Falling Slowly

"Falling Slowly"
Song by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová from the album Once
Released April 21, 2006 (The Swell Season)
September 22, 2006 (The Cost)
May 22, 2007 (Once soundtrack)
February 2008 (radio single)
Length 4:50 (Album Version)
4:04 (Soundtrack Version)
4:35 (The Frames Version)
Label Overcoat Recordings
Writer(s) Glen Hansard, Markéta Irglová
Producer(s) Glen Hansard

"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 is featured in the 2007 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.


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]
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.[8]

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." According to the Academy rules, that song was disqualified because there was some dispute over whether or not it was written originally for the film.

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.[9]

It has been covered by synthpop group Joy Electric on their 2009 covers album, Favorites at Play.[10]

Derek Webb recorded a cover of the song on his democratically selected cover album Democracy, Vol. 2.[11]

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)”.[12]

It is covered it on Celtic Thunder's Voyage album in 2012.[13]

Josh Groban covered it on his 2013 album All That Echoes.[14]

Louise Dearman and Shayne Ward released a version on 17 February 2014.[15]

Australians Kate Ceberano and David Campbell released a version on 17 December 2014.[16]

English boy band Collabro covered the song on the special edition of their Stars album on 15 August 2014.[17]

Welsh singer John Owen-Jones featured the song on his most recent album, Rise, released in March 2015.[18]

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.

Critical reception

Response to "Falling Slowly" was generally positive.

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.[19]

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.[20]


  1. "Art I Love: Glen Hansard And Marketa Irglova "Falling Slowly: From the Film "Once," 2007. The MCG Project. 14 Feb 2013. Web. 3 Nov. 2013 http://themcbproject.com/art-i-love-glen-hansard-and-marketa-irglova-falling-slowly-from-the-film-once-2007/
  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. 1 2 Martens, Todd (30 January 2008). "'Once' song eligible for Oscar". The Envelope-Extended Play. Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 21 May 2009.
  4. 1 2 3 The Carpetbagger (26 January 2008). "Song Getting the "Once" Over". New York Times.
  5. "Once Actress Marketa Irglova's Wonderful Oscar Acceptance Speech." First Showing. 24 Feb. 2008. Web. 11 Nov. 2013. http://www.firstshowing.net/2008/once-actress-marketa-irglovas-wonderful-oscar-acceptance-speech/
  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. "Grammy 2008 Winners List". MTV Asia. 12 February 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-21.
  9. http://www.grammy.com/nominees/search?artist=&field_nominee_work_value=&year=All&genre=19
  10. http://www.joyelectric.com/albums/items/favorites-at-play.html
  11. http://derekwebb.com/digital-albums
  12. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/wicked-game/id473935818
  13. https://www.celticthunder.com/shop/cds/9-voyage-cd.html
  14. http://store.joshgroban.com/music/cds/all-that-echoes-cd.html
  15. http://ituneshut.blogspot.com.au/2014/02/single-louise-dearman-shayne-ward.html
  16. "Falling Slowly single". iTunes Australia. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  17. https://itunes.apple.com/us/artist/collabro/id474409866
  18. https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/rise/id965289932
  19. "'American Idol': Will Kris Allen Help Boost Sales of 'Once'?" EW.com. Entertainment Weekly, 15th Apr. 2009. Web. 06 Nov. 2013. http://popwatch.ew.com/2009/04/15/will-kris-allen/
  20. Songfacts. Web. Retrieved on 2 Nov. 2013 at http://www.songfacts.com/detail.php?id=10097
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