Freedom! '90

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"Freedom '90"
Single by George Michael
from the album Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1
B-side "Fantasy"
Released 30 October 1990
Format CD
Genre Pop
Length 6:29
Label Columbia
Writer(s) George Michael
Producer(s) George Michael
George Michael singles chronology
"Mother's Pride"
"Freedom! '90"
"Heal the Pain"
Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 track listing
  1. "Praying for Time"
  2. "Freedom! '90
  3. "They Won't Go When I Go"
  4. "Something to Save"
  5. "Cowboys and Angels"
  6. "Waiting for That Day"
  7. "Mother's Pride"
  8. "Heal the Pain"
  9. "Soul Free"
  10. "Waiting (Reprise)"

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

It was the third single taken from Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1, "Freedom '90" was one of a few uptempo songs on this album, it was also a major hit and went to #8 in the US. The song is referring to George's past success with Wham! but also shows a new side of himself as a new man, who is more cynical about the music business than he had been before. Michael refused to appear in the video and let a group of supermodels appear instead.

George Michael performed the song during the closing ceremony of the 2012 London Olympics.

Music video[edit]

By 1990 Michael had grown weary of publicity, declaring that "I would like to never step in front of a camera again." [1] As a result, he decided not to personally appear in any music videos for his new album. Instead, the high-fashion video for "Freedom! '90" — which was directed by David Fincher and shot by Jeff Cronenweth — featured the lip-sync performance of ten fashion models: five female supermodels who had appeared together on a now-iconic cover of British Vogue in January 1990 (Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Tatjana Patitz, Christy Turlington, and Cindy Crawford), plus top male models John Pearson, Scott Benoit, Mario Sorrenti, Peter Formby, and Todo Segalla.

The video featured the fiery destruction of the three iconic items from Michael's 1987 music video "Faith" that had come to symbolize his public image: his leather jacket, Wurlitzer jukebox, and guitar. Each occurrence of the word "freedom" during the song's chorus is accompanied by a shot of one such item burning or exploding. Additionally, whereas "Faith" had opened with a jukebox phonograph needle touching a vinyl record, "Freedom! '90" opens with a compact disc player's laser beam reading a CD.

Chart performance[edit]

"Freedom '90" was 6:30 long, but a shorter version was made available for radio consumption cutting down the intro and the bridge. 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 12 weeks in late 1990 and early 1991.[2]In Canada, Michael achieved another charttopper.

Charts and certifications[edit]

Chart procession and succession[edit]

Chart (1991) Position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100[11] 95

Formats and track listings[edit]

CD single (USA)
(Released 15 December 1990)

  1. "Freedom! '90" – 6:29
  2. "Fantasy" – 4:12

Cover versions[edit]

Robbie Williams version[edit]

Single by Robbie Williams
Released 12 August 1996
Format CD single, Cassette
Recorded 1996
Genre Pop
Length 4:20
Label Chrysalis
Producer(s) Stephen Hague
Certification Silver (BPI)
Robbie Williams singles chronology
"Old Before I Die"

"Freedom" was covered in 1996 by Robbie Williams who released it as his debut single since leaving Take That. It reached #2 in the UK, twenty-six places higher than George Michael's original, and had not been included on any of his albums until 2010, when it was included on Williams' greatest hits album In and Out of Consciousness: The Greatest Hits 1990–2010. The single had sold 280,000 copies by the end of 1996, being certified Silver by the BPI.[12] 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. The music video shows Williams dancing in the sea and in a field, celebrating his separation from his former group. Williams later admitted that the song had not even been recorded by the scheduled date of filming and instead mimed to George Michael's version of the song.

Track listings[edit]

  1. "Freedom"
  2. "Freedom" (Arthur Baker Mix)
  3. "Freedom" (Instrumental)
  4. "Interview – Part One"
  1. "Freedom" (radio edit)
  2. "Freedom" (The Next Big Genn Mix)
  3. "Freedom" (Arthur Baker's Shake And Bake Mix)
  4. "Interview – Part Two"


Chart (1996) Peak
Australia ARIA Singles Chart 6
Austrian ARIA Singles Chart 19
Belgian (Flanders) Singles Chart 16
Belgian (Wallonia) Singles Chart 16
Dutch Singles Chart 12
Finnish Singles Chart 7
German Singles Chart 10
Irish Singles Chart 6
Italian Singles Chart 8
New Zealand Singles Chart 39
Spain (AFYVE)[14] 1
Swedish Singles Chart 24
Swiss Singles Chart 8
UK Singles Chart 2


  1. ^ "At some point in your career, the situation between yourself and the camera reverses. For a certain number of years, you court it and you need it, but ultimately, it needs you more and it's a bit like a relationship. The minute that happens, it turns you off ... and it does feel like it is taking something from you." Deevoy, Adrian. "Strictly No Admittance: The privatisation of George Michael." Q, September 1990.
  2. ^ Joel Whitburn, The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits (8th Ed. 2004)
  3. ^ a b c d e George Michael - Freedom '90 (song). Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  4. ^ Top Singles - Volume 53, No. 7, 19 January 1991. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  5. ^ Nederlandse Top 40. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  6. ^ Single-Chartverfolgung. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  7. ^ The Irish Charts. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  8. ^ Top 75 Releases. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  9. ^ a b c Freedom! '90 - George Michael. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  10. ^ Gold & Platinum: Searchable Database. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
  11. ^ "Billboard Top 100 - 1991". Retrieved 2009-09-15. 
  12. ^ "Freedom" Silver Certification
  13. ^ Chart Positions for "Freedom"
  14. ^ Salaverri, Fernando (September 2005). Sólo éxitos: año a año, 1959–2002 (1st ed.). Spain: Fundación Autor-SGAE. ISBN 84-8048-639-2.