"Unchain My Heart" is a song written by Bobby Sharp (1924-2013) and recorded first in 1961 by Ray Charles and in 1963 by Trini Lopez and later by many others. Sharp, a drug addict at the time, sold the song to Teddy Powell for $50. Powell demanded half the songwriting credit. Sharp later successfully fought for the rights to his song. In 1987, he was also able to renew the copyright for his publishing company, B. Sharp Music.
The song was a hit for Charles when released as a single in late 1961. Accompanied by his Raelettes, Charles sang about wanting to be free from a woman "who won't let (him) go". His band included longtime saxophonist David "Fathead" Newman. The song reached number nine on the pop singles chart and number one on the R&B singles chart and was the working title of Charles' 2004 biopic Ray.
The track was further popularised by Joe Cocker when he named his 1987 album after the song. His version of the song was re-released in 1992 and reached #17 in the UK. In Australia, the Howard government used the Joe Cocker version to promote the television advertisements for the introduction of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) in 2000.
Another a cappella group, the Bobs, recorded a version in 1994 and George Williams released a version on his Shades album in 2002.