Written by Paul McCartney

Album This song officially appears on the Driving Rain Official album.
Timeline This song has been officially released in 2001

Song facts

From Wikipedia:

“Freedom” is a song written and recorded by Paul McCartney in response to the September 11 attacks in 2001. McCartney was in New York City at the time of the attacks, and actually witnessed the destruction while sitting in a plane, which was parked on the tarmac at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, where he and the rest of his former band The Beatles landed in February 1964.

McCartney, who said the attacks affected him emotionally, wrote the song the day after the attack. In the song, the narrator declares freedom to be a “right given by God” that he will “fight for.” The lyrics were thus in seeming contradiction with the antiwar sentiment associated with McCartney’s former act, The Beatles. But at The Concert for New York City where he first played the song live, McCartney explained to the crowd, “It’s about freedom. That’s one thing these people don’t understand. That’s worth fighting for.” In a later interview McCartney commented, “to me it’s a ‘We Shall Overcome.’ That’s sort of how I wrote it. It’s like, ‘Hey, I’ve got freedom, I’m an immigrant coming to America, give me your huddled masses.’ And that’s what it means to me, is, ‘Don’t mess with my rights, buddy. Because I’m now free.'”

The song was released in two versions: a single billed as a studio version (recorded in Quad Studios, New York), and a hidden track on McCartney’s Driving Rain album billed as a live version. It appeared “hidden” because McCartney halted the pressing of the album to include the track at the last minute, and the artwork had already been completed. Both versions feature Eric Clapton on lead guitar, with McCartney’s touring band backing him. The live, album version also featured studio overdubs from the sessions that produced the single version.

The single reached #97 in the Billboard Hot 100 and #20 in the Billboard Adult Contemporary chart. All profits went to the Robin Hood Foundation, to aid the families of New York firemen and police. In the UK, “Freedom” was added to the single “From a Lover to a Friend“, which was released just a week before, but it was not listed on the UK Singles Chart. It has also charted at 61 in the Romanian Top 100.

The song was also featured at the Super Bowl XXXVI pregame show, with a Statue of Liberty tapestry rising up in the background as a tribute to the victims of 9/11.

McCartney performed the song on his 2002 Driving USA Tour and it appeared on the live album Back in the U.S. However, he chose not to perform it on subsequent tours, such as his 2005 The ‘US’ Tour, as he felt the song had acquired a militaristic meaning with the Bush administration’s Operation Iraqi Freedom. In an interview, McCartney stated: “And I thought it was a great sentiment, and immediately post-9/11, I thought it was the right sentiment. But it got hijacked. And it got a bit of a militaristic meaning attached itself to it, and you found Mr. Bush using that kind of idea rather a lot in [a way] I felt altered the meaning of the song.”

All songs written and composed by Paul McCartney. 

Last updated on February 22, 2014


This is my right
A right given by God
To live a free life
To live in freedom

Talking about freedom
Talking about freedom
And I will fight
For the right
To live in freedom

And anyone
Who tries to take it away
Will have to answer
'Cause this is my life

Talkin' about freedom
Talkin' about freedom
And I will fight
For the right
To live in freedom

Officially appears on


CD Single • Released in 2001

3:34 • Studio version • Studio mix

Driving Rain

Official album • Released in 2001

3:34 • Studio versionL1

Paul McCartney :
Acoustic guitar, Bass, Electric guitar, Vocals
Rusty Anderson :
Electric guitar
Abe Laboriel Jr. :
Gabe Dixon :
Electric piano
Eric Clapton :
Electric guitar
Will Lee :

Live recording :
Oct 20, 2001
Studio :
Madison Square Garden

Overdubs :
Oct 23, 2001
Studio :
Quad Studios, New York

Back In The U.S.

Official live • Released in 2002

3:18 • LiveL2

Paul McCartney :
Executive producer
Performed by :
Paul McCartneyRusty AndersonAbe Laboriel Jr.Paul WickensBrian Ray
David Kahne :
Michael Brauer :
Recording engineer
Ricardo Chavarria :
Assistant engineer

Concert From the concert in Dallas, USA on May 09, 2002


MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.26

Unofficial album

3:15 • Studio version • BBC radio 12/13/01

MoMac's Hidden Tracks Vol.26

Unofficial album

1:35 • Studio version • Live on Wettan Das 12/15/01

Let It Drivin'

Unofficial live

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