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"Born Free" is a popular song with music by John Barry, and lyrics by Don Black.[1] It was written for the 1966 film of the same name and won an Academy Award for Best Original Song.[1]

"Born Free"
Single by Matt Monro
from the album Born Free soundtrack
B-side"Other People"
Released1966 (1966)
Songwriter(s)John Barry, Don Black
Matt Monro singles chronology
"Born Free"
"And You Smiled"
"Born Free"
Single by Roger Williams
Released1966 (1966)
Songwriter(s)John Barry, Don Black

The song's composers John Barry and Don Black asked British singer Matt Monro, who was managed by Black at the time, to record the song for the film's soundtrack. The producers of the film considered the song uncommercial, however, and deleted it from the print shown at its Royal Command premiere in London. When Monro, who attended the event, made Black aware of the edit, they successfully lobbied the producers to restore it. Monro's interpretation appeared over the closing credits in a shortened version recorded especially for the film, which enabled it to qualify for the Academy Award. Monro's complete commercial recording was released on the film's soundtrack album and became the singer's signature tune for the remainder of his career.

Roger Williams, Andy Williams, and Frank Sinatra all recorded cover versions. Roger Williams' version was noted for its use of a male chorus, which is heard in the second half of the song, which followed the instrumental portion. The song reached number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 and number one on the Adult contemporary chart for six non-consecutive weeks in September/October 1966,[2] while Andy Williams' version was not released as a single. Ed Ames recorded a version of the song in a 1968 album. "Born Free" also appeared on the Vic Reeves album I Will Cure You. Released as a single, this version peaked at #6 in the UK Singles Chart in 1991.[1]

Other recordings have included an instrumental version of the song recorded by Hank Marvin in 1969, and released both as a single and on his eponymous album; calypso singer Mighty Sparrow's collaboration with Byron Lee for their 1969 album Only a Fool; trumpet player Maynard Ferguson on his 1969 album The Ballad Style of Maynard Ferguson; and a recording by The Mormon Tabernacle Choir featured in the 2005 film Madagascar. It was also featured on the 2007 soundtrack Dexter: Music From the Television Series. The song was also parodied in The Simpsons, in the episode "Whacking Day" (aired 1993), which was sung by Gene Merlino.

The song is featured in a 2012 TV commercial for the Land Rover LR4. Land Rover has a history with Born Free, being a corporate sponsor of the Born Free Foundation.[3] and their vehicles having been mentioned prominently in the original Joy Adamson book. In November 2012 Queen guitarist Brian May and West End and Broadway singer Kerry Ellis released their version of "Born Free" in aid of the Born Free Foundation.[4] The 2012 video game Silent Hill: Downpour features the song which can be heard throughout on gramophones. The significance of "Born Free" is in relation to the game's theme of prison and captivity. In 2018 Born Free was used in a UK television commercial for Cow & Gate’s Follow on Milk.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c Roberts, David (2006). British Hit Singles & Albums (19th ed.). London: Guinness World Records Limited. p. 135. ISBN 1-904994-10-5.
  2. ^ Whitburn, Joel (2002). Top Adult Contemporary: 1961-2001. Record Research. p. 259.
  3. ^ Born Free Foundation at

External linksEdit