I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free

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"I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free"
Single by Nina Simone
from the album Silk & Soul
Released 1967
Genre Gospel, Jazz
Length 3:06
Label RCA Records
Songwriter(s) Billy Taylor, Richard Carroll Lamb (Dick Dallas)

"I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be Free" is a jazz song written by Billy Taylor and Dick Dallas. Taylor's original version (as "I Wish I Knew") was recorded on November 12, 1963, and released on his Right Here, Right Now! album (Capitol ST-2039) the following year. His 1967 instrumental take was later used as the theme music for the Film... review programme series on BBC Television.

Taylor said: "I wrote this song, perhaps my best-known composition, for my daughter Kim, this is one of the best renditions I’ve done because it is very spiritual."[1]

Cover versions[edit]

The song served as an anthem for the Civil Rights Movement in America in the 1960s,[2] it was used as the theme for the 2004 Olympics, and as the music for Coca-Cola (2004, featuring Sharlene Hector of Basement Jaxx), and during the 2017 Super for a Ford commercial. And Swisscom (2012) commercials.[citation needed] A widely played version was recorded by Nina Simone in 1967 on her Silk & Soul album.

Lighthouse Family covered it as (I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel to Be) Free/One.

Other artists who have covered the song include Illinois Jacquet (1968), Solomon Burke (1968), John Denver (1969), Jools Holland (1997) and Emeli Sandé (2012).


  1. ^ "Billy Taylor Discography". Archived from the original on 5 December 2007. Retrieved 9 February 2018. 
  2. ^ Anderson, Sheila E. (2005). How to Grow as a Musician: What All Musicians Must Know to Succeed. Allworth Communications, Inc. p. 67. ISBN 1-58115-416-X. 

External links[edit]