Looking for Freedom (song)

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For the album, see Looking for Freedom (album).
"Looking for Freedom"
Single by David Hasselhoff
from the album Looking for Freedom
B-side Remix
Released 1988
Format 7" single, 12" maxi, CD maxi
Genre Pop
Length 3:55
Label White
Writer(s) Jack White
Gary Cowtan
Producer(s) Jack White

"Looking for Freedom", with music by Jack White and lyric by Gary Cowtan, came out as a single from David Hasselhoff in 1989 (originally released in 1978 with German singer Marc Seaberg[1]). The song held the No. 1 positions in the former West Germany for 8 weeks[2] and in Switzerland for 4 weeks. Matthew Wilkening of AOL Radio ranked it at #98 on the list of the 100 Worst Songs Ever, stating that Hasselhoff "testifies to the power of music — horrible, horrible music — to unite and uplift us all."[3]


The song is about a rich man's son who wants to make his own way in the world, rather than to have everything given to him. Contrary to popular belief and although those two songs are linked, it was not a cover version of the German Schlager 'Auf der Straße nach Süden' performed in 1978 by Tony Marshall.[2] Neither was it a revamped Irish folk song, as once stated by David Hasselhoff on a TV talk show.[citation needed]

The composer was Jack White (German) and "Looking for Freedom" was the original title and lyric of the song, written by Gary Cowtan (British). It was already finished before Jon Athan began writing the German lyric. The later recorded German version sung by Tony Marshall was released some weeks after the original version sung by Marc Seaberg. The misleading factor was that Marc Seaberg was a new artist in 1978, whereas Tony Marshall was already an established star. Both of these versions, recorded at Hansa Studio 2 in Berlin, used the same instrumental tracks and some of these were again used on David Hasselhoff's 1989 version, which was completed in Los Angeles. All three versions were produced by Jack White.

Performance at Berlin Wall[edit]

As seen in an early viral video rediscovered in the late 90s,[4] Hasselhoff famously performed this song before throngs of pro-German reunification activists at the Berlin Wall on New Year's Eve 1989, mere weeks after the wall started being taken down. Wearing a piano-keyboard tie and a leather jacket covered in motion lights, Hasselhoff stood in a bucket crane and performed the song along with the crowd. On a later tour of Germany in 2004, Hasselhoff would lament that a photo of him was lacking from the Checkpoint Charlie Museum in Berlin.[5]

Cover versions and uses in the media[edit]

Swedish dansband, pop and country singer Kikki Danielsson covered the song on her 2006 album I dag & i morgon.

In 2006, German basketball player Dirk Nowitzki joked that he sings the song before free throws.

In a commercial for Norwegian telephone company Telenor's "Djuice Freedom" subscription plan, David Hasselhoff is shown singing the song, with a voiceover that says, "David Hasselhoff is looking for freedom, Are you?"[citation needed]

The song plays on the car stereo in 2012's Cloud Atlas as Jim Broadbent's Timothy Cavendish flees a tyrannical nursing home in one of the segments directed by German Tom Tykwer.[citation needed]

Moone Boy's Martin Moone and his imaginary friend (played by Chris O'Dowd) dance to it on their own wall as the live transmission of the fall of the Berlin Wall plays on television, ending the episode "Another Prick In The Wall" also from 2012.[citation needed]

ESPN used this song in an ad advertising a Knicks vs Mavericks Wednesday night game, using Dirk Nowitzki as backdrop.

Track listings[edit]

7" single
  1. "Looking for Freedom" — 3:55
  2. "Looking for Freedom" (instrumental) — 3:55
CD maxi
  1. "Looking for Freedom" (maxi version — vocal) — 5:32
  2. "Looking for Freedom" (single version — vocal) — 3:55
  3. "Looking for Freedom" (single version — instrumental) — 3:55
12" maxi
  1. "Looking for Freedom" (maxi version — vocal) — 5:32
  2. "Looking for Freedom" (single version — vocal) — 3:55
  3. "Looking for Freedom" (single version — instrumental) — 3:55

Charts and sales[edit]

Chart successions[edit]

Preceded by
"Something's Gotten Hold of My Heart" by Marc Almond featuring Gene Pitney
German number-one single
March 31, 1989 – May 19, 1989 (8 weeks)
Succeeded by
"The Look" by Roxette
Preceded by
"Like a Prayer" by Madonna
Swiss number-one single
April 30, 1989 – May 21, 1989 (4 weeks)
Preceded by
"She Drives Me Crazy" by Fine Young Cannibals
Austrian number-one single
May 15, 1989 (1 week)
Succeeded by
"Nur ein Lied" by Thomas Forstner


  1. ^ http://www.discogs.com/Marc-Seaberg-Looking-For-Freedom-Shorty/release/1281693
  2. ^ a b Bill Brioux, Truth and rumors, pp. 94–96 
  3. ^ Wilkening, Matthew (2010-09-11). "100 Worst Songs Ever". AOL Radio. Retrieved 2010-12-18. 
  4. ^ ZDF TV, David Hasselhoff at Berlin Wall 1989 on YouTube
  5. ^ BBC News, Did David Hasselhoff really help end the Cold War?, 2004-12-06
  6. ^ a b c "Looking for Freedom", in various singles charts Lescharts.com (Retrieved April 10, 2008)
  7. ^ German Singles Chart Charts-surfer.de (Retrieved April 10, 2008)
  8. ^ 1989 Austrian Singles Chart Austriancharts.at (Retrieved April 20, 2008)
  9. ^ 1989 Swiss Singles Chart Hitparade.ch (Retrieved April 20, 2008)
  10. ^ "Gold-/Platin-Datenbank ('Looking+for+Freedom')" (in German). Bundesverband Musikindustrie. Retrieved April 20, 2008. 

External links[edit]