23 Best Songs About Flying & Planes
From soaring ballads to high-flying anthems, the ultimate playlist awaits.
The concept of flight invokes all kinds of feelings, from the exhilarating thrill of take-off to overcoming a fear of heights.
The best songs about flying explore the theme in all its glory and can be found in all musical genres and styles.
Continue reading, and we’ll break down the best flight-themed songs you can listen to today, whatever your musical tastes.
The 23 Best Songs About Flying & Planes
Songs about flight have been written for decades, making it a ubiquitous topic for performers throughout music history.
We’ve compiled this list to represent this range, including tracks from blues and jazz legends and the latest rock and pop stars.
Without further ado, here’s our playlist of the 23 best songs about flying and planes:
23. “Big Jet Plane” – Angus And Julia Stone
Angus and Julia Stone’s indie classic from 2009 is a euphemistic celebration of love and adventure.
“Gonna take her for a ride on a big jet plane” is an analogy for intimate moments shared between lovers.
It was featured on the album Down the Way, hitting the number-one spot on the Australian ARIA charts.
22. “Given To Fly” – Pearl Jam
Iconic rock band Pearl Jam has produced some of the best 90s songs, and “Given To Fly” is a fantastic song about flying.
The lyrics sing, “And sometimes is seen a strange spot in the sky, A human being that was given to fly.”
It’s a fast-paced and uplifting rock classic that was featured on the Pearl Jam album Yield, released in 1998.
21. “I’m Like A Bird” – Nelly Furtado
Canadian singer and songwriter Nelly Furtado has enjoyed a hugely successful career, with over 40 million album sales worldwide.
“I’m Like A Bird” takes flight as a metaphor for freedom, striving for success, and finding yourself in the modern world.
Released on her debut studio album Whoa, Nelly!, the track was nominated for the Grammy Award for Song of the Year in 2002.
20. “I’m Mandy Fly Me” – 10cc
Released in 1976, the song “I’m Mandy Fly Me” by 10cc explores the life of an airline pilot who’s deeply in love.
It was inspired by lead singer Graham Gouldman’s meeting with an airline stewardess called Mandy Smith.
A popular hit, it appeared on the soundtracks for the movies Airplane II: The Sequel and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.
19. “Airplanes” – B.o.B. ft. Hayley Williams
Hip hop star B.o.B. joined forces with Hayley Williams for the song “Airplanes,” taking the concept of flight as a metaphor to several levels.
His lyrics read, “Can we pretend that airplanes in the night sky are like shootin’ stars,” lamenting that he could then make a wish.
The song performed moderately in the charts, reaching number five on the Billboard Hot Digital Songs chart.
18. “Paper Planes” – M.I.A.
M.I.A. used a simple sample take from “Straight to Hell” to form the basis for their song “Paper Planes.”
It explores feelings of xenophobia with the words, “If you catch me at the border, I got visas in my name.”
This catchy song was released in 2007 and featured in the movie Slumdog Millionaire, which was an unexpected hit at the box office.
17. “Fly By Night” – Rush
Canadian rock band Rush released “Fly By Night” as the title track on their second studio album in 1975.
It’s a hard-rocking song that captures the hustle and bustle of a busy airport terminal and the many faces that pass through.
The album helped to cement their reputation as a band that effortlessly fused progressive rock and traditional rock, as well as being master musicians.
16. “The Best Way To Travel” – The Moody Blues
Continuing with the progressive rock-themed songs about flying with “The Best Way To Travel” by The Moody Blues, another dynamic production on the topic.
References to getting “high as a kite” in the song point towards drug use and the taking of LSD, popular around the time of its release.
In 2018, The Moody Blues were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame for their contributions to the music genre.
15. “Promised Land” – Chuck Berry
Chuck Berry’s career has seen him write songs on all topics, from the best Christmas songs to his iconic song about flying, “Promised Land.”
Written while he was in jail, he references a “taxi to the terminal zone,” showing once again how flight can serve as a metaphor.
Released in 1971, it’s a typically catchy and infectious tune from Berry that was also featured in a documentary about his life.
14. “Learning To Fly” – Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers took “Learning To Fly” as the first single from their Runnin’ Down A Dream album.
It describes learning to fly as a stand-in for overcoming self-doubt and becoming the best person possible.
Following Petty’s death, the musician Dylan performed a cover of the song in 2017, describing him as “full of light.”
13. “The Zephyr Song” – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Listening to a great song can sometimes make a person feel like they’re soaring, as the Red Hot Chili Peppers explored in “The Zephyr Song.”
The image of a pilot passing over his hometown represents the feeling of joy when life is going your way, reflected in the song’s upbeat and lively tone.
The track takes its name from a gentle breeze from the West and is derived from the name for the Greek god of the wind.
12. “Space Oddity” – David Bowie
Responsible for some of the best songs of all time, David Bowie is no stranger to writing music about flying through space.
“Space Oddity” is perhaps his most famous, with Bowie singing about “floating in a most peculiar way” while drifting through space.
Bowie took inspiration for the song from real-life astronaut Major Tom Stafford, the first person to reach space.
11. “Flying High Again” – Ozzy Osbourne
Ozzy Osbourne’s hit song “Flying High Again,” released in 1980, helped catapult him into rock stardom.
It’s a life-affirming song that encourages listeners to strive to achieve their dreams and hold onto their souls.
Featured on the video game Guitar Hero II, it’s an atypical production from one of rock music’s most controversial figures.
10. “Leaving On A Jet Plane” – Peter, Paul & Mary
Peter, Paul & Mary wrote “Leaving on a Jet Plane” in 1962, delivering one of the best-known songs about flying.
Its simple melody and lyrics have led it to be chanted at sporting events and other celebrations in the years since.
In 2000, Harry Connick Jr. performed a hugely popular cover version of the song at the Academy Awards and received a standing ovation.
9. “Leaving On A Jet Plane” – John Denver
Another iconic rendition of “Leaving on a Jet Plane” came from singer John Denver, who created a sentimental rendition.
He sings about a man who’s forced to leave behind the woman he loves and wanting to hold onto them forever, despite their inevitable separation.
Denver was singing from personal experience, having been forced to move around frequently as a child due to his father’s military work.
8. “Learning To Fly” – Pink Floyd
“Learning to Fly” was inspired by David Gilmour’s fear of flying, the band member who took flying lessons to overcome his phobia.
The lyrics capture his refusal to give in, singing, “Condition grounded but determined to try.”
Pink Floyd covered many subjects in their work, including one of the best songs about breathing, the aptly-titled “Breath.”
7. “Free Bird” – Lynyrd Skynyrd
“Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd is one of the most memorable flying songs and a great example of Southern rock guitar playing.
“For I must be traveling on now,” read the lyrics, continuing ’Cause there’s too many places I’ve got to see.”
A song about resisting the urge to settle down, it was released in 1973, with an additional four minutes on the album version.
6. “Aeroplane” – Red Hot Chili Peppers
Returning once again to iconic American rock band Red Hot Chili Peppers for another of their great songs about flying, “Aeroplane.”
This pop-rock classic uses flying as a metaphor for music, singing, “music is my aeroplane.”
The band takes the traditional blues song from which it is inspired and fuses it with its trademark blend of funk.
5. “Fly Away” – Lenny Kravitz
Lenny Kravitz is already known for singing one of the best songs about freedom, so it’s fitting he’s also had a stab at a great flying song.
“Fly Away” is an anthem about the desire to fly, “So very high, Just like a dragonfly.”
The song was among Kravitz’s biggest hits on the Billboard Hot 100 charts, peaking at number 12 in 1999.
4. “Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going To Be a Long, Long Time)” – Elton John
A list of the best songs about flying wouldn’t be complete with “Rocket Man,” Elton John’s famous tune about an astronaut.
It’s about the loneliness a man experiences when traveling through space to a destination thousands of miles away.
Elton John released the song in 1972, with many great artists releasing their own cover versions in the years since.
3. “Come Fly With Me” – Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra’s easy singing style and catchy lyrics have led to some of the best karaoke songs of all time, and “Come Fly With Me” is no exception.
A song aimed towards the 1950s jet-set community, it joins Fly Me To The Moon as one of Sinatra’s most memorable songs.
Unsurprisingly, “Come Fly With Me “has been used in commercials, including for American Airlines, along with other major corporations.
2. “Amelia” – Joni Mitchell
With Joni Mitchell’s Amelia, flight is a metaphor for emotions as they run wild and fly free.
Mitchell sings about Icarus ascending, hinting at someone whose ambitions and dreams are pushing the boundaries.
It’s one of the best flying songs in the folk genre and was released on her 1975 album, Summer Lawns.
1. “Eight Miles High” – The Byrds
The Byrds took aim at flight in 1966 with their airplane song, “Eight Miles High,” released as the title track of their album of the same name.
The surreal lyrics have sometimes been confused for a song about drugs, where the intention was anything but and was meant to reflect their innocence.
The song later became a big influence on the acid rock scene that emerged from the garage punk movement during the 1960s.
So there you have it, our complete guide to the best songs about flying and planes ever produced by some of the most celebrated singer-songwriters in the world.
Whether it’s an upbeat song about watching airplanes or a metaphor for aspirations and emotions, these tunes remain popular today.
It’s a theme that will be explored by singer-songwriters for many years to come, covering all styles and genres of music.
What’s the best song about flying, in your opinion? Leave a comment below.
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