Ah, nothing like sitting around on any given day jammin’ tunes about freedom.
Maybe they make you think of drinking a tall glass of lemonade on the Fourth of July or fighting for your independence. In any case, there is little more that makes us feel more nostalgic than cranking up freedom songs.
So, let’s take a trip down memory lane with 27 of the best songs about freedom.
Song year: 1984
Oh, the lyrics, the melodies, the big drums, and Freddie Mercury’s voice. This song is a masterpiece that laments the conflict of wanting to break free of a toxic relationship yet not wanting to be alone.
And who could forget the famous video of the band members dressed as women? Although it was banned temporarily in the United States, the campy video went down as one of the most famous in music video history.
Song year: 1998
With his signature style, Lenny jams some funky guitar riffs and makes clear his desire to break free from the monotony of everyday life. On top of that, he wants to take his favorite girl with him. Together they will fly away — yeah, yeah.
“Fly Away” is one of Lenny’s biggest hits. It appears on his fifth album, 5, and almost didn’t make it onto the record because he wrote it after the album was nearly finished. Good thing he included it, though. It won him a Grammy for Best Male Rock Performance in 1999. It’s also been used in movies, for sports montages, in commercials, and more.
Song year: 2003
This first big song for Kelly Clarkson is all about freedom with a twist: freedom from your self-imposed walls. Although it’s been said that the song was originally meant for Christina Aguilera, as fate would have it, Kelly ended up recording it and it became a major hit.
In this song, Kelly talks about how strong she is and how she never needed anyone. Toward the end of the tune, she’s letting her defenses down and finally ready to let love in.
Song year: 1990
Who can forget George Michael’s soulful wailing, “Yeah, yeah, freedom!?” There are so many catchy hooks and lyrics in this song that it’s hard to single out the standouts.
George Michael wrote the song in response to wanting to get out of his contract with Sony Records — as well as coming to terms with his sexuality. He was angry with the image Sony had created for him and was ready to set out on his own.
The famous video featured a bevy of supermodels and went down as one of the most famous in MTV history.
Song year: 1975
Think this upbeat tune is about Philadelphia? Think again. Elton John and Bernie Taupin wrote this song for Elton’s friend, Billie Jean King.
At the time, Billie Jean was part of a professional team, the Philadelphia Freedoms. But the song isn’t about tennis at all. “Freedom” is said to be Billie Jean’s favorite word. The song exudes joy and became huge in the United States, as it was released shortly before the country’s bicentennial celebration.
Song year: 1993
Whoa, nothing like burning down the house. Ironically, this singable tune with its upbeat sound is a song about a fed-up woman experiencing domestic violence who’s had enough.
“Day-ay-ay of reckoning,” Martina belts out. The song is from the perspective of her eight-year-old self who watches her mama finally leave her drunk and cheating daddy in dramatic fashion. Sadly, the little girl is sent to live in the county home.
Song year: 1979
In this classic song, Bob Marley encourages us to free our minds. “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery,” he said, quoting from a speech given by Marcus Garvey, a Jamaican political activist, journalist, and entrepreneur.
The acoustic version featuring Bob Marley’s haunting lyrics has been named the most influential song in Jamaican music history.
Song year: 1992
When this four-member “girl group” busted onto the scene with “Free Your Mind,” people listened. The lyrics asked people to stop being so prejudiced — to free their minds.
Indeed, the group challenged people to drop assumptions based on race, color, socio-economic status, or how one dresses. The song was ahead of its time in some ways and could be just as big of a hit today.
Song year: 1977
This hauntingly beautiful song with the big drums and unique guitar chords coupled with Stevie Nicks’ exquisite vocals put Fleetwood Mac on the map. The first single from their album Rumours is all about loving someone and letting them go.
“Dreams” got a whole new generation of fans in 2020 thanks to a TikTok challenge that put the song back on the charts four decades after its original release. Stevie Nicks even made a TikTok in a nod of appreciation.
Song year: 1984
This upbeat mega-hit from his Wham days features George Michael begging a girl to be his. He doesn’t even care if she wants to live her own life or do her own thing — he doesn’t “want her freedom,” because all he wants is her.
Written by George, a church organ version of the song was used as the intro to his later hit song “Faith,” which some say symbolized a bridge to his solo career.
Song year: 1976
Insane guitar riffs and Geddy Lee’s soaring vocals lend a depth to this song that anyone pondering the meaning of life can relate to.
Not one of Rush’s most popular songs, but certainly one of the most beloved among Rush fans, the band’s message is loud and clear: Be your own person, owe no one anything, and be the master of your destiny.
Song year: 2010
Kid Rock released this hit as the first song off his album by the same name. The accompanying video, showing Kid riding his motorcycle and reflecting on the beach, is all about his thankfulness for being born free.
Soaring lyrics accompanied by Kid’s raspy voice make this song a classic among Kid Rock fans everywhere.
Song year: 1989
It’s ironic that a tune with such haunting lyrics can be so fun to belt out while driving or partying with friends.
In the song, Tom Petty wails about a “good girl” he left behind. The song is all about not wanting to be tied down, but regretting it years later.
In a 2016 interview, Tom revealed that the song was not written about a real “good girl” he knew, but rather was a composite character based on people he observed on Ventura Boulevard.
Song year: 1965
This song written by Keith Richards and Mick Jagger is all about doing whatever you want to do, whenever; it has upbeat guitar sounds and tambourines to back up its confident, in-your-face swaggering lyrics.
This song was so popular that it was covered in 1990 by the UK band The Soup Dragons and sampled by Pitbull 2017 in his song “Freedom.” Both versions were big hits.
Song year: 2015
Don’t let the snappy beat and rousing chorus fool you, this song by Pharrell Williams makes a subtle political statement that we all need to be aware of injustices in the world and fight for freedom.
Pharrell dedicated this song, the follow-up to his massively popular hit, “Happy,” to refugees seeking asylum in Europe. The song also appeared on the movie soundtrack for Despicable Me 3.
Song year: 2012
Powerful lyrics combined with the soulful voices of Anthony Hamilton and Elayna Boynton added another strong emotional component to the film Django Unchained, in which the song appears.
This song, which evokes images of slavery and freedom in the context of the film, is also a rallying cry for anyone attempting to leave a dysfunctional relationship.
Song year: 1973
Arguably one of the most famous breakup or “I can’t commit” songs of all time, “Free Bird” was the biggest commercial hit for Lynyrd Skynyrd. The band members originally thought the song was too long, but it became their biggest hit.
A rock classic, “Free Bird” laments the loneliness of life on the road and the people you leave behind. Its rousing guitar outro wasn’t added to the song until a year or so after it was originally released, but became the perfect rousing ending to the slow, introspective intro.
Song year: 1984
Country singer Lee Greenwood wrote this song in response to the shooting down of Korean Airlines Flight 007, although it's a song he says he always wanted to write. The patriotic tune was played at the 1984 Republican National Convention, but regained popularity after the September 11 attacks and during the Iraq war.
The song, unfortunately, gained some notoriety when Donald Trump began to use it on the campaign trail, but it had already been around for nearly 40 years. Millions of Americans sing it every year on the Fourth of July.
Song year: 2016
In this powerful track with Kendrick Lamar on her album, Lemonade, Beyonce covers systemic racism, police brutality, slavery, cultural violence, and other injustices. But the song is about personal freedom, too, and breaking away from the chains that bind us.
Whether or not the song is cathartic is a personal opinion. Most importantly, it gets us thinking.
Song year: 2017
Underpinning this upbeat song by Garth Brooks are deep, meaningful lyrics telling the world that we will not be free until we all are united. We are not different races, Garth says, but all humans. Beyond race, the song addresses poverty, climate change, gender, and other important topics.
Throughout his video for the song, Garth features background speakers from Barack Obama and Bono, among others. The song is a rallying cry for everyone to unite and come together as one.
Song year: 2000
This feminist empowerment song from the movie Charlie’s Angels encourages women everywhere to own their independence.
With an infectious dance beat, the song was included in Destiny Child’s third album, Survivor. It was a huge hit song, which debuted at number one and stayed on the Billboard Hot 100 chart for 11 weeks. Fifth Harmony covered the song while touring before breaking up in 2018.
Song year: 1997
FFF stands for Fight for Freedom but could easily stand for Fight, Fight, Fight — the refrain of this jammin’ metal hit by Megadeth. Imploring listeners to “fight for freedom,” “fight for anything,” the song is about fighting against political injustice and for personal freedom.
Although not one of Megadeth’s well-known songs, FFF is an anthem for underdogs putting your fist in the air and fighting for what’s right.
Song year: 2003
Toby Keith’s anthem to soldiers held the number one spot on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart for four weeks. The song is about an Army Reservist who is deployed.
The video for the song shows footage from several wars and depicts soldiers in various emotional states. The patriotic song is all the more meaningful set to Toby’s rich, deep vocals.
Song year: 2005
These punk rockers hit the nail on the head with this tune extolling the benefits of freedom when you have nothing else to live for. And their one rule for the free? “Don’t hurt anybody!”
“Freedom & Liberty” is the seventh track from the album, Hello from the Underground. Its catchy beat made it popular with fans of Funeral Dress, a Belgian band that formed in 1985, with a long string of albums making political statements.
Song year: 1964
Sam Cooke wrote this big soulful song after being turned away from a white motel. It was the era of the Civil Rights movement and Sam captured it beautifully with lyrics to “A Change is Gonna Come.”
The song was composed as if written for a movie soundtrack, with horns, strings, and the timpani. After performing it live once, Sam said he never wanted to perform it again due to the complexity of the arrangement. Sadly, he was shot dead two weeks before the single’s release.
The song, one of the most important during the Civil Rights Era, was selected in 2007 for preservation in the Library of Congress.
Song year: 1984
This wildly popular dance song was a huge hit in the early ‘80s. First performed by British group Talk Talk, it featured lead singer Mark Hollis singing about realizing you’re in love with someone but then struggling to decide how much of yourself to commit. Talk Talk toured with Duran Duran and both bands heavily used the synthesizer sounds popular in that decade.
“It’s My Life” was covered in 2003 by No Doubt and again in 2017 as an extended club version by Gigabyte.
Song year: 1989
The German band the Scorpions wrote the power ballad “Wind of Change” following a 1989 concert they played in Moscow. Moved by the love the Russian people showed them, lead singer Klaus Meine has said the song was about the unifying spirit the band felt that night. It was during the time that the Soviet Union was collapsing and the song reflected that.
However, when the Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989, the song became the unofficial anthem for that amazing time in history when Germany was reunified.
So, there you have it: Our list of songs about freedom.
Bring back happy memories? Make you remember how it felt when you rebelled against your parents as a teenager? Or make you sad when you think back to an old breakup that hurt?
Whatever the case, we hope you enjoyed these songs about freedom.
Freedom is a gift that none of us can ever take for granted. The joy or pain we feel when singing songs about freedom is what truly makes us human.