I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free

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"I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free"
Single by Nina Simone
from the album Silk & Soul
GenreGospel, Jazz
LabelRCA Records
Songwriter(s)Billy Taylor, Richard Carroll Lamb (Dick Dallas)

"I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free" is a jazz song written by Billy Taylor and Dick Dallas. 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... review programme series on BBC Television.

Taylor said: "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]

Cover versions[edit]

The song served as an anthem for the Civil Rights Movement in America in the 1960s.[2] A widely played version was recorded by Nina Simone in 1967 on her Silk & Soul album.

Lighthouse Family covered it as (I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be) Free/One.

Other artists who have covered the song include Don Shirley (1968), Illinois Jacquet (1968), Solomon Burke (1968), Cold Blood (1969), John Denver (1969), Mary Travers (1971), Jools Holland (1997), Levon Helm (2009), Tedeschi Trucks Band, and Emeli Sandé (2012). The song was also covered by Andra Day for the 2018 Film Acrimony


  1. ^ "Billy Taylor Discography". Archived from the original on 5 December 2007. Retrieved 9 February 2018.
  2. ^ Anderson, Sheila E. (2005). How to Grow as a Musician: What All Musicians Must Know to Succeed. Allworth Communications, Inc. p. 67. ISBN 1-58115-416-X.

External links[edit]