First Hit #1: July 2, 1977
Film composers have to make the perfect song for a moment, rather than a perfect song in general. Sometimes, what’s perfect for a moment in film doesn’t work out of context, and that’s fine, because if it works in context that’s all that matters. Sometimes, what makes sense in one context makes a strange kind of sense in all other contexts, and you have a hit, like Gonna Fly Now.
In the film, the song is used as part of a training montage, and it’s perfect for that situation. It shows Rocky getting better at being an athlete, it steadily builds and even adds some vocals in there to get increasingly epic, and it generally shows off Rocky in a heroic light. This is great, if you’re watching Rocky, because it’s an important part of the character’s journey.
If you’re doing literally anything else it has a much better effect, which is that it makes whatever you’re doing seem of the utmost importance and part of a montage of you being awesome. Doing dishes, typing, going to the bathroom, laundry, literally any activity is enhanced with the addition of Rocky. You might be doing the most sedentary thing possible – like me, right now, typing this – and it is given an epic scope with the addition of Rocky in the background.
It can probably backfire, I imagine it would get strange looks at a funeral, but the strength of Rocky is that is makes the mundane seem amazing.