I Believe I Can Fly

"I Believe I Can Fly"
Single by R. Kelly
from the album R. and Space Jam
Released November 26, 1996 (1996-11-26)
Recorded August 1996
Length 4:44
Writer(s) R. Kelly
Producer(s) R. Kelly
Certification Platinum (RIAA)
R. Kelly singles chronology
"I Can't Sleep Baby (If I)"
"I Believe I Can Fly"
"Gotham City"
Space Jam track listing
"Space Jam"
"I Believe I Can Fly"
Hit 'Em High (The Monstars' Anthem)
"I Believe I Can Fly"
R. Kelly's "I Believe I Can Fly" from R.

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"I Believe I Can Fly" is a 1996 song written, produced and performed by American singer R. Kelly from the soundtrack to the 1996 film Space Jam. It was originally released on November 26, 1996, and was later included on Kelly's 1998 album R..

In early 1997, "I Believe I Can Fly" reached number two on the Billboard Hot 100; it was kept from the number one spot by Toni Braxton's "Un-Break My Heart". Although Kelly has had two number one songs, "I Believe I Can Fly" is his most successful single. It topped the charts in the United Kingdom. It has won three Grammy Awards, and was ranked number 406 on Rolling Stone's list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time in 2004. The music video was directed by Kelly with Hype Williams.[1]


Cover versions

In film and television

Other than appearing on the soundtrack for the film Space Jam, "I Believe I Can Fly" was performed by the school band in the movie Drumline during the high school graduation ceremony of Devon Miles (Nick Cannon).

Other performances

R. Kelly performed his song at the 40th Annual Grammy Awards.

STS-122 crew heard this song on flight day 10 as a wake up call.[5]

Since its release, it has become commonly associated with the NBA, most notably with Michael Jordan. The song also played at the conclusion of NBC's broadcast of the 1997 NBA Finals.[6]

In addition to the NBA, the song also found use at other sporting events, most notably at Major League Baseball's New York Yankees home games during their four consecutive World Series runs from 1998 to 2001, the first three of which they won.

On December 21, 2011, R. Kelly performed it on X-Factor as a duet with Melanie Amaro.

A version of the song, recorded by the Halifax community choir, was used as the backing track to a 2012 UK TV advertisement for the Halifax Bank.[7]

On October 13, 2012, when the Space Shuttle Endeavour was being transferred from Los Angeles International Airport to the California Science Center through the streets of Los Angeles, the recording was played as the shuttle left The Forum, and the song was performed live by James Ingram later that day at Debbie Allen's live show celebrating the Endeavour's arrival at the corner of Crenshaw Blvd and Martin Luther King Blvd. (The shuttle was delayed over five hours in arriving there; to keep the crowd entertained, the performance went on only slightly delayed.)


Charts and certifications

Weekly charts

Chart (1996–97) Peak
Australia (ARIA)[8] 24
Austria (Ö3 Austria Top 40)[9] 1
Netherlands (Dutch Top 40)[10] 2
Eurochart Hot 100 Singles 1
Belgium Single Chart 5
Swiss Single Chart 1
New Zealand Single Chart 1
Ireland Single Chart 1
Italy Single Chart 1
France (SNEP)[11] 17
Germany (Official German Charts)[12] 3
Poland (ZPAV) 1
Sweden (Sverigetopplistan)[13] 11
UK Singles (Official Charts Company)[14] 1
US Billboard Hot 100 2
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard) 1
US Hot Dance Club Songs (Billboard) 6
US Mainstream Top 40 (Billboard) 9
US Rhythmic Top 40 (Billboard) 5
US Adult Contemporary (Billboard) 3
US Adult Top 40 (Billboard) 21

Year-end charts

End of year chart (1997) Position
Germany (Official German Charts)[15] 14
UK Singles Chart[16] 6
US Billboard Hot 100[17] 6
U.S. Billboard R&B/Hip Hop Chart[18] 7

Decade-end charts

Chart (1990–1999) Position
US Billboard Hot 100[19] 87


Region Certification Certified units/Sales
Austria (IFPI Austria)[20] Gold 25,000*
Belgium (BEA)[21] Gold 25,000*
France (SNEP)[22] Gold 250,000*
Germany (BVMI)[23] Gold 250,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[24] Gold 0*
Norway (IFPI Norway)[25] Gold 5,000*
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[26] Gold 25,000^
United Kingdom (BPI)[27] Platinum 600,000^
United States (RIAA)[28] Platinum 1,900,000[29][30]

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


  1. "mvdbase.com - R. Kelly - "I believe I can fly"".
  2. "Dressed to Chill overview". Allmusic.com.
  3. "Dressed to Chill Marion Meadows". JazzTimes.com.
  4. "GLEE: The New Directions Perform Fly/I Believe I Can Fly on Perez TV".
  5. NASA (2008). "STS-122 Wakeup Calls". NASA. Retrieved February 16, 2008.
  6. 1997 NBA Finals Tribute on YouTube
  7. "Halifax unveil home insurance ad with Adam and Eve". The Drum. Retrieved 2012-11-08.
  8. "Australian-charts.com – R. Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  9. "Austriancharts.at – R. Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly" (in German). Ö3 Austria Top 40.
  10. "Nederlandse Top 40 – R. Kelly search results" (in Dutch) Dutch Top 40.
  11. "Lescharts.com – R. Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly" (in French). Les classement single.
  12. "Musicline.de – R. Kelly Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  13. "Swedishcharts.com – R. Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly". Singles Top 100.
  14. "R Kelly: Artist Chart History" Official Charts Company.
  15. "Top 100 Single-Jahrescharts". GfK Entertainment (in German). offiziellecharts.de. Retrieved July 15, 2015.
  16. "UK Top 100 - 1997". Retrieved 2010-08-28.
  17. "Billboard Top 100 - 1997". Retrieved 2010-08-28.
  18. "R&B Rap Hip-Hop Year-End Charts - 1997 - Soul System".
  19. Geoff Mayfield (December 25, 1999). 1999 The Year in Music Totally '90s: Diary of a Decade - The listing of Top Pop Albums of the '90s & Hot 100 Singles of the '90s. Billboard. Retrieved October 15, 2010.
  20. "Austrian single certifications – Kelly R. – I Believe I Can Fly" (in German). IFPI Austria. Enter Kelly R. in the field Interpret. Enter I Believe I Can Fly in the field Titel. Select single in the field Format. Click Suchen
  21. "Ultratop − Goud en Platina – 1997". Ultratop & Hung Medien / hitparade.ch.
  22. "French single certifications – R. Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly" (in French). Syndicat National de l'Édition Phonographique.
  23. "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank (R. Kelly; 'I Believe I Can Fly')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie.
  24. "New Zealand single certifications – R. Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly". Recorded Music NZ.
  25. "Norwegian single certifications – R. Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly" (in Norwegian). IFPI Norway.
  26. "The Official Swiss Charts and Music Community: Awards (R. Kelly; 'I Believe I Can Fly')". IFPI Switzerland. Hung Medien.
  27. "British single certifications – R. Kelly – I Believe I Can Fly". British Phonographic Industry. Enter I Believe I Can Fly in the field Keywords. Select Title in the field Search by. Select single in the field By Format. Select Platinum in the field By Award. Click Search
  28. "American single certifications – Kelly, R. – I Believe I Can Fly". Recording Industry Association of America. If necessary, click Advanced, then click Format, then select Single, then click SEARCH
  29. "Best-Selling Records of 1996". Billboard. BPI Communications Inc. 109 (3): 61. January 18, 1997. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 9, 2015.
  30. "Best-Selling Records of 1997". Billboard. BPI Communications Inc. 110 (5): 76. January 31, 1998. ISSN 0006-2510. Retrieved May 9, 2015.
Preceded by
"Nobody" by Keith Sweat
Billboard's Hot R&B Singles & Tracks number one single
December 21, 1996
Succeeded by
"Don't Let Go (Love)" by En Vogue
Preceded by
"Don't Let Go (Love)" by En Vogue
Billboard's Hot R&B Singles & Tracks number one single (second run)
February 1, 1997
Succeeded by
"On & On" by Erykah Badu
Preceded by
"Block Rockin' Beats" by The Chemical Brothers
UK Singles Chart number-one single
April 6, 1997 – April 26, 1997
Succeeded by
"Blood on the Dance Floor" by Michael Jackson
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