy had ruled likewise on a similar controversy involving 2004 Best Original Song nominee "In the Deep."

Cover versions

"Falling Slowly" appears on the original cast album of the stage adaptation of Once, performed by Steve Kazee and Cristin Milioti; this album won the Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album.[10]

It has been covered by synthpop group Joy Electric on their 2009 covers album, Favorites at Play.[11]

In season 8 of American Idol, Kris Allen covered the song during a night titled "Songs from the Cinema".

Derek Webb recorded a cover of the song on his democratically selected cover album Democracy, Vol. 2.[12]

The song also has been covered by the operatic pop group Il Divo on their album Wicked Game as a Spanish rendition, as “Falling Slowly (Te Prometo)”.[13]

It is covered it on Celtic Thunder's Voyage album in 2012.[14]

Josh Groban covered it on his 2013 album All That Echoes.[15]

Louise Dearman and Shayne Ward released a version on 17 February 2014.[16]

Australians Kate Ceberano and David Campbell released a version on 17 December 2014.[17]

English boy band Collabro covered the song on the special edition of their Stars album on 15 August 2014.[18]

Welsh singer John Owen-Jones featured the song on his most recent album, Rise, released in March 2015.[19]

In April 2015, as a one-time promotional event for the Toronto stage production of Once, Mirvish Productions invited local guitarists to perform the song with the cast. Producers predicted about a hundred participants; ultimately 926 guitarists performed in the event.[20]

Episode 29 (season 2) of Last Man on Earth was titled "Falling Slowly", in which the song was sung several times by characters Mike and Tandy, as well as featuring prominently in the plot of the next three episodes.

The song was covered by husband and wife duo, actors Nathan West (who performs under the name East of Eli) and Chyler Leigh, who released the song, under the name "Westleigh", to their production studio, Modern Machine's Soundcloud.[21][22]

It has also been covered by member of K-pop group Exo (band), Park Chanyeol, on his Instagram account a couple of times.

In season 13 of The Voice, the song is covered by Addison Agen and Adam Levine.

During The Yogscast 2017 Christmas charity live streams, husband and wife duo Alex and Briony Turner covered the song.[23]

The song is covered in Season 2, Episode 6 of Good Trouble, "Twenty-Fine", by cast members Emma Hunton and Josh Pence.

Critical reception

Response to "Falling Slowly" was generally positive. Glen Hansard's and Marketa Irglova's performances of "Falling Slowly" on screen and on stage amazed so many people that even Bob Dylan wanted them to be his opening act on his World Tour.[24]

After Kris Allen's performance of "Falling Slowly" on American Idol, the song went from the 33rd most popular and downloaded song on iTunes to the 29th most popular and downloaded song. Though Allen's appearance was not one of American Idol judge Randy Jackson's favorite performances, it clearly moved the live studio audience before whom the installment of the show was being taped.[25]

Adam Levine and Addison Agen, the 2017 finalist on the thirteenth season of the U.S. The Voice performed the song as a duet in the 2017 Top 4 finalist stage of the performances.

The song was featured prominently on the Fox show, “Last Man on Earth” sung by Jason Sudekis and Will Forte.


  1. "Art I Love: Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova "Falling Slowly" from the film "Once" 2007". The MCB Project. Retrieved 2017-01-03.
  2. Martens, Todd (28 January 2008). "'Once' and the out-of-tune votes". The Envelope-Extended Play. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 May 2009.
  3. Martens, Todd (30 January 2008). "'Once' song eligible for Oscar". The Envelope-Extended Play. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 May 2009.
  4. The Carpetbagger (26 January 2008). "Song Getting the "Once" Over". The New York Times.
  5. "Once Actress Markéta Irglová's Wonderful Oscar Acceptance Speech". FirstShowing.net. 2008-02-24. Retrieved 2017-01-03.
  6. Trust, Gary (13 January 2015). "The Biggest Hot 100 Hits to Peak at Nos. 75-51". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 13 January 2015.
  7. "Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova - Falling Slowly worldwide chart positions and trajectories". aCharts.us. Retrieved March 15, 2008.
  8. "Brazil" (PDF). ABPD. October 6, 2001. Retrieved April 1, 2014.
  9. "Grammy 2008 Winners List". MTV Asia. 12 February 2008. Archived from the original on 23 July 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-21.
  10. "Past Winners Search". grammy.com. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  11. "Derek Webb - Digital Albums". derekwebb.com. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  12. "Wicked Game by Il Divo on Apple Music". apple.com. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  13. "VOYAGE CD - Celtic Thunder". celticthunder.com. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  14. "All That Echoes CD". joshgroban.com. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  15. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-03-09. Retrieved 2014-03-09.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. "Falling Slowly single". iTunes Australia. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  17. "Collabro on Apple Music". apple.com. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  18. "Rise by John Owen-Jones on Apple Music". apple.com. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  19. Otis, Daniel (26 April 2015). "More than 900 guitarists play along with the cast of Once". Toronto Star. Retrieved 12 June 2018.
  20. "WESTLEIGH Falling Slowly by Modern Machine". Soundcloud.
  21. Nicole Pomarico (16 December 2014). "Chyler Leigh and Husband Perform "Falling Slowly" From Once (AUDIO)". Wetpaint. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
  22. "Alex & Briony A.K.A. The Lovely Lady - Falling Slowly". Youtube.
  23. "Falling Slowly by Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova Songfacts". Songfacts.com. Retrieved 2017-01-03.
  24. Kate Ward (2009-04-15). "'American Idol': Will Kris Allen help boost sales of 'Once'? – EW.com". Popwatch.ew.com. Retrieved 2017-01-03.
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