Learn to Fly

"Learn to Fly" is a song by American rock band Foo Fighters. It was released as the lead single from their third studio album There Is Nothing Left to Lose, on September 18, 1999. It was the band's first song to enter the Billboard Hot 100, as well as their second-highest charting song on the Hot 100, peaking at number 19. It also peaked within the top 40 in Australia, Canada, Hungary, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Poland and the United Kingdom. The song's music video won Best Short Form Video award at the 43rd Grammy Awards in 2000.

Release and reception

The "Learn to Fly" single was released as a two-disc CD set in the UK and Australia, as well as in Europe, and promotional singles were also released in other countries such as the US for radio play. In the US, it was the band's first appearance on the Billboard Hot 100, charting at number 19, and was the band's first number one on the Billboard Modern Rock Tracks chart. It is also their highest-charting on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart, along with the 1996 hit "Big Me", reaching number 13. The song set the record for most weeks at number one on the Canadian rock radio charts.

Music video

The music video for the song was directed by Jesse Peretz and won the Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video in 2001.
The music video for the song takes place on a commercial airliner, parodying the movie Airplane!, and by extension, the films Airport 1975 and its sequel Airport '77. The background elevator music is The Moog Cookbook's version of "Everlong". Two airline mechanics smuggle and hide their narcotics known as "World Domination brand 'Erotic' Sleeping Powder" in the coffee-maker. This ends up incapacitating everyone who drinks the coffee. The take-off sequence, in addition to the crew members hiding ulterior criminal motives, are a near shot-by-shot homage to the film Airport '77. The band, having avoided the coffee, mirroring Karen Black's role in Airport 1975, find themselves forced to land the plane. For the video, each band member portrays himself as well as several other roles, including Grohl as an FBI agent who arrests the two mechanics when they attempt to smuggle more of their narcotics.

2015 tribute video

On July 30, 2015, a video was published on YouTube of 1,000 Italian musicians in Cesena, Italy all playing and singing the song in unison, followed by a plea for the Foo Fighters to come play a concert in Cesena. By August 16, it had gained more than 33 million views.
On July 31, Dave Grohl responded, in Italian, thanking the makers for "the beautiful video" and adding "Thank you so much. We're coming, I swear. We'll see each other soon." On November 3, 2015, in response, Foo Fighters performed a twenty-seven-song concert in Cesena for approximately 3,000 people, starting their set with "Learn to Fly".
The group assembled for the stunt have performed subsequently under the name Rockin' 1000, and have been described as the "biggest band in the world."
In August 2015, nearly 16 years after its initial release, the single entered the Austrian Singles Chart at number 69 and the Swiss Singles Chart at number 41.
In July 2020, almost 5 years after the video was published, it was noticed that at the 43 second mark of the official video, a drummer with more than a passing resemblance to Dave Grohl was playing to the right of screen. Dave Grohl, the former drummer for the band Nirvana, has yet to comment whether he was one of the numerours drummers performing.

Other versions

A live version recorded in Sydney, Australia on January 24, 2000 was released on the Australian "Generator" single and CD 1 of "Breakout".

In media

"Learn to Fly" is a playable track in Rock Band and was released as DLC for Rock Band 4. The song was also featured in the season 4 Scrubs episode "My Unicorn".
The intro to "Learn to Fly" was used as the theme to the "Pyramid Rocks" television pilot for VH1 in 1999.

Track listing

;Disc one
  1. "Learn to Fly"
  2. "Iron and Stone"
  3. "Have a Cigar"
;Disc two
  1. "Learn to Fly"
  2. "Make a Bet"
  3. "Have a Cigar"
  1. "Learn to Fly"
;7" vinyl
  1. "Learn to Fly"
  2. "Have a Cigar"


Weekly charts

Chart Peak

Chart Peak