I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free

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This article is about the song by Billy Taylor. For the album, see I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free (album).
"I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free"
Single by Nina Simone
from the album Silk & Soul
Released 1967
Genre Gospel, Jazz
Length 3:06
Label RCA Records
Writer(s) Billy Taylor, Richard Carroll Lamb (Dick Dallas)

"I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free" is a gospel/jazz song written by Billy Taylor and "Dick Dallas", best known for the recording by Nina Simone in 1967 on her Silk & Soul album. Billy Taylor's original version (as "I Wish I Knew") was recorded on November 12, 1963, and released on his Right Here, Right Now album (Capitol ST-2039) the following year. His 1967 instrumental take was later used as the theme music for the Film programme series on BBC television. The melody is possibly an interpretation of "Hymn to Freedom," written by Oscar Peterson for his 1963 album Night Train.[citation needed]

Billy Taylor has explained: "I wrote this song, perhaps my best-known composition, for my daughter Kim. This is one of the best renditions I’ve done, because it is very spiritual."[1]

Notable cover versions[edit]

The song served as an anthem for the civil-rights movement in America in the 1960s.[2]

It was also used as the theme for the 2004 Olympics, and as the music for Coca-Cola (2004, featuring Sharlene Hector of Basement Jaxx) and Swisscom (2012) commercials. Other versions include:


  1. ^ Billy Taylor Discography
  2. ^ Anderson, Sheila E. How to Grow as a Musician: What All Musicians Must Know to Succeed, Allworth Communications, Inc. p. 67 (2005) - ISBN 1-58115-416-X
  3. ^ Steve McDonald, "Marc Shaiman: Ghosts of Mississippi", AllMusic Review.

External links[edit]