Gonna Fly Now

"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 often played at sporting events, especially in Philadelphia.

"Gonna Fly Now"
Single by Bill Conti
from the album Rocky – Original Motion Picture Score
ReleasedFebruary 28, 1977
LabelUnited Artists
Songwriter(s)Bill Conti, Carol Connors, Ayn Robbins
Producer(s)Bill Conti
Bill Conti singles chronology
"Gonna Fly Now"


The song (whose lyrics are only 30 words long) was nominated for an Oscar and ODT Awards 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 1977, while a version by jazz trumpeter Maynard Ferguson hit the top 30. Disco versions by Rhythm Heritage[1] 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.[2] 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.


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 "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, as does its sequel, Creed II.


Chart performance

Weekly charts

Rhythm Heritage
Chart (1977) Peak
Canada RPM Top Singles[4] 92
US Billboard Hot 100[5] 94
US Billboard Adult Contemporary 49
Bill Conti
Maynard Ferguson
Chart (1977) Peak
Canada RPM Top Singles[16] 55
US Billboard Hot 100[5] 28
US Billboard Adult Contemporary 46
US Cash Box Top 100[17] 31

Due to its original use, the song (or a soundalike of it) is used frequently in various forms of popular media where a main character is forced to train hard in order to defeat an opponent, often during a montage sequence.

American politician and former Vice President Walter Mondale used "Gonna Fly Now" as his campaign song in 1984.

Renditions of the song without lyrics were used by the groundbreaking Toronto newscast CityPulse beginning in 1976, with an arrangement by Maynard Ferguson. The theme was subsequently remixed and rearranged every few years, until sometime in the 2000s.

French radio

The daily French radio program Les Grosses Têtes, on the RTL French radio network, use an arrangement by Gaya Bécaud from “Gonna Fly Now”.[18]


  1. Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 199.
  2. Billboard Year-End Hot 100 singles of 1976
  3. "INTERVIEW: Bill Conti "I always wanted to play the big loud stuff"". Gigslutz. 2016-11-07. Retrieved 2019-06-05.
  4. "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. 1977-04-16. Retrieved 2019-10-16.
  5. Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955–1990 - ISBN 0-89820-089-X
  6. Kent, David (1993). Australian Chart Book 1970–1992. St Ives, N.S.W.: Australian Chart Book. ISBN 0-646-11917-6.
  7. "Charts.nz – Bill Conti – Gonna Fly Now". Top 40 Singles. Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  8. "Bill Conti Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved August 10, 2013.
  9. Whitburn, Joel (1993). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961–1993. Record Research. p. 58.
  10. Cash Box Top 100 Singles, June 25, 1977
  11. Bill Conti – Gonna Fly Now – Awards. Allmusic. Rovi Corporation. Accessed on August 10, 2013.
  12. "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved April 16, 2019.
  13. "Forum – 1970 (ARIA Charts: Special Occasion Charts)". Australian-charts.com. Archived from the original on 2016-10-20. Retrieved 2017-05-07.
  14. "Top 200 Singles of '77 – Volume 28, No. 14, December 31 1977". RPM. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved October 21, 2017.
  15. Musicoutfitters.com
  16. "Item Display - RPM - Library and Archives Canada". Collectionscanada.gc.ca. 1977-07-09. Retrieved 2019-10-16.
  17. Cash Box Top 100 Singles, June 18, 1977
  18. Référence à Bill Conti et Gaya Bécaud sur le site des fans des Grosses Têtes
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