David Bowie originally performed ‘I Feel Free’ during his Ziggy Stardust tour in 1972. Twenty-one years later, Bowie recorded the song for his ‘Black Tie White Noise’ album. This featured guitarist Mick Ronson on a Bowie recording for the first time since 1973. Bowie’s version was also included on a radio promo release of the single ‘Jump They Say’. A live version, recorded 6 May 1972, at Kingston Polytechnic, London, was released on the semi-legal album RarestOneBowie in 1994.
‘I Feel Free’ was first recorded by the British rock band Cream. The song’s lyrics were written by Pete Brown, its music by Jack Bruce. It was the first track on the US issue of their debut album, Fresh Cream (1966).
In this video, Bowie tells the story in his own words.
“When I first worked with the Spiders one of our songs that we’d do as an encore was the Cream’s ‘I Feel Free’. We didn’t think we did it very well, we in fact only did it once. So Mick Ronson and I decided to do, after twenty years actually put ‘I Feel Free’ to tape, and that’s the version we did on ‘Black Tie White Noise’.
“I think the best rule for me personally is that if I feel a little unsafe about where I’m going then I’m going in the right direction. If I’m feeling comfortable with what I’m doing, then something’s wrong.”