Someday We'll All Be Free

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"Someday We'll All Be Free"
Single by Donny Hathaway
from the album Extension of a Man
B-side "Love, Love, Love"
Released 1973
Format 7"
Recorded 1971-1973
Genre Soul
Length 4:14
Label Rhino
Writer(s) Donny Hathaway
Edward Howard

"Someday We'll All Be Free" is a 1973 song by Donny Hathaway from the album Extension of a Man. The song was released as the flipside to the single "Love, Love, Love". Though the song was only released as an uncharted A-side, it is considered an R&B standard, having been covered by many artists over the years.

The lyrics were written by Edward Howard, for and about the mental pain that Donny Hathaway was experiencing at the time. Edward Howard said:

"What was going through my mind at the time was Donny, because Donny was a very troubled person. I hoped that at some point he would be released from all that he was going through. There was nothing I could do but write something that might be encouraging for him."

Years later, the song began to be interpreted as being written about black rights, primarily due to Spike Lee featuring it at the end of his biographical film Malcolm X. However, as Howard said:

"A lot of black people have taken the song for some sort of anthem. That's fine. I didn't write it for that, though. It doesn't have that significance for me. I take it with a grain of salt. I'm glad it has some significance."

Donny Hathaway himself particularly loved the song and as Eulalah Hathaway stated:

"He loved that song. Donny literally sat in the studio and cried when he heard the playback of his final mix. It's pretty special when an artist can create something that wipes them out."

Although the song did not chart, the B-side of the single, "Love, Love Love" peaked at #44 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #16 on the R&B charts[1]


  • Sergio Mendes on his self-titled 1975 debut for Elektra Records.
  • Bobby Womack covered the song on his 1985 album of the same name.
  • Regina Belle on her 1989 album "Stay With Me".
  • James Ingram on his 1989 album "It's Real".
  • Aretha Franklin covered the song in the soundtrack for the 1992 film "Malcolm X".
  • Tom Browne on his 1999 compilation album "R 'N' Browne" also with Dianne Reeves did as vocals.
  • Charlie Hunter covered this song as a solo instrumental on his self-titled 2000 Blue Note album.
  • Alicia Keys during the America: A Tribute to Heroes telethon following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
  • Take 6 on their 2002 album "Beautiful World" (this version is a duet with Hathaway's daughter, Lalah Hathaway).
  • Deniece Williams on her 2007 album "Love, Niecy Style".
  • George Benson on his 2009 album "Songs And Stories".
  • Kirk Whalum on his 2010 album Everything Is Everything: The Music Of Donny Hathaway
  • Ben Allison on his 2011 album "Action-Refraction"
  • Cory Henry on his 2012 album "Gotcha Now Doc".
  • Stéphane Belmondo on his 2013 album "Ever After".
  • Bilal during the Grand Performances series in Los Angeles with the Miguel Atwood-Ferguson Ensemble.
  • Helen Baylor covers the song which was used in the season 2 finale of the Martin episode, "Martin's on the Move", and the song appears during the closing credits of the previous seasons.


  1. ^ Charts and Awards for Exenstion of a Man on Allmusic; Retrieved 05-12-2010

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