Freedom '90

Freedom! '90

"Freedom! '90" (also known simply as "Freedom") is a song written and performed by George Michael, and released on Epic records in 1990. The 90 added to the end of the title is to prevent confusion with a Wham! song also titled "Freedom".


The song was a highly-praised confessional project from Michael, acknowledging his fortune and luck from his early days with Wham! - referring directly to Andrew Ridgeley as his "buddy" - but maintaining that he was a changed man, with a more cynical and grown-up attitude to the business he was in. The song also alludes heavily to the struggles of being a closet homosexual, and acted as a catalyst to his effort to break free from his publishing contract with Sony Music.

Music video

As if to prove the song's sentiment, Michael refused to appear in the music video - which was directed by David Fincher - and instead recruited a number of supermodels (including Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington, Tatjana Patitz, Cindy Crawford, Todo Segalla and Scott Benoit) to mouth the words. It also featured the destruction of various symbols of Michael's past, including the famous guitar, jukebox, and leather jacket of the Faith era.

Chart performance

"Freedom! '90" was 6:30 long, however a shorter version was made available for radio consumption. The addition of the year to the title was to distinguish the song from "Freedom", a #1 hit in the UK for Wham! in 1984 (#3 in the US in 1985). It was the second US single from the album Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1, and had contrasting fortunes on each side of the Atlantic - it peaked #28 on the UK singles chart, but was a major success on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, reaching #8 and selling over 500,000 copies to earn a Gold Certification from the RIAA. It remained in the Billboard Top 40 for twelve weeks in late 1990 and early 1991.

Chart positions

Chart (1990) Peak positions
Japanese Singles Chart 1
Dutch Top 40 7
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 8
U.S. Hot Dance Club Play 16
Australia ARIA Singles chart 18
UK Singles Chart 28
German Media Control Singles chart 41

Formats and track listings

CD Single (USA)
(Released December 15, 1990)

  1. "Freedom 90" - 6:29
  2. "Fantasy" - 4:12

Official remixes/versions

  1. "Freedom 90" (Radio Version) 7:11
  2. "Freedom 90" (Radio Mix) 7:00
  3. "Freedom 90" (Mix 1 Vox Hi) 6:36
  4. "Freedom 90" (12" Fab Four Mix for Cleveland City) 8:25
  5. "Freedom 90" (X-tended Club Mix) 6:47
  6. "Freedom 90" (Ruffneck Mix) 8:23
  7. "Freedom 90" (Alternative Mix) 7:12

Cover versions

  1. Notable cover versions include Robbie Williams' first solo single in 1996. Williams had left Take That the previous year and therefore could identify himself with much of the sentiment in the song, although he did not use the line "we had every bigshot goodtime band on the run boy, we were living in a fantasy" in his version.
  2. Lance Bass and Peter Dante's characters in I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry perform a cover of "Freedom! '90" before the end credits.
  3. American R&B singer Alicia Keys performed the song at the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards.
  4. It was used as a theme song to the computer animated film Bee Movie.
  5. American Idol's (season 7) Top 12 performed a medley of this song along with "Faith" and "Father Figure" at the Grand Finale.

Robbie Williams version

"Freedom" is a 1996 single released by Robbie Williams, his debut single since leaving Take That.

It reached #2 in the UK, twenty-six places higher than George Michael's original and has not been included on any studio albums since. The music video shows Williams dancing in the sea and in a field, celebrating his separation from his former group. The single had sold 280,000 copies by the end of 1996, being certified Silver by the BPI.

Chart performance

Chart (1996) Peak positions
UK Singles Chart 2
Australia ARIA singles chart 6
Finnish Singles Chart 7
Swiss Singles Chart 8
German Singles Chart 10
Dutch Singles Chart 10
Austrian Singles Chart 19
Swedish Singles Chart 24
New Zealand Singles Chart 39


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