Pop-Up Video: Fly (1997)

Single by: Sugar Ray
Album: Floored
Released: June 17, 1997
Genre: Reggae, reggae fusion, 
pop, alternative rock
Songwriter: Sugar Ray

"Fly" by American rock band Sugar Ray is from their 1997 album Floored. It was the band's first hit. The album contains two versions of the song; one with Super Cat and one without

It was number one four consecutive weeks on the Hot 100 Airplay and spent eight weeks at number one on the Hot 100 Modern Rock Tracks charts. It's listed at number 52 of VH1's countdown of the "100 Greatest Songs of the '90s.

Mark McGrath
There's stark imagery there. 
There's loss in it.
There's loss of a mother.
Mark McGrath

Fronted by Mark McGrath, Sugar Ray was a California funk metal band until it released "Fly." The song was unlike anything on the Floored album. McGrath hated the song when he first heard it. He told Rock Cellar Magazine:

"Our drummer had this sort of ethereal version of 'Fly' that when I first heard it – just the chorus, the 'I just want to fly' - I almost quit the band when I first heard it. It was the worst thing I had ever heard.

Mark McGrath
Mark McGrath

When the director of Sugar Ray's music videos,  Joseph McGinty Nichol (aka McG), listened to it he advised McGrath to add some verses and give the song structure. And after David Kahne, the producer of Sublime's final album with their biggest radio hit "What I Got," was brought on to work on Floored, he smelled a hit. McGrath recalled: 

"We brought him to our studio and played him 'Fly,' and when I got to the part where I say 'my mother, god rest her soul' he stopped the practice and said 'do that again.' I did it over and over, and he said 'I can sell two million records based on that note right there.' We were skeptical, but he said 'trust me, the song's a hit, I can make it a hit.'"

"My mother, god rest her soul," is borrowed from Gilbert O'Sullivan's 1972 hit "Alone Again (Naturally)." McGrath's mother was still very much alive.


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