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"Philadelphia Freedom" is a song released by Elton John (as "Elton John Band") as a single in 1975. The song was one of John's numerous number-one U.S. hit singles 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.[1] The song was written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin as a favor to Elton's friend, tennis star Billie Jean King. King was part of the Philadelphia Freedoms tennis team. The song features orchestral arrangements by Gene Page.

Recorded in the summer of 1974, during breaks between the sessions for "Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy," the song was at the time the only song Elton and Bernie ever consciously wrote as a single, as Elton told journalist Paul Gambaccini. Elton, looking to honor his friend, tennis professional Billie Jean King, asked Bernie to write a song called "Philadelphia Freedom," and 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 didn't. Taupin maintains that the lyrics bear no relation to tennis, Philly Soul or even flag-waving patriotism. Nonetheless, his words 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 already gearing up for the country's bicentennial celebration in July of the next year.

The song, was however, dedicated in part to the sound of Philadelphia, especially the music of the Delfonics, producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, and the Spinners and that group's producer, Thom Bell.

Elton performed the song on "Soul Train" (along with "Bennie and the Jets"). Another of Elton's stage favorites, crowds have heard it numerous times live in concert through the years, including a rarely-performed solo version performed in October 1999 and released on "Live in Madison Square Garden" Vol. 1 for EltonJohn.com subscribers.

This song plays in Philadelphia's Franklin Institute IMAX Theater before every show to express the city's love for freedom and impact on shaping the country. The lyrics can also be found printed on the walls of the Hard Rock Cafe in Philadelphia.

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Label:  MCA
Release Date:  March 8, 1975
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