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"Butterfly Fly Away"
Song by Miley Cyrus and Billy Ray Cyrus
from the album Hannah Montana: The Movie
Released March 24, 2009
Recorded 2008
Genre Acoustic-pop
Length 3:09
4:44 (extended version)
Label Walt Disney Records
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)

"Butterfly Fly Away" is an acoustic pop duet performed by American actors and recording artists Miley Cyrus and Billy Ray Cyrus. The song was first heard in the 2009 film Hannah Montana: The Movie, in which both Cyruses star, and was subsequently released on the film's soundtrack. An extended version is featured on Billy Ray's eleventh studio album, Back to Tennessee. The song is a soft country ballad with lyrics that describe a child's transition to adulthood.

The song received generally favorable reviews and, though not released as a single, achieved notable commercial outcomes in Australia, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. It reached its highest international peak in the Irish Singles Chart, at number forty-six. The Cyruses performed the song live at several venues; a performance in an English Apple Store was recorded and eventually released on an extended play.

Background

As with Miley and Ray Cyrus's last duet, "Ready, Set, Don't Go" (2007), "Butterfly Fly Away" describes a child's transition to adulthood. The song was written and produced by Glen Ballard and Alan Silvestri for the 2009 film Hannah Montana: The Movie. According to the film, when main character Miley Stewart (played by Miley Cyrus) was young, her father Robby Ray Stewart (played by Billy Ray Cyrus), would often tell her that while a caterpillar may not be able to move much, it can still dream about the butterfly it will one day be. This comment became a recurring motif in the film and provided the basis for the lyrics to "Butterfly Fly Away", which use a caterpillar's metamorphosis as a metaphor for a child's coming of age. In Hannah Montana: The Movie, the Cyruses perform the song as their characters in "a tender movie scene under a gazebo in the rain". Billy Ray said filming the scene was "a pretty special moment. The song itself was written by Glen Ballard, a masterful songwriter who wrote 'Man in the Mirror' for Michael Jackson. I knew it was a pretty special song [...] and it certainly comes at a nice spot in the movie."

The contemporary country duet is set in common time with a gentle tempo of 69 beats per minute. The song's vocals range two octaves, from C3 to B4. The song is written in a key of B major and features the chord progression, Esus2—B—C7.

Chart performance

"Butterfly Fly Away" debuted at number seventy-two on the Billboard Hot 100 the week ending April 25, 2009. The following week, May 2, 2009, the song reached its peak on the Hot 100 at number fifty-six. The song spent a total of three consecutive weeks on the chart. On the week ending April 25, 2009, "Butterfly Fly Away" debuted at number seventy-six in the Canadian Hot 100. The following week the song reached its peak at number-fifty on the chart. The song charted for a longer amount of time in Canada than its home country, with four weeks on the chart.

The song encountered similar commercial outcomes in various nations. In the United Kingdom, the song debuted and peaked at number seventy-eight for the week ending May 16, 2009. "Butterfly Fly Away" reached its highest international peak in the Irish Singles Chart. It debuted at number forty-seven on the week ending May 7, 2009. The song ultimately peaked at number forty-six on the chart. It also peaked at number fifty-six in the Australian Singles Chart.

Live performances

The Cyruses performed the song on Good Morning America on April 8, 2009, along with performances of "Full Circle", "Hoedown Throwdown" and "The Climb". They included the song in their set for the AOL Sessions, recorded on April 13, 2009. They also performed the song in London in an Apple Store, along with a duet version of Billy Ray's "Thrillbilly" and several of their own singles. The set, along with some songs by Cyrus's father, was sold exclusively by the United Kingdom iTunes Store as an extended play titled iTunes Live from London.

Charts

Chart (2009) Peak
position
Australia (ARIA) 56
Canada (Canadian Hot 100) 50
Ireland (IRMA) 46
UK Singles (OCC) 78
US Billboard Hot 100 56
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