I Feel Free

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"I Feel Free"
Single by Cream
from the album Fresh Cream
B-side N.S.U.
Released December 1966[1]
Format 7" Single
Recorded September 1966 at Ryemuse Studios in London[2]
Genre Psychedelic rock, blues rock
Length 2:49
Label Reaction Records 591 011
Writer(s) Jack Bruce and Pete Brown
Producer(s) Robert Stigwood
Cream singles chronology
"Wrapping Paper"
(October 1966)
"I Feel Free"
(December 1966)
"Strange Brew"
(June 1967)
Music sample
Alternative covers
1966 German 45 single picture sleeve, Polydor, 59058.

"I Feel Free" is a song first recorded by the English rock band Cream. The song's lyrics were written by Pete Brown,[3] its music by Jack Bruce. It was the first track on the US issue of their debut album, Fresh Cream (1966), and the band's second hit single (the first being "Wrapping Paper"). As with all tracks on Cream's US debut, producer's credit went to Robert Stigwood.

"I Feel Free" showcases the band's musical diversity, effectively combining blues rock with psychedelic pop.[4]

Background[edit]

"I Feel Free" was recorded in September 1966 at Ryemuse Studios. The track was recorded on an Ampex Reel-to-reel audio tape recording by Robert Stigwood and John Timperley. Stigwood made the decision to omit the song on the British release of Fresh Cream, and instead released it as a single.[2]

Single track listings[edit]

Name Location Format Record Label Release Date
"I Feel Free" b/w "N.S.U." UK 7" 45rpm Reaction 591 011 December 1966
"I Feel Free" b/w "N.S.U." US 7" 45rpm Atco 6462 December 1966
"I Feel Free" b/w "N.S.U." Europe 7" 45rpm Polydor 59 058 1966–1967
"I Feel Free" b/w "White Room" Germany 7" 45rpm RSO 2090 535 1970
"I Feel Free" b/w "Badge" UK 7" 45rpm Polydor POSP 812 1986

Chart position[edit]

"I Feel Free" first entered the UK Singles Chart on 17 December 1966 at #50, hit its highest position on 28 January 1967 at #11, and was last seen on 4 March 1967 at #49; the song spent a total of 12 weeks on the charts.[5] The single reached #116 on the U.S. single charts.[6]

Cover versions[edit]

Belinda Carlisle version[edit]

"I Feel Free"
Single by Belinda Carlisle
from the album Heaven on Earth
Released 1988
Format CD single, 7" single, 12" single
Recorded 1987
Genre Pop rock
Length 4:24
Label MCA
Writer(s) Jack Bruce, Pete Brown
Producer(s) Rick Nowels
Belinda Carlisle singles chronology
"Circle in the Sand"
(1988)
"I Feel Free"
(1988)
"World Without You"
(1988)

The song was covered by Belinda Carlisle in 1987 on her second solo album, Heaven on Earth, produced by Rick Nowels. It was the fourth single released from the album, only released in the United States in the formats of CD single, 7" single and 12" single. The 7" record has the song "Should I Let You In?" on the B-side, while the 12" record includes an extended mix and a dub version. It peaked at number 88 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100. The extended version of the song was used in the 1988 film License to Drive.

Music video[edit]

A music video using concert footage was produced to promote the single.

Jack Bruce version[edit]

In 1986, a solo version by Jack Bruce was featured on a Renault 21 commercial and became his only charter on the UK Singles Chart appearing for only one week at #95.[7]

Other cover versions[edit]

The Second Coming covered the song, which later appeared on The Allman Brothers Band's box set 'Dreams'.

The Amboy Dukes, guitarist Ted Nugent's band in the late 1960s and early 1970s, included the song on their eponymous 1967 debut album.

David Bowie performed this song during his Ziggy Stardust tour in 1972. Twenty-one years later, Bowie recorded the song for his Black Tie White Noise album. This featured guitarist Mick Ronson on a Bowie recording for the first time since 1973. Bowie's version was also included on a radio promo release of the single "Jump They Say". A live version, recorded 6 May 1972 (1972-05-06), at Kingston Polytechnic, London, was released on the semi-legal album RarestOneBowie in 1994.

Johnny Maestro & The Brooklyn Bridge covered the song for their 1972 album "THE BRIDGE IN BLUE".

Mark King of Level 42 covered the track for his 1984 debut solo album Influences & it was released as a single which failed to make the UK charts.

Marcella Detroit, aka Marcy Levy, covered "I Feel Free". She co-wrote "Lay Down Sally" and worked with Eric Clapton during his solo career in the 70s and 80s. This was released on her and Elton John's duet single, "Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing," in 1994.

Foo Fighters included the song on their 2005 DOA single, and also on Best Buy exclusive E.P., Five Songs and a Cover. Foo Fighters' version features drummer Taylor Hawkins on vocals, and the usual frontman Dave Grohl on drums.

Gregorian's 2006 album Masters of Chant Chapter V includes this song in Gregorian style.

Other[edit]

  • "I Feel Free" was the first song ever played on legendary rock station WBCN in Boston, Massachusetts at approximately 10 p.m on 15 March 1968. It was also the second to last song played on the night of 11 August 2009, leading up to the station's format and callsign change.
  • Cream's recording is featured in the 1983 period piece Purple Haze.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Strong, Martin Charles (2002). The great rock discography. The National Academies. p. 323. ISBN 978-1-84195-312-0. 
  2. ^ a b Clapton, Eric (2007). Clapton: The autobiography. New York: Broadway Books. ISBN 978-0-385-51851-2. 
  3. ^ "Lyrics: Fresh Cream". JackBruce.com. Retrieved 27 September 2011. 
  4. ^ Unterberger, Richie. "Song Review: I Feel Free" at AllMusic. Retrieved 22 February 2010.
  5. ^ "Cream - I Feel Free". chartstats.com. Retrieved 27 September 2011. 
  6. ^ The Illustrated Cream Discography.
  7. ^ "Jack Bruce - I Feel Free". chartstats.com. Retrieved 27 September 2011. 

External links[edit]