Rocky without the Music of Bill Conti – Fuggetaboutit!

So what does a guy named Cortello do upon his first visit to the City of Brotherly Love back in 1995? Walk in the footsteps of one of Philly’s most famous natives, Rocky Balboa. You might not have the same affinity for the movie that I do, but there’s a history here. When the original Rocky movie was released, I was 12 years old. My cousin and I would visit the “2nd run” movie theater in our neighborhood and stay and watch the movie over and over.

I told my son the story and had the joy of bringing him to the movies to see Rocky Balboa (or Rocky VI if you’re counting) in 2006. Although you know it’s coming and even though you’ve seen it before, the workout scene when the Rocky theme song (a.k.a. “Gonna Fly Now) begins to play still brings chills down my spine.

Because some of the successive movies in the Rocky series were so “over the top” so to to speak, it’s easy to forget how special that movie was, especially for its time. The movie garnered 10 Academy award nominations and 3 wins, including Best Picture and Best Director. All of these accomplishments came on a shoestring budget estimated at just over $1 million, and it spawned an era of movies about underdogs overcoming great odds.

And yes, one of those nominations was for Best Music, Original Song by Bill Conti (music), and Carol Connors and Ayn Robbins (lyrics – though the instrumental version is more well known, there was a vocal version as well).

My point in the context of this blog is that the scene that I am referencing (or scenes if you’re referring to the series) and the music that accompanies those scenes are inseparable. You simply can’t imagine it without the music.

(Side note: At one time, a statue of Rocky was dedicated at that location atop the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. After some art aficionados (or snobs?) complained, the statue was moved and placed at the stadium known as the Spectrum, but eventually returned to a grassy area aside the museum. At the top of the steps you will now find a set of Converse sneaker footprints, where tourists like me convene to stand in Rocky’s shoes!

The only reference that I could find to Rocky at the Philly Museum of Art Website was in these driving directions:

From the Art Museum

  • From the intersection of Art Museum Drive and Kelly Drive, turn right and pass in front of the Museum by the Rocky statue.)

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