I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)

"I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)"
Single by The Proclaimers
from the album Sunshine on Leith
Released August 1988 (UK)
June 1993 (USA)
2000 (re-released)
Recorded 1988
Length 3:37
Label Chrysalis
  • Charlie Reid
  • Craig Reid
Producer(s) Pete Wingfield
The Proclaimers singles chronology
"Make My Heart Fly"
"I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)"
"Sunshine on Leith"

"I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" is a song written and performed by Scottish duo The Proclaimers, and first released as the lead single from their 1988 album Sunshine on Leith. The song reached number 11 in the UK Singles Chart on its initial release, and it has since become their most popular song worldwide, initially becoming a number 1 hit in Iceland, before reaching number 1 in both Australia and New Zealand in early 1989.[1]

In 1993, following its appearance in the American film Benny & Joon, the song was released in North America and many other countries around the world, it reached the top five on both the US Billboard Hot 100 and Canadian Hot 100 charts.[2] In 2007 the Proclaimers re-recorded the song with English comedians Peter Kay and Matt Lucas for the UK's Comic Relief charity telethon, scoring a number one hit in the UK, outperforming their original UK singles performance.

"I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" has become a live staple at the Proclaimers' concerts. The duo played it at Edinburgh 50,000 – The Final Push at Murrayfield Stadium on 6 July 2005, the final concert of Live 8, to symbolise the conclusion of "The Long Walk to Justice".

The song was mainly written by Craig Reid in mid-1987 while waiting to travel to a Proclaimers concert in Aberdeen. Reid recalled, "I can remember sitting at the piano and the chords just came to me. I reckon I wrote the whole thing in 45 minutes. I knew that it was a good song, maybe even a single, but I had no idea how popular it would become."[3] Reid has said that the band's earnings from the song are about five times the rest of their catalogue combined.[1]

Track listing

All tracks written and composed by Charlie and Craig Reid, except where noted.

  1. "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" – 3:37
  2. "Better Days" – 3:14
  1. "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" – 3:37
  2. "Better Days" – 3:14
  3. "Teardrops" – 2:33
  1. "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" – 3:37
  2. "Better Days" – 3:14
  3. "Teardrops" – 2:33
  4. "I Can't Be Myself" (Merle Haggard) – 2:30

Charts and certifications

Peak positions

Chart (1988–89) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[4] 1
Ireland (IRMA)[5] 14
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[6] 1
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[7] 11
Chart (1993) Peak
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[8] 5
Belgium (Ultratop 50 Flanders)[9] 42
Canada (RPM)[10] 4
Germany (Official German Charts)[11] 40
Switzerland (Schweizer Hitparade)[12] 36
US Billboard Hot 100[13] 3

Year-end charts

Chart (1989) Position
Australia (ARIA)[14] 3
New Zealand (Recorded Music NZ)[15] 6


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[16] Gold 500,000double-dagger
United States (RIAA)[17] Gold 800,000[18]

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Comic Relief version

"(I'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles"
Single by The Proclaimers featuring Brian Potter & Andy Pipkin
Released 17 March 2007
Recorded 1988, 2007
Length 3:41
Label EMI
The Proclaimers chronology
"Restless Soul"
"(I'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles"
"Life with You"
Peter Kay chronology
"Is This the Way to Amarillo"
"(I'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles"
"The Winner's Song"

In 2007 the Proclaimers re-recorded the song with Peter Kay and Matt Lucas as their characters Brian Potter from Phoenix Nights and Andy Pipkin from Little Britain respectively. There is a slight change in the title of the song, with the parentheses placed around "I'm Gonna Be" rather than "500 Miles". The lyrics also include a change, with the words "roll 500 miles" replacing "walk 500 miles", because the characters Brian Potter and Andy Pipkin are both in wheelchairs. "(I'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles" was released as a charity single for Comic Relief immediately following its performance on the Comic Relief 2007: The Big One television show on BBC1 on 16 March 2007.[19] It reached number 3 on the official UK Singles Chart on download sales alone, and one week later reached number 1, where it remained for three weeks. It sold 126,000 copies in its first week, making it the biggest selling number one of the year up to that point.[20] Its sales were double that of the "official" Comic Relief single by Girls Aloud vs. Sugababes, and their cover of Aerosmith's "Walk This Way". The song ended 2007 as the year's 8th biggest-selling single in the UK.[21] The song was popular in Ireland as well, and peaked at #7 in Irish Singles Chart.

Kay also directed a video clip of the song featuring himself as Brian Potter, Lucas as Andy, David Walliams as Lou, The Proclaimers and an audience of celebrity guests, comprising Johnny Ball, David Beckham, David Bellamy, Dusty Bin, Tony Blackburn, Stan Boardman, Basil Brush, Bob the Builder, Bucks Fizz, Cannon and Ball, Bob Carolgees & Spit the Dog, Jasper Carrott, Keith Chegwin, Jimmy Cricket, Tess Daly, Bobby Davro (referred to in the lyrics), Carol Decker, Lesley Garrett, Clare Grogan, Paul Henry, Frazer Hines, Siobhan Redmond (credited as "Her off Holby City"), Elton John, The Krankies, Burt Kwouk, Bonnie Langford, Eddie Large, Michael Le Vell, Limahl, Kenny Lynch, Des Lynam, Timmy Mallett, Amanda Mealing, Jennie McAlpine, Terry Nutkins, Bill Oddie, Paul O'Grady, Postman Pat, Wendi Peters, Robert Powell, Rod, Jane and Freddy, Rupert the Bear, Showaddywaddy, Status Quo, Kathy Staff, Frank Sidebottom, Sonia, Dennis Taylor, David Tennant, Willie Thorne, Kate Thornton, Dave Lee Travis, Roy Walker, Louis Walsh, Pete Waterman, Lizzie Webb, Sally Whittaker, June Whitfield and Gary Wilmot. Osama bin Laden (then still a fugitive terrorist), Lord Lucan (missing since 1974) and Shergar (a kidnapped race horse) are also falsely credited as appearing in the video.

Track listing

  1. "(I'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles" – 3:41
  2. "(I'm Gonna Be) 500 Miles" (1988 Original Version) – 3:39

The enhanced CD and DVD also featured the promotional video for the song and a photo gallery.

Charts and certifications

Peak positions

Chart (2007) Peak
Ireland (IRMA)[22] 7
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[23] 1

Year-end charts

Chart (2007) Position
United Kingdom (Official Charts Company)[21] 8


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
United Kingdom (BPI)[24] Silver 200,000^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone

Originally recorded and released in 1988, the song was first a success only in countries such as the United Kingdom and Australia, later in 1993, it was included as one of the main themes of the 1993 American romantic comedy film Benny and Joon starring Johnny Depp and Mary Stuart Masterson; subsequently, due to its exposure during the film, "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" reached the top 3 on the U.S Billboard Hot 100 chart during the summer of that year.[25][2]

The song is often played in the warm up before the Scotland football team matches when playing at home at Hampden Park in Glasgow, and again when the team scores. The same is true for the Scottish Rugby team at Murrayfield Stadium although since 2013 a mashup version of the song mixed with David Guetta's "Titanium" and Midnight Oil's "Beds Are Burning"[26] has been used as well.

The song is also often played at Easter Road before Scottish Premiership side Hibernian's home matches. The song is also sometimes played when "Hibs" score a goal.

Scottish darts player Robert Thornton uses the song as his walk-on song.[27]

In 2007, Alvin and the Chipmunks covered the song, with minor lyric changes, for their video game Alvin and the Chipmunks.

At the end of the fourth series of the new Doctor Who, a video of the cast and crew of the show (as well as The Proclaimers themselves) singing and dancing along to the song was released, as a farewell to David Tennant, Russell T. Davies, and other key players in the show's development; hailing the shift into the Steven Moffat era of the show.

The song was also very popular in Spain in the late 1990s thanks to TV advertisements. It was a reference song for the ads of Retevisión, one of the first private telecommunications companies in Spain.[28]

The song is also featured on the How I Met Your Mother episode "Arrivederci, Fiero", in which it is revealed that the character Marshall has had a cassette tape with the song on it stuck in his car for years. Commentary on the song's unlimited replay value follows. It remained a running gag for the rest of the series.

This song is also featured on the Grey's Anatomy episode in season 9 "Readiness is All" when Matthew proposes to April in a surprise flash-mob to this song.

The song is featured in the movies Bachelorette, Identity Thief, Benny & Joon, Burke and Hare and Sunshine on Leith (film). It is also featured in the movie The Angels' Share directed by Ken Loach, which won the Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival in 2012.

A cover of the song was recorded by Down by Law on their album Punkrockacademyfightsong.

The song is sung in the television series The Cafe by Ralf Little and cast to close out the final episode of season one, "Deal or No Deal".

The song is also sung in the 2014 Australian film 500 Miles by the lead actor Pete Valley to the lead actress Ebony Nave in a quite iconic scene that is set in a small country town pub.

In 2011, the Daily Mail reported that the song inspired a fan, Ling Hsueh, to tease her boyfriend, Liu Peiwen, she would marry him only if he walked 1000 miles for her, and that he, not realizing that she was joking, set out to walk from his home in Anyang, China, to her home in Guangzhou, 1000 miles away.[29]

In 2015, Budweiser's Super Bowl ad features a cover version of this song by Sleeping at Last. In the same year it also laid the basis for song "Magna Carta 800 Years", which was a tribute to Magna Carta in the rebooted version of Horrible Histories.

This song appears in a commercial for Lunchables as a promotion for their new product, "kabobbles".

The song appeared in the fourth episode of Hindsight.

A cover of I'm gonna be (500 miles) performed by Mary Leay appears at the end of Pappys Christmas, A Sky arts Short Christmas production


  1. 1 2 Simpson, Dave (10 August 2015). "The Proclaimers: how we made I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)". theguardian.com. Retrieved 10 August 2015.
  2. 1 2 "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) - The Proclaimers". toponehitwonders.com. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  3. Thrills, Adrian (23 March 2007). "What a Relief! It's No.1 at Last". The Daily Mail. London, England: Daily Mail and General Trust.
  4. "Australian-charts.com – The Proclaimers – I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  5. "The Irish Charts – Search Results – I'm Gonna Be". Irish Singles Chart.
  6. "Charts.org.nz – The Proclaimers – I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)". Top 40 Singles.
  7. "Archive Chart: 1988-10-01" UK Singles Chart.
  8. "Austriancharts.at – The Proclaimers – I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  9. "Ultratop.be – The Proclaimers – I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  10. "RPM Top Singles, August 28, 1993". RPM, Vol. 58 No. 7. Library and Archives Canada. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  11. "Musicline.de – The Proclaimers Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  12. "Swisscharts.com – The Proclaimers – I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)". Swiss Singles Chart.
  13. "The Proclaimers – Chart history" Billboard Hot 100 for The Proclaimers.
  14. http://www.aria.com.au/pages/aria-charts-end-of-year-charts-top-50-singles-1989.htm
  15. http://nztop40.co.nz/chart/?chart=3878
  16. "British single certifications – Proclaimers – I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)". British Phonographic Industry. Enter I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Gold in the field By Award. Click Search
  17. "American single certifications – Proclaimers – I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  18. "Best-Selling Records of 1993". Billboard. BPI Communications. 106 (3): 73. 15 January 1994. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved 4 May 2015.
  19. "Stars unite for Comic Relief show". BBC News. 17 March 2007. Retrieved 18 January 2015.
  20. "Singles – 31.03.07: The Proclaimers". Music Week. London, England: UBM. 31 March 2007.
  21. 1 2 "The 2007 Official Singles Chart". Music Week. London, England: UBM: 11. 12 January 2008.
  22. "The Irish Charts – Search Results – I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)". Irish Singles Chart.
  23. "Archive Chart: 2007-03-31" UK Singles Chart.
  24. "British single certifications – Proclaimers ft Brian Potter & Andy Pipkin – I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)". British Phonographic Industry. Enter I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles) in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Silver in the field By Award. Click Search
  25. "Benny & Joon (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) Rachel Portman". itunes.apple.com. Retrieved 23 November 2016.
  26. DJ Schmolli mashup
  27. "Coral Masters darts tournament comes to Ingliston". Edinburgh News. 1 November 2013. Retrieved 20 December 2013.
  28. Retevision - Spot telefono a las estrellas (1998 ad)
  29. Edwards, Anna (14 July 2011). "'If you walk 1,000 miles, I'll walk up the aisle to you!' Boyfriend goes the distance for Proclaimers fan girlfriend". The Daily Mail.
Preceded by
"Teardrops" by Womack & Womack
New Zealand Singles Chart
13 January 1989 – 26 January 1989
Succeeded by
"Angel of Harlem" by U2
Preceded by
"Walk This Way" by Sugababes vs. Girls Aloud
United Kingdom number-one single (Comic Relief version)
25 March 2007 – 14 April 2007
Succeeded by
"Give It to Me" by Timbaland featuring Nelly Furtado and Justin Timberlake
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