For the summer of 1977, radio listeners were all about the theme song from the film Rocky: Gonna Fly Now.
Composed by Bill Conti, with lyrics by Carol Connors and Ayn Robbins, the song was chosen as the theme song for the film and was sung by DeEtta West and Nelson Pigford.
Interesting note to this song – the lyrics are only 30 words:
It’s so hard now
Trying hard now
Coming on, now
Gettin’ strong now
Flyin’ high now
Gonna fly, fly, fly, fly
The film was released in November 1976 and the soundtrack was released soon after, produced by Bill Conti.
For the film the song was recorded with an orchestra, but another version was also done, by jazz musician Maynard Ferguson, which had a more disco sound. That version of the song hit the top 30 disco charts.
The song was used in the film when the main character ran through Philadelphia during training, and up the steps which became a main moment of the film.
Conti’s orchestral version steadily climbed up the Billboard Hot 100 charts, and hit number one in July 1977. The song was certified gold by the RIAA, with one million sales of the song.
The song is intrisically tied to Philadelphia and is played regularly at sporting events and events throughout the city since 1976.