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"Flying Without Wings" is a song by Irish boy band Westlife and it was released on 18 October 1999 as the third single from their self-titled debut studio album. It is the band's third most streamed song, and their fourth best selling single of all-time on both paid-for and combined sales categories in the United Kingdom as of January 2019.[1][2]

"Flying Without Wings"
One of European artwork
Single by Westlife
from the album Westlife and Pokémon: The Movie 2000 soundtrack
Released18 October 1999 (1999-10-18)
FormatCD single
RecordedRokstone Studios, London
Producer(s)Steve Mac
Westlife singles chronology
"If I Let You Go"
"Flying Without Wings"
"I Have a Dream" / "Seasons in the Sun"
Music video
"Flying Without Wings" on YouTube



The song was written by Wayne Hector and Steve Mac. In an interview with HitQuarters, Hector said the basic idea for the song came to him while on a break from working on a hip hop session with Ezi Cut in Los Angeles:

I came up with a couple of lines for the first verse and then phoned my mama's house, left it on the answering machine, and said, “Don't get rid of this!”[3]

Upon returning to England, Hector went into the studio to work on the idea with long-time songwriting partner and producer Steve Mac.[3] When the two discussed what the song was about they agreed that "this is about our wives. This is about the things that make our lives complete."[3] According to Hector the lyrics were completed in about half an hour.[3] The band's manager later revealed the song had been planned as the first solo single for Boyzone's Stephen Gately. "Stephen did the demo and he thought it was going to be his song," Walsh recalls. "I'll be quite honest, I missed it, but as soon as Simon heard it he just went bananas. It was really difficult because Westlife were on tour with Boyzone, as the support act."[4]

In a documentary aired on UTV called Westlife Back Home, band member Shane Filan said it is probably the best song of their career, while former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern (band member Nicky Byrne's father-in-law) revealed it is his favourite tune from the chart-topping band.

Commercial performanceEdit

The song became the group's third UK number-one single, spending 13 weeks on charts.[5] It is also one of Westlife's biggest selling singles. The song is the group's first single to received a Gold sales certification in the UK for over 400,000 copies sold.[6]

Track listingEdit

  • United Kingdom
  1. "Flying Without Wings" - 3:35
  2. "Everybody Knows" - 3:45
  3. "Flying Without Wings" (Video) - 3:40
  1. "Flying Without Wings" - 3:35
  2. "That's What It's All About" - 3:20
  3. "Flying Without Wings" (Acappella) - 3:29
  • Australia
  1. "Flying Without Wings" - 3:35
  2. "I Have a Dream" (Remix) - 4:06
  3. "Seasons in the Sun" (Single Remix) - 4:10
  4. "Flying Without Wings" (Video) - 3:40



"Flying Without Wings"
Promotional single by Westlife featuring BoA
from the album Unbreakable: The Greatest Hits Volume 1 (Asian edition), Shine We Are! and Next World
Released2003 (2003) (Asia)
FormatCD single
Music video
"Flying Without Wings (featuring BoA)" on YouTube
"Flying Without Wings"
Promotional single by Westlife featuring Cristian Castro
from the album Unbreakable: The Greatest Hits Volume 1 (Spanish/Mexican edition)
Released2002 (2002) (Mexico)
FormatCD single, digital download
Music video
"Flying Without Wings (featuring Cristian Castro)" on YouTube

In 2002, as part of the promotion of their album Unbreakable: The Greatest Hits Volume 1, the song was re-recorded as a duet with Mexican singer Cristian Castro and South Korean pop singer, BoA. Each duet was included on the Spanish & Asian editions of the album. Both duets were also released as singles in their two respective regions.[25]

Track listingEdit

  1. "Flying Without Wings" (Duet with Cristian Castro) - 3:35
  2. "Never Knew I Was Losing You" - 4:09
  1. "Flying Without Wings" (Duet with BoA) - 3:35
  2. "Never Knew I Was Losing You" - 4:09

Live versionEdit

In 2004, as part of the promotion for their Turnaround Tour, the band released the live version of the song. It was recorded during their tour in Stockholm Globe Arena. Their live version peaked at number one in UK Singles Chart and was the first ever number one in the UK downloads chart.[28]

Track listingEdit

  • UK
  1. "Flying Without Wings" (Live)[29]

Chart performanceEdit

Charts (2004) Peak
UK Download Singles (Official Charts Company) 1

Video albumEdit

A karaoke version of "Flying Without Wings" was released on DVD in 2000 and debuted at number one. It includes easy to read lyrics, photographs & interactive menus, picture sleeve. It has a running time of 45 minutes.[30]

Track listingEdit

  1. "Swear It Again"
  2. "If I Let You Go"
  3. "Flying Without Wings"
  4. "Fool Again"
  5. "Seasons in the Sun"
  6. "I Have a Dream"
  7. "More Than Words"
  8. "Against All Odds"

CD productionEdit

Arranged by (strings) : Richard Niles
Arranged by (vocals) : Steve Mac, Wayne Hector
Arranged by, mixed by : Steve Mac
Artwork by (design) : Root
Photography : Brian Aris
Bass guitar : Steve Pearce
Guitar : Paul Gendler
Performer (Choir Md) : Benny Diggs
Engineer (Mix) : Matt Howe
Engineer, Programmed by : Chris Laws
Other (management) : Louis Walsh, Ronan Keating

Tours performed atEdit

Other appearancesEdit

The Westlife song has appeared in the 2000 Warner Bros. Pictures film Pokémon: The Movie 2000 as the final song of the credits in the film and on the official movie soundtrack.[31] It is also the only Westlife song that coincidently coincided with the original Japanese release date of the Pokémon movie sequel. It also featured in the 2000 Australian film The Magic Pudding and 2000 French film Archibald the Koala: The Movie.

On 12 May 2018, the song was performed on Korean music programme 'Immortal Songs 2' by Ali who placed second place that night. Band member Shane Filan was the featured 'Legend' and judged the participants.

Ruben Studdard versionEdit

"Flying Without Wings"
Single by Ruben Studdard
Released10 June 2003 (2003-06-10)
FormatCD single
Ruben Studdard singles chronology
"Flying Without Wings"

"Flying Without Wings" was covered by American Idol winner Ruben Studdard as his debut single in 2003. The single was released on June 10 and charted at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 on June 28, behind "This Is the Night" by Clay Aiken. "Flying Without Wings" also gained attention on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Singles & Tracks chart, peaking at number thirteen, while it reached number 27 on the adult contemporary chart. It was also released in New Zealand and reached number two behind Clay Aiken. The single had sold 751,000 copies through December 2006. This version of the song also appears on the game Karaoke Revolution Presents: American Idol.

Track listingEdit

  1. "Flying Without Wings"
  2. "Superstar"


  1. ^ "Westlife | Official Top 20". MTV. Retrieved 2012-08-15.
  2. ^ Copsey, Rob (January 12, 2019). "Westlife's Top 20 biggest songs on the Official Charts". Official Charts Company. Retrieved January 12, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d "Interview With Wayne Hector", HitQuarters, 1 Feb 2010.
  4. ^ Robinson, Peter (20 June 2012). "Westlife bow out after 15-year ballad career based on hit formula". the Guardian.
  5. ^ "WESTLIFE | Artist". Official Charts Company. Archived from the original on 2012-06-28. Retrieved 2012-01-06.
  6. ^ "Westlife | Official Top 20 | MTV UK". Retrieved 2012-01-06.
  7. ^ " – Westlife – Flying Without Wings". ARIA Top 50 Singles.
  8. ^ " – Westlife – Flying Without Wings" (in Dutch). Ultratop 50.
  9. ^ " – Westlife – Flying Without Wings" (in French). Ultratip.
  10. ^ " – Westlife – Flying Without Wings". Tracklisten.
  11. ^ "Nederlandse Top 40 – Westlife" (in Dutch). Dutch Top 40.
  12. ^ Inc, Nielsen Business Media (13 November 1999). "Billboard". Nielsen Business Media, Inc. – via Google Books.
  13. ^ "Westlife: Flying Without Wings" (in Finnish). Musiikkituottajat – IFPI Finland.
  14. ^ " – Westlife Single-Chartverfolgung" (in German). Media Control Charts. PhonoNet GmbH.
  15. ^ " – Westlife – Flying Without Wings". VG-lista.
  16. ^ " – Westlife – Flying Without Wings". Top 40 Singles.
  17. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company.
  18. ^ "Gaon Weekly BGM Chart". Gaon Chart (in Korean). Korea Music Content Industry Association. Retrieved July 5, 2019.
  19. ^ " – Westlife – Flying Without Wings". Singles Top 100.
  20. ^ "Westlife: Artist Chart History". Official Charts Company.
  21. ^ "Chart Log (2008)". 2008-12-27. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
  22. ^ "Chart Log (2011)". 2011-11-19. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
  23. ^ "End of Year Charts 2000". Recorded Music NZ. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  24. ^ "British single certifications – Westlife – Flying Without Wings". British Phonographic Industry. Retrieved 1 March 2019. Select singles in the Format field. Select Platinum in the Certification field. Type Flying Without Wings in the "Search BPI Awards" field and then press Enter.
  25. ^ "Westlife Flying Without Wings Mexico Promo 5" CD SINGLE (239371)". 2003-03-12. Retrieved 2012-01-06.
  26. ^ "Westlife Flying Without Wings Mexico 5" CD SINGLE (244450)". 2003-04-24. Retrieved 2012-01-06.
  27. ^ "Westlife Flying Without Wings Japan Promo 5" CD SINGLE (255411)". 2003-08-15. Retrieved 2012-01-06.
  28. ^ "Westlife top first download chart". 1 September 2004 – via
  29. ^ "Westlife".
  30. ^ "Westlife Flying Without Wings Karaoke UK DIGITAL VERSATILE DISC (246048)". 2003-05-07. Retrieved 2012-01-06.
  31. ^ "Pokemon 2000: The Power of One- Original Soundtrack;". Retrieved 2012-03-13.

External linksEdit