SHINE THE LIGHT! Happy Independence Day U.S.A.!

“Philadelphia Freedom” was released by The Elton John Band as a single in the winter of 1975. The song was one of Elton John’s seven #1 US hits during the early and mid-1970s, which saw his recordings dominating the charts. In Canada, it was his eighth single to hit the top of the RPM national singles chart.

The song was written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin as a favor to John’s friend, tennis star Billie Jean King. King was part of the Philadelphia Freedoms professional tennis team. The song features an orchestral arrangement by Gene Page, including flutes, horns, and strings.

Recorded in the summer of 1974, during breaks between sessions for Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy, the song was at the time the only song Elton John and Bernie Taupin ever consciously wrote as a single, as John told journalist Paul Gambaccini. John was looking to honour Billie Jean King, and so asked Taupin to write a song called “Philadelphia Freedom” as a homage to her tennis team.

In His Song: The Musical History of Elton John, Elizabeth Rosenthal recounts that Taupin said, “I can’t write a song about tennis,” and did not. Taupin maintains that the lyrics bear no relation to tennis, Philly Soul, or even flag-waving patriotism. Nonetheless, the lyrics have been interpreted as patriotic and uplifting, and even though released in 1975, the song’s sentiment, intended or not, meshed perfectly with an American music audience gearing up for the country’s bicentennial celebration in July 1976. In the US, the song was certified Gold in 1975 and Platinum in 1995 by the Recording Industry Association of America.

The song was dedicated in part to the Philadelphia sound: the music of the Delfonics, producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff; and The Spinners, producer Thom Bell, with whom John would work two years later on The Thom Bell Sessions. This song plays in Philadelphia’s Franklin Institute IMAX Theater before every show as a tribute to the city’s love for freedom and its impact on the country. The lyrics are also printed on the walls of the Hard Rock Cafe in Philadelphia.

This song is one of pure sweet melodic bliss, one of Elton’s best…all monster hooks and a truly killer arrangement. It sounds as amazing today as it did back in ’75! The video is basically a mash-up of three of my previous videos; Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes’ “I Miss You” and U2’s “New Year’s Day”, and Jefferson Starship’s “Show Yourself”….a vid made for 2012 Independence Day:

As always a HUGE THANKS to everyone who’s art contributed to this new art…THANK YOU!!!!!!

[Lyrics]
I used to be a rolling stone
You know if a cause was right
I’d leave to find the answer on the road
I used to be a heart beating for someone
But the times have changed
The less I say the more my work gets done

‘Cause I live and breathe this Philadelphia freedom
From the day that I was born I’ve waved the flag
Philadelphia freedom took me knee-high to a man, yeah
Gave me a peace of my mind daddy never had
Philadelphia freedom shine on me, I love you
Shine the light through the eyes of the ones left behind
Shine the light, shine the light
Shine the light, won’t you shine the light
Philadelphia freedom, I love you, yes I do

If you choose to you can live your life alone
Some people choose the city (some people choose the city)
Some others choose the good old family home (Some others choose the good old family home)
I like living easy without family ties (livin’ easy)
‘Til the whippoorwill of freedom zapped me right between the eyes

‘Cause I live and breathe this Philadelphia freedom
From the day that I was born I’ve waved the flag
Philadelphia freedom took me knee-high to a man, humm
Gave me a peace of my mind daddy never had
Philadelphia freedom shine on me, I love you
Shine the light through the eyes of the ones left behind
Shine the light, shine the light
Shine the light, won’t you shine the light
Philadelphia freedom, I love you, yes I do

Oh, Philadelphia freedom shine on me, I love you
Shine the light through the eyes of the ones left behind
Shine the light, shine the light
Shine the light won’t you shine the light
Philadelphia freedom I love,
You know I love,
You know I love you
Yes I do
Philadelphia freedom
I love you, yes I do
Philadelphia freedom
You know that I love you, yes I do
Oh, Philadelphia freedom
Don’t you know that I love you, yes do

Some alt screen caps:

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One comment on “SHINE THE LIGHT! Happy Independence Day U.S.A.!

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