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Airplanes (song)

B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray
Released April 13, 2010 (iTunes)
April 27, 2010
August 9, 2010 (UK)[1]
Format Digital download
Recorded 2009
Genre Pop rock, alternative hip hop
Length 3:01 (album version)
2:59 (radio edit)
Label Grand Hustle, Rebel Rock, Atlantic, A&M/Octone (Oceania)
Writer(s) Jeremy Dussolliet, Tim Sommers, Justin Franks, Alexander Grant, Bobby Simmons, Christine Dominguez.
Producer Alex da Kid, DJ Frank E
B.o.B singles chronology

"Don't Let Me Fall"
"Bet I"

Hayley Williams singles chronology
"Stay the Night"
DJ Frank E singles chronology
"Feel It"
"Naughty Girl"

"Airplanes" is a song by American hip hop recording artist B.o.B, featuring vocals from Hayley Williams, lead singer of American rock band Paramore. The song was released in April 2010, as the third single from his debut studio album, B.o.B Presents: The Adventures of Bobby Ray. B.o.B co-wrote the song alongside Kinetics & One Love, Alex da Kid, DJ Frank E, and Christine Dominguez. DJ Frank E also co-produced the song with Alex da Kid.[2][3] The song was released to iTunes on April 13, 2010[4] and was sent to urban radio on April 27, 2010.[5]

"Airplanes" peaked at number one on the charts in the United Kingdom and New Zealand, as well as the top three in Australia, Canada, Ireland and the United States. "Airplanes, Part II", the sequel to the song, features new verses from B.o.B, and a verse from fellow American rapper Eminem, while Williams's vocals remained intact. This collaboration led to a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals.[6]

Song information

"Airplanes" was composed by B.o.B, Jeremy "Kinetics" Dussolliet, Tim "One Love" Sommers, DJ Frank E, Alex "da Kid" Grant, and Christine Dominguez. B.o.B wrote his rap verses, Kinetics & One Love and Christine Dominguez wrote the chorus sung by Paramore lead singer Hayley Williams, and DJ Frank E & Alex da Kid co-produced the music. The original version had verses written by Lupe Fiasco. Later, the song was given to B.o.B by his label.[7] Williams' appearance in the song was explained by herself and B.o.B in different interviews to MTV. Williams said Paramore was on tour when she was given the song and she "liked the part too much" and accepted to appear on it.[8] B.o.B said he has "always been a Hayley fan" and he did not expect a collaboration between them too soon. The duo did not get in the studio together to record the song, they were not together to shoot the music video, and had never even met each other in person, according to Williams.[9][10][11] The only time that B.o.B and Williams were able to meet was when they performed "Airplanes" live for the first time together during the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards.[12] The second time the song was performed together live was during Vanderbilt University's Fall 2010 "Commodore Quake" concert in Nashville, TN. During B.o.B.'s performance, Williams came out as a special guest to perform the song.[13]

Music video

A music video was shot with Williams.[10] B.o.B shot his scenes for the video in April, but Williams was only able to shoot her parts after the end of Paramore's spring tour, so they were never in the same room during filming.[14] The music video, directed by Hiro Murai,[14] premiered on iTunes on Tuesday June 15, 2010. The video features several frames of B.o.B rapping his verses in a party setting, on stage, and a room filled with lights and occasional song lyrics while Hayley Williams sings the hook in a light filled room and walking through photographs.

The video was nominated for Video of the Year at the BET Awards of 2011, and at VMA Of 2010.[15]

Chart performance

"Airplanes" sold 138,000 digital downloads in its first week and debuted at number five on the Billboard Hot Digital Songs chart. The sales made the song debut at number twelve on Billboard Hot 100, making it B.o.B's highest debut on the chart and Williams' first entry as a solo act.[16] The song continued to rise in the chart and peaked at number two on its sixth week, losing the top position to Usher's "OMG".[17] "Airplanes" entered in numerous Billboard charts, including the Pop Songs and Rap Songs charts, where the song peaked at number two.[18][19] "Airplanes" had sold over 4 million digital downloads by December 2010, according to Nielsen Soundscan, becoming a bigger success in the United States than his debut single, "Nothin' On You".[20]

Elsewhere, "Airplanes" was well received. The song debuted at number sixty two on the Canadian chart and reached its current peak position of number two on its ninth week on the chart. In the Australian chart the song debuted at number eighteen and peaked at number two within three weeks on the chart and has been in that position for six non-consecutive weeks. It was in New Zealand where the song got its first number one position. After three weeks of its debut (at number three), the song reached number one and stayed in that position for five consecutive weeks. "Airplanes" later received a Platinum certification in New Zealand, due to its successful chart performance.[21]

In Europe, the song has been released in a number countries, including the United Kingdom, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. "Airplanes" first appearance in a European chart was in Norway and Ireland and the song has reached the Top ten in both countries. In the United Kingdom, however, the song was even more successful. It debuted at number twenty-three on the UK Singles Chart and within five weeks on the chart, the song managed to reach the number two spot, again losing the top to Katy Perry's "California Gurls". In the same week, "Airplanes" was number one on the UK R&B Chart. The following week, "Airplanes" went to number one from downloads alone of 75,892, becoming B.o.B's second number one hit in Britain following his debut single "Nothin' On You", which had reached the British chart summit almost two months earlier. "Airplanes" has also peaked at number two in the European Hot 100 chart.[22]

The song was No. 6 on Billboard's Year End Chart. The song is the twenty-first most downloaded single in British chart history.

As of January 2013, the official music video on YouTube has over 180 million views.

Other versions

Part II

A sequel to the song, titled "Airplanes, Part II", has two new verses by B.o.B and Hayley Williams and featured vocals by Eminem. The song also featured a faster beat and chorus by Hayley Williams comparing to the original song.[23] The song was produced by Alex da Kid with additional production added by Eminem. Alex da Kid said that the beat for "Airplanes Part II" was the original beat for the song.[24] In the song, Eminem and B.o.B wonder what would happen if they had not pursued musical careers. B.o.B posted the song on his official Twitter account, claiming he wanted the song to leak from him since the other songs of his album were leaking.[25] When asked how he got to collaborate with Eminem, B.o.B stated:

"Paul Rosenberg played him the Cloud 9 mixtape and it kind of gave him an idea of what my music [sounds like]. Eventually he started playing Eminem more of my stuff and was keeping him updated on my progress and eventually he wanted to get in the studio with me, so that was a gift."[26]

B.o.B, Eminem, and Keyshia Cole (filling in for Hayley Williams) performed the song at the 2010 BET Awards on June 27, 2010 in a medley with Eminem's "Not Afraid".[27] B.o.B performed the song with Eminem on his Home & Home Tour. "Airplanes, Part II" received a Grammy nomination for Best Pop Collaboration With Vocals,[6] although it was not made into a single.

Covers and samples

  • Barbadian artist Rihanna covered the song during her North American leg of her Last Girl on Earth Tour.
  • Canadian artist Avril Lavigne sang Williams' verses to introduce "My Happy Ending" during her The Black Star Tour
  • The Ready Set covered the song for the compilation album Punk Goes Pop 3, which was released on November 2, 2010.
  • Boyce Avenue covered the song for their album New Acoustic Sessions.
  • American Post hardcore band We Are Defiance covered the song together with Kellin Quinn (Sleeping with Sirens) and ex-A Day to Remember guitarist Tom Denney.
  • American rapper Aron Erlichman (also known as Deuce) sampled "Airplanes" for his song "Story of A Snitch" which bashes on him getting kicked out of Hollywood Undead.
  • Rapper Nicki Minaj sampled the chorus during her verse in "Out of My Mind", a song by B.o.B in which she is featured.
  • Internet mash-up artist DJ Earworm incorporated the song in his 2010 United State of Pop mash-up, "Don't Stop The Pop", which is made up of the top 25 songs on Billboard's 2010 year-end chart ("Airplanes" appeared on that chart at number 6).

Charts and certifications

Chart succession

Preceded by
"The Club Is Alive" by JLS
UK Singles Chart number-one single
July 18, 2010 – July 24, 2010
Succeeded by
"We No Speak Americano" by Yolanda Be Cool & DCUP
Preceded by
"OMG" by Usher featuring Will.I.Am
New Zealand Singles Chart number-one single
May 10, 2010 – June 14, 2010
Succeeded by
"Young Blood" by The Naked and Famous

See also

  • List of number-one singles in 2010 (New Zealand)
  • List of number-one singles from the 2010s (UK)
  • List of number-one R&B hits of 2010 (UK)
  • List of number-ones singles and albums of 2010 (Scotland)


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