The First Amendment of the United States Constitution guarantees freedom to its citizens; other foreign democratic governments also have political precepts that provide freedom to their people. Why then are people still fighting for its existence?
From time immeasurable, freedom has been penned in songs. The lyrics poignantly point to the illusiveness of freedom for gender rights, freedom from color distinctions, religious liberties, political rights, cultural interests, artistic freedom, and more.
Franklin D. Roosevelt wrote that “in the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.’ Yes, the struggle continues for the freedom to be!
Songs from the U.S. and around the world highlight the freedom that everyone deserves. Let’s look at Songs About Freedom with the following 20 musical anthems:
Top 10 Freedom Songs
- “Freedom” By Beyonce (2016)
- “Freedom! 90” By George Michael (1990)
- “Miss Independent” By Kelly Clarkson (2003)
- “Here Comes The Sun” By George Harrison (2013)
- “Freedom Highway” By The Staple Singers (1965)
- “Freedom” By Jon Batitse (2021)
- “Hymn To Freedom” By The Oscar Peterson Trio (1963)
- “Chimes Of Freedom” By Bruce Springsteen (1988)
- “Freedom” By Reba Mclntire (2019)
- “Freedom” By Richie Havens (1972)
“Freedom” by Beyonce (2016)
Beyonce Queen B rhythmically moves around the stage while kicking water up from the stage floor. Her 2016 rendition of ‘Freedom* is a musical ode to the Black Lives Movement.
Rapper Kendrick Lamar and Beyonce collaborated on this message of overcoming oppression and social ills.
Freedom is a call for solidarity. You can’t help but see that she is also injecting a hint of her own self-freedom as she sings the lyrics that freedom is missing from society and that she, too, needs freedom as a rallying cry for all women. This is one of the most popular songs about freedom, and the most popular song about being free.
“Freedom! 90” by George Michael (1990)
Freedom 90 made a nod to George Michael’s fight for songwriting freedom from his record label Sony.
Michael wanted his own freedom to write and produce his own musical gifts. He wrote Freedom 90 because he wanted to send a message about creating his own image.
“Miss Independent” by Kelly Clarkson (2003)
Miss Independent was written about a girl who believed in taking her fate into her own hands without the need of any man telling her what to do.
Unfortunately, her own independence takes a toll on her emotional state. However, eventually, the girl finds love and a life that is better with another person that supports her.
Miss Independent was passed by from Christina Aguilera and Destiny’s Child before Kelly agreed to record it. “Miss Independent’ was on her debut studio album Thankful in 2003, where both the song and album hit high on the charts.
“Here Comes the Sun” by George Harrison (2013)
Nina Simone made this song a hit in her own unique style.
George Harrison of the Beatles wrote this song because the Beatles’ manager had passed away. This left the Beatles trying to handle their own musical career, which Harrison hated.
This haunting song was inspired by the depression Harrison felt, especially during the long English winters. One sunny day Harrison picked up his guitar, and out came Here Comes the Sun. Nina Simone’s version spoke about the freedom that her people would soon experience.
“Freedom Highway” by The Staple Singers (1965)
This high-spirited activist release was written for the Selma to Montgomery march and emphasized what the activists suffered on this stretch of highway.
The song also references the brutal murder at the Tallahatchie River of Emmett Till. The lead singer Mavis Staples reprised the song in 2008 upon the day that Barack Obama won the presidential election.
“Freedom” by Jon Batitse (2021)
Jon Baptist is a popular bandleader and a proud New Orleanian. He was seeing that his hometown was experiencing a rise in crime, power outages, slow storm recoveries.
John wrote Freedom as an upbeat musical that asks its citizens to celebrate this city through joy. Its culture, its independence, and its natural Louisiana energy.
“Hymn to Freedom” by the Oscar Peterson Trio (1963)
Oscar Emmanuel Peterson was a prolific Canadian jazz pianist, composer, and innovative jazz vocalist.
He had a musical career that lasted 65 years with a variety of great musical associates, which he called the Trio.
Having been inspired by Martin Luther King’s I Have a Dream speech, Oscar penned the Hymn to Freedom. Oscar-like Dr. King believed in the freedom that tomorrow promises.
In an interview, Oscar further emphasized that his Hymn to Freedom was how he would feel once he lays this old body down.
“Chimes of Freedom” by Bruce Springsteen (1988)
Bruce Springsteen wrote Chimes of Freedom to commemorate the work that Amnesty International was doing around the world. Bruce performed it at the Human rights Now Tour.
The video performance of “Chimes of Freedom” rose to number 16 on the rock and roll charts.
“Freedom” by Reba Mclntire (2019)
Her lyrics state that Reba has been searching everywhere, including hell and back.
She felt like she was a prisoner to her longing soul. Reba soon came to the conclusion that she found her freedom but her emotional and mental health journey did not come cheap.
Reba recorded the chorus of Freedom as a personal anthem of her search for true love. Freedom stayed on the country charts for several weeks. Freedom is about Reba. She had announced her separation and later her divorce to her then-husband of 26 years.
Reba later met and married her present-day husband. Freedom was a love anthem by Reba, noting that a woman is holding onto true love as nothing else mattered. Reba said that her husband gives her the freedom to love and be the person she wants to be.
“Freedom” by Richie Havens (1972)
Richie was an American folk singer, a rhythm and blues guitar vocalist.
The Freedom song did not make the top ten charts, but he performed it at the 2008 Cannes Film Festival to a rousing applaud by the crowd.
It wasn’t until 2012 did Freedom received world acclaim as it was introduced by Quentin Tarantino in his film Django Unchained.
Freedom soon became the activist theme song for many young people who wanted freedom from society.
Young people wanted to freely express themselves and have their voices heard. Richie stated that “I’ll sing it for the rest of my life, if only to show the rest of the world what I think an American is.
Sometimes I think we don’t know ourselves. But people are all the same, everywhere. They laugh in the same places, even if they don’t know the language.”
“Philadelphia Freedom” by Elton John (1975)
Elton John wrote Philadelphia Freedom as a tribute to his friend Billy Jean King the mother-queen of the world of tennis. Elton told Billy Jean that it was an anthem to her. and her tennis team called the Philadelphia Freedoms.
The song was written for Billy Jean and her team that never gives up and how they play against all odds. Elton said that the song also was a nod to Billy Jean and Jimmy Connor’s tennis match in 1973.
“Freedom” by Pitt Bull (2016)
Lyrics: ‘I’m free to do what I want and have a good time / Now somebody, anybody everybody, say / Cause I’m free to do what I want and have a good time/Now somebody, anybody, everybody says”
Freedom represents Pitbull’s response to the relation between America and his ancestral home of Cuba.
Pitt Bull is a Cuban-American rapper who is the son of Cuban exiles. The Freedom track was adopted as an anti-Castro anthem by the exiled people of Miami.
“Stronger” by Britney Spears (2000)
Ironically Britney is still living this song as she battles for her freedom. The lyrics speak to how she has had enough and that she plans to make it through life, and that she is stronger than yesterday.
Britney collaborated with her then Swedish producers Max Martin and Rami Yacoub. Stronger is and remains an empowerment anthem by Britney despite what she is going through, but that she continues to remain stronger.
“American Soldier” by Toby Keith (2003)
Part of the lyrics to this song written by Toby states that ’cause freedom don’t come free.’ American Soldier was an anthem to the terrorist attack of 9/11. The song instantly became a number one hit on the U S. Billboard chart.
In writing American Soldier, Keith said he remembered ’for all the times that I get to meet the troops on these USO tours, and since Courtesy of Red. White, and Blue, the P.O.W s and the families that have come and brought me back my old CD covers and stuff that they had and shown how much support they had (for me), this is my support for the American fighting men and women.*
“Asim bonanga” by Johnny Clegg and Sipho Mchunu (1987)
Apartheid was alive and doing well during the 1900s. Johnny Clegg used his freedom as a white man in Africa to help bring its downfall.
Asim’bonanga was a popular Zulu song about the crimes of the oppressive regime and how they were holding Mandela hidden from the people.
Clegg was a South African musician, singer-songwriter, dancer, and anti-apartheid activist. Clegg and one of their bandmates, Mchunu, were the first duo in the South African apartheid movement that featured a white man and a black man.
“Swing Low Sweet Chariot” by Wallace Willis (early 1880s)
This song has been adopted as a popular spiritual that refers to death and crossing over into a heavenly land where slavery does not exist.
But, like many Negro spirituals, it was a clocked message. Wallace Willis was a Choctaw freedman in Oklahoma.
The word ’low” in the song referred to the Deep South, and the sweet chariot was meant to denote freedom from slavery and to find freedom in the North.
Wallace was credited with writing many Negro spirituals. Willis, as a mixed black and Choctaw Indian, was originally named after his owner Britt Willis. This spiritual is sung today by musical artists and musicians throughout the world.
“Renuncia Impossivel” by the Kafala Brothers
Angolans Moises Kafala and his brother Jose were known as the Kafala Brothers. Renuncia Impossivel was recorded as a provocative protest song.
It was a freedom song and became the battle cry against the tyranny being experienced in Africa. Cuba, and Brazil.
The Kafala Brothers, with their acoustic guitars, played protest songs that were played around the world. The songs were performed in the upbeat and rhymical beat of their country.
“The World Turned Upside Down” by Lin-Manuel Miranda
Hamilton is a successful Broadway play that celebrates American freedom.
The insightful and radical songs within the show, including The World, Turned Upside Down, all address the battle that led American to win her freedom from England American’s freedom was based on radical reforms of our Founding Fathers and how their actions changed everything, which continues today in the political forum.
“Am Yisreal Chai” by Shlomo Carelbach (1965)
Shlomo Carelbach is an American Jewish rabbi and singer-songwriter. Shlomo has protested for years the gulag internment of Jews in the USSR. He was dubbed the singing rabbi.
His human rights songs filled concert halls, synagogues, and universities throughout the U S. Carlebach is considered by many to be the foremost Jewish religious songwriter of the 20th century.
It is said that his human rights activities helped to kill the Iron Curtain mentality. Am Yisreal Chai was also a leading song in a Broadway play about Carelbach in 2013.
“Be Free” by J. Cole (2014)
Jermaine Cole, known professionally as J. Cole, is an American hip-hop rapper, songwriter, and record producer. Cole is regarded as one of the most influential rappers of his generation.
When Mike Brown, a teenager in Ferguson, was gun down after a confrontation with the police. J. Cole wrote Be Free, which became the rallying cry of the community J Cole was so moved because he was a witness to the shooting
The Be Free lyric of ‘can you tell me why/ Every time I step outside, I see my n****s die.” or “All we wanna do is break the chains off’ or ‘all we wanna do is be free” is a beat that moves within your soul.
“Running Up that Hill” by Kate Bush (2011)
Running Up That Hill was just one of the many songs featured in the first season of Pose, the award-winning FX tv show about the trials and tribulations of LBJQ characters. The LBJQ climb is not easy; it’s like running up that hill.
Their freedom road from the confines of societal norms drove people underground to create their own lives.
Kate Bush is a singer, songwriter, and producer whose name you may not recognize. She quietly performs and produces hit after hit making her one of the influential artists on the modern UK pop music stage.
She was the first female artist to achieve a UK number one musical hit status. Whether it is the LBJQ community or other society movers and shakers, Kate’s musical songs are the ones that they turn to for inspiration.