Bill Conti, Rocky (1976)
At some point – a few years back – I started to think of Gonna Fly Now as one of the greatest pieces of music ever. The irony that I might have been attempting was so deep that I couldn’t work out my true feelings about this piece of music. All I knew was that a) I always felt elated when I heard the famous training montage music and b) it is surely a sound that every high-school concert band thinks they are capable of. There’s a moment, just a half-a-second or so where, after that initial fanfare heralding, the note drops very deep. And that’s the moment of elation. I’ve been thinking about what a great piece it would be for DJing also. It could segue in or out of any kitsch elements; it could start or end an evening. I had the song as my phone-ring for about a year. And I realised I had gotten fixated when I would leave the phone to ring, miss the call and then ring back. I just wanted to hear the piece right through. All I had was a compilation of all the Rocky music. But that wasn’t actually the full story. I wanted the soundtrack to the first film. Instead, for a while, all I could find was Rocky III’s score. Worth it, sure, for Eye Of The Tiger but it doesn’t have the version of Gonna Fly Now. Recently I found this nice LP copy of the first Rocky film’s score. It is, to me, Bill Conti’s finest hour. It was certainly the making of him. And with pieces like Philadelphia Morning there is a lot more in this score, as an album, than just Gonna Fly Now. That said, my god I still think that’s an extraordinary piece of music. It’s been parodied and used for parodies and it still has exactly that piece of film-score gold; it contains the secret, the right set of sounds. It is – as it suggests it wants to be in its very sound – a triumph.
Sample Track: Gonna Fly Now
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