One of Elton John’s most instantly recognizable as well as signature pieces, “Philadelphia Freedom” was initially released in early 1975 as a 7” single. Also noteworthy is the flipside which includes a live version of “I Saw Her Standing There” that features John Lennon during what would be his final concert performance. The first appearance of the track on an LP was not until the 1977 Elton John’s Greatest Hits Vol. 2 compilation. The easily danceable proto-disco rhythm is a copious nod to the concurrently popular Philly Soul sound. This made it a hit not only on the pop, but also the R&B singles chart. One anomaly apparent to eagle-eyed enthusiasts is that the platter was first issued under the moniker of the Elton John Band, rather than the artist’s more common singular credit. Likewise, the subject matter was somewhat of a departure for John and lyricist Bernie Taupin in that they had rarely ever composed music for a specific purpose -- in homage to tennis star Billie Jean King and her team, the Philadelphia Freedoms. It was also in response to John’s (who is an avid tennis player) surprise gift of a tailor-made tennis outfit which was presented to the musician by King during a tourney attended by both. Although the song was recorded around the time of the autobiographical Captain Fantastic And The Brown Dirt Cowboys album, it is notable for its use of a powerful horn section as well as a sprightly string arrangement -- similar to the approach taken on the LP track “Tell Me When The Whistle Blows”. Philly natives MSFB and the blue-eyed soul duo Hall And Oates have both covered “Philadelphia Freedom” with great results. A decidedly funkier reading from Ike and Tina Turner was issued on the mostly forgettable Home Grown Funk (1980) compilation.