The Free Electric Band

Album: The Free Electric Band (1973)
Charted: 19 48
Play Video

Songfacts®:

  • Unlike the Tom Dice song "Me And My Guitar" which was recorded nearly four decades later, Albert Hammond's monster hit "The Free Electric Band" is not about chasing the dream but about playing music just for the hell of it.

    While written from an American perspective - the privileged upper middle class white kid who drops out much to the amazement (and probably disgust) of his parents - war baby Hammond was actually born in London, although his own parents hailed from Gibraltar, whence they returned shortly. Mike Hazlewood (1941-2001), who co-wrote the song, was also born in England, of native stock.
  • This is not a song about contempt for the system, middle class values, or anything like that, but about knowing what freedom and happiness really mean.

    Just give me bread and water, put a guitar in my hand
    'Cos all I need is music and the free electric band


    The narrator even gives up his girl because although she appears to share his dream, what she really wants is a house with a garden and a white picket fence, in short everything his parents had, want him to have, and for which he has no time at all. As stated, this is not a song about contempt for middle class values, it is not even one about self-discovery, but about a true vocation and true happiness.
  • In September 2010, the British singer-songwriter George Michael was jailed for eight weeks after pleading guilty to possessing cannabis and driving under the influence of drugs. This was not the first time he had appeared in court due to this deadly mix; his other problems have been well documented by the media. At the time this occurred, Michael was probably worth around a hundred million pounds, and his music has brought him the adulation of millions, but it remains to be seen if he will ever find the happiness of Hammond's free spirited troubadour. Him and so many other talented, successful and wealthy men and women.
  • "The Free Electric Band" was released on the Mums label; the song was arranged and conducted by Michael Omartian, and produced by Hammond. It was backed by "You Taught Me To Sing The Blues." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Alexander Baron - London, England, for all above

Comments: 2

  • C from UsI think this song is satire. The narrator has all this opportunity around him, but chooses to ignore it because he is so focused on his music.
  • Dj from SocalGreat song...heard it for the first time last month. It's a lot of fun. It's funny to hear Hammond sing about being an American with a British accent!
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Stand By Me: The Perfect Song-Movie Combination

Stand By Me: The Perfect Song-Movie CombinationSong Writing

In 1986, a Stephen King novella was made into a movie, with a classic song serving as title, soundtrack and tone.

Narada Michael Walden - "Freeway of Love"

Narada Michael Walden - "Freeway of Love"They're Playing My Song

As a songwriter and producer, Narada had hits with Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Starship. But what song does he feel had the greatest impact on his career?

Rush: Album by Album - A Conversation With Martin Popoff

Rush: Album by Album - A Conversation With Martin PopoffSong Writing

A talk with Martin Popoff about his latest book on Rush and how he assessed the thousands of albums he reviewed.

Who's Johnny, And Why Does He Show Up In So Many Songs

Who's Johnny, And Why Does He Show Up In So Many SongsSong Writing

For songwriters, Johnny represents the American man. He has been angry, cool, magic, a rebel and, of course, marching home.

Randy Houser

Randy HouserSongwriter Interviews

The "How Country Feels" singer talks Skynyrd and songwriting.

Facebook, Bromance and Email - The First Songs To Use New Words

Facebook, Bromance and Email - The First Songs To Use New WordsSong Writing

Where words like "email," "thirsty," "Twitter" and "gangsta" first showed up in songs, and which songs popularized them.