Freedom '90

Album: Listen Without Prejudice Vol. 1 (1990)
Charted: 28 8


  • George Michael was trying to free himself from the shackles of Sony, which was his record label at the time. They created an image for him to promote his Faith album, and Michael was now trying to distance himself from it. In the video, all the Faith trademarks explode: the jacket, the jukebox, the guitar. Michael was the victim of a Saturday Night Live skit mocking the video.
  • When the video first came out, viewers were quite shocked because George Michael was barely in it (he doesn't appear in "Praying For Time," also from the album, at all). This was part of his effort to distance himself from his image and bring the focus to his music, and he did it in a very clever way for this video: He got a bunch of Supermodels to lip sync for him. Appearing in the clip were Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Christy Turlington and Tatjana Patitz. These five had recently appeared together on the cover of the UK edition of Vogue magazine, which gave Michael the idea.

    The video was directed by David Fincher, who was a top music video director before moving on to feature films like Fight Club, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and The Social Network. The "Freedom '90" clip was shot in London over a weekend.
  • In the video, there is a man shot from the waist down - he walks and he scratches his boxers. That is Michael. His scene goes with the line, "When you shake your ass they notice fast some mistakes were built to last," referring to the flack he got from his tush in "Faith," and the consequent spoof of him and his butt on SNL. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Margaret - Buellton, CA
  • The song is autobiographical and chronicles Michael's Wham days with lines like: "Heaven knows we sure had some fun boy, what a kick just a buddy and me, we had every big-shot good-time band on the run boy, we were living in a fantasy."
  • In 1996, Robbie Williams released a cover version as his first single after leaving the boy-band Take That. His version tanked, but Williams recovered and went on to a successful solo career with his 1997 album Life Thru a Lens.
  • Alicia Keys performed this as part of her set during the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards. While she was performing this, Kid Rock and Tommy Lee got in a fight that was likely fueled by the presence of Pamela Anderson, who was part of the show. The incident did not appear in the broadcast, but a camera caught the end of the melee and MTV made this video available online.
  • The year was added to the song title, originally released as "Freedom," so as not to confuse it with the hit single by Wham! also titled "Freedom." >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Lance - Clinton Corners, NY
  • For Entertainment Weekly's 2017 George Michael tribute issue, Cindy Crawford spoke about her experience filming the music video for this song. "I heard from director David Fincher that George wanted the group of women who had done a 1990 cover of British Vogue together exactly, no substitutions," she said. "It seemed like it was George's idea to do this video, where it wasn't about him even though the song was obviously about him. Everyone shot [scenes] separately so it wasn't like a big party atmosphere. We each had our own personalities within the video. But I remember being bummed, like, 'Really? I have to be in the bathtub with a towel on my head? Everyone else gets to look so cool!' Then when I saw it after I was like, 'okay this is pretty cool.'

    For so many of us, [George's songs were] the soundtrack of our young coming of age. But more than the music, it was the message that was just as important. MTV had really changed the face of music. It wasn't enough to have a great voice anymore. You had to be the whole package. George Michael deciding at that pivotal moment that he didn't want to play the game in the same way, that he wanted to make it his own game, was a great message. I think people loved him more because of that."
  • This plays in the 2016 movie Keanu in a shootout scene where Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key save a kitten and kill some bad guys. It's also used in a scene where Key takes gruff from his homies when he plays the song. "This s--t sounds kind of white," one of them tells him. Key retorts: "This is George Michael, one of the greatest recording artists of all time. This dude real O.G. up in here."

    He then explains that Michael wasn't black, but still gangsta:

    "He used to roll with this ni--a Ridgeley, then George Michael's trying to do that solo thing, and then Wham!... nobody ever see Ridgeley ever again."

    The film was released about eight months before Michael's death.

    The song also appears in these films:

    Last Christmas (2019)
    Pitch Perfect 3 (2017)
    The Nanny Diaries (2007)
    I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (2007)
  • The "freedom" refrain in this song makes it perfect for commercials, and it has been used in a few. The first that we know of is a 2009 spot for Dolce & Gabbana to launch their fragrance, Anthology. Like the song's video, the commercial stars Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schiffer. In 2012, it was used in spots for Chase (the "Freedom" card) and in 2019 it showed up in spots for T-Mobile.

Comments: 12

  • Viktoria Semenenko from Ukraine"I've never thought myself as a gay artist"

    But talking about a fantasy George also meant he never felt like it was he in Wham! period especially for "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go" video. But from our destinies point of view I just really didn't belong to him but Alexander Severe so it's obvious why he wanted to stick around.
  • Freedomvelez from Cebu City,mandaue City, PhilippinesMy name is freedom so i must be proud of may name thank you george michael what a incredible song maybe i want to give thanks and give all that i know yes this me .....
  • Heather from Madison, WiI absolutely love this song and video......

    .......very liberating to shake your money-maker too.....
  • Vinman from Casselberry, FlAwesome song and video, but how can you forget
    Cindy Crawford!!!!!in the bath tub no less.
  • Lance from Clinton Corners, UgandaThe best video of all time, and one of the best songs. The German model Tatjana Patiz is so wonderful on both the eyes and her lip synching! I have Listen Without Prejudice and the song is only listed as "Freedom." I have heard that Micheal added "90" to the title so that it would not be confused with the song by Wham! with the same title. Yeah, like that would ever happen!
  • Jon from St. Paul, MnI don't know what it is about this song. But I just love it soooooo much. It is one of those songs where I could listen to it over and over again and not get tired of. I think it is also a fun song to sing along with and it has a great beat. I think George Michael is such a talented and amazing singer :)
  • Mike from Santa Barbara, CaThis song is best remembered by the number of supermodels who lip sync the lyrics. They are Linda Evangilista, Christy Turlington, Naomi Campbell, Tatjana Patitz, and Cindy Crawford.
  • Mjn Seifer from Not Listed For Personal Reason, EnglandThe only thing I don't like about this song is that people keep thinking I mean this when I tell them my favourite Wham! song.
  • Sum Sum from New Delhi, Indiasame here, its one of my fav song and music video as well. George featured all the top chic models in the video. No one can beat him. his every video is very different.
  • Sascha from Stuttgart, GermanyIt's a great song that makes you feel that George had just found to himself both artistically and personally. His whole "Listen Without Prejudice" album (1990) is so wonderfully authentic and reflected George's hunger to free himself from certain stereotypes and from his past. He was just ready to be himself and to find love and happiness.
  • Leon from Waterbury, CtOne of my favorite videos and a fantastic song.
  • Craig from Madison, WiOne of the hottest videos of all time. Makes me stammer just thinking about it.
see more comments

Editor's Picks

Mike Scott of The Waterboys

Mike Scott of The WaterboysSongwriter Interviews

The stories behind "Whole Of The Moon" and "Red Army Blues," and why rock music has "outlived its era of innovation."

Booker T. Jones

Booker T. JonesSongwriter Interviews

The Stax legend on how he cooked up "Green Onions," the first time he and Otis Redding saw hippies, and if he'll ever play a digital organ.

Charlie Benante of Anthrax

Charlie Benante of AnthraxSongwriter Interviews

The drummer for Anthrax is also a key songwriter. He explains how the group puts their songs together and tells the stories behind some of their classics.

Five Rockers Who Rolled With The Devil

Five Rockers Who Rolled With The DevilSong Writing

Just how much did these monsters of rock dabble in the occult?

Experience Nirvana with Sub Pop Founder Bruce Pavitt

Experience Nirvana with Sub Pop Founder Bruce PavittSong Writing

The man who ran Nirvana's first label gets beyond the sensationalism (drugs, Courtney) to discuss their musical and cultural triumphs in the years before Nevermind.

Kip Winger

Kip WingerSongwriter Interviews

The Winger frontman reveals the Led Zeppelin song he cribbed for "Seventeen," and explains how his passion for orchestra music informs his songwriting.