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Song Name: Freedom of Choice

Artist: DEVO

Appears On:

Live in Central ParkLive at the Observatory, Santa Ana, CA (live versions)

Run Time: 3:28 (album version)

Year Released: 1980

Years Performed: [1] [2] 1980, 2002-2014

Writing Credits: Gerald V. Casale/Mark Mothersbaugh

Sung By: Mark Mothersbaugh (lead), Bob Mothersbaugh and Jerry Casale (backing chorus)

Alternate / Demo Version:

Freedom of Choice (early "live" version) - Freedom of Choice (Disco Version)

Song Connections: Freedom Of Choice Theme

Trivia / Info:Edit

  • Multi-instrumentalist Alan Myers came up with this song's guitar/keyboard riff on a guitar, according to Bob1. Bob 1 learned it to jam along with Alan and later decided the riff would fit in "Freedom of Choice" when the album version of that song was being written. (The album version replaced the alternate music from the early demo version.)[3]
  • When this was re-introduced to the setlist in 2002, it usually opened with an extended "drumbeat" intro  that included part of The Star Spangled Banner until this song's guitar riff starts.
  • On Halloween, 2006, the band donned orange and black "hip-hop" uniforms for this song and Mark Mothersbaugh rapped the lyrics with his hands over his mouth for enhanced deepness, muffling, and plosives. [4]
  • The album recording multi-tracks were available for download for a limited time for a remix contest.

Onstage Behavior:

  • In 1980, it was usually during this song that the white protective oversuits came off to reveal the black athletic under-uniforms.
  • Performances from 1980 have Bob 2 on synthesizer, while from 2002 onward, he plays the synth part on guitar, while Mark plays the synthesizer solo.
  • Since it's return in 2002, this song almost always concluded with Jerry barking "Use it or lose it, Spuds, it's going away fast."

Lyrics:

A victim of collision on the open sea
Nobody ever said that life was free
Sank, swam, go down with the ship
But use your freedom of choice
I'll say it again in the land of the free
Use your freedom of choice
Your freedom of choice
In ancient Rome there was a poem
About a dog who found two bones
He picked at one, he licked the other
He went in circles, till he dropped dead
Freedom of choice
Is what you got
Freedom of choice
Then if you got it you don't want it
Seems to be the rule of thumb
Don't be tricked by what you see
You got two ways to go
I'll say it again in the land of the free
Use your freedom of choice
Freedom of choice
Freedom of choice
Is what you got
Freedom of choice
In ancient Rome there was a poem
About a dog who found two bones
He picked at one, he licked the other
He went in circles, he dropped dead
Freedom of choice
Is what you got
Freedom from choice
Is what you want
Freedom of choice
Is what you got
Freedom from choice
Is what you want
Freedom of choice
Is what you got
Freedom from choice
Is what you want

Video:Edit

Appears on We're All Devo, The Complete Truth About De-Evolution
  • Over a half-dozen of the top skateboarders of that time appear in this video.
  • This is the only DEVO video in which a past DEVO uniform style is worn in a video for a later album. Before being transformed by a crowd of conformist zombies, Alan sits on a bench wearing a yellow suit from "Satisfaction" and dark glasses from the "DEVO Corporate Anthem" video.

Live Video:

DEVO Live 1980, Live In The Land Of The Rising Sun
Live at the Observatory, Santa Ana, CA

References:

  1. DEVO Live Guide. Website keyword search for "freedom of choice".
  2. YouTube (Fernando Rockero) "Devo Chile 2014 – Freedom of Choice " Vídeo del show de DEVO en Chile 2014 – Freedom of Choice en el Teatro Cariola,Santiago de Chile.04/12/14.
  3. Premier Guitar. (2010-9-21). "Devo: Bastardizing the Blues" by Kent Carmical. Q:"On 'Freedom of Choice,' you double the synth line. Was it written on guitar or keyboard?" A: "I remember Alan [Myers, former Devo drummer] had a phrase he played on guitar [sings guitar part], and he wanted to jam with me on it, so I learned it. At some point while we were working on Freedom of Choice, I said, 'Hey, I think Alan’s bit would fit in there.' I love that album, because it represents a period where I really was into getting every kind of tortured noise from the guitar I could. But I think the songs from that album sound better live now, because my sound has more growl to it".
  4. Internet Archive, Wayback Machine. Photo by Lee Wilkinson. 2006-10-31.

External Links:

"Snowball [remix] / Freedom of Choice" - Discogs
"Freedom of Choice / Snowball (remix)" - 45cat
"Freedom of Choice" (song releases) - MusicBrainz
"Freedom of Choice" (overview) - AllMusic


DEVO
Mark Mothersbaugh | Gerry Casale | Bob Mothersbaugh
Bob Lewis | Bob Casale | Jim Mothersbaugh | Alan Myers
David Kendrick | Josh Freese & Jeff Friedl | Josh Hager
Record Labels / Publishers
Booji Boy Records | Warner Brothers | Enigma | Devo, Inc. 
Stiff | Virgin | Rykodisk | Infinite Zero | Restless | Discovery | Rhino 
MVD Audio | The Orchard | Superior Viaduct | Futurismo
Production
Brian Eno | Ken Scott | Robert Margouleff | Roy Thomas Baker | DEVO 
The Teddybears | Greg Kurstin | Santi White | John King | John Hill | Mark Nishita 
Official Studio Albums
Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo! (1978) | Duty Now For The Future (1979) | Freedom of Choice (1980) | New Traditionalists (1981) | oh, no! it's DEVO (1982) | Shout (1984) | Total DEVO (1988) | SmoothNoodleMaps (1990) | Something for Everybody   (2010)
Other Albums
Be Stiff EP (1977) | E-Z Listening Disc (1987) | Now It Can Be Told: DEVO at the Palace (1989) | Hardcore DEVO Vol. 1 74-77 (1990) | Hardcore DEVO Vol. 2 1974-1977 (1991) | DEVO Live: The Mongoloid Years (1992) | DEV-O Live (1999) | Recombo DNA (2000) | Live In Central Park (2004) | DEVO Live 1980 (2005) | New Traditionalists: Live 1981 Seattle (2012) | Something ELSE for Everybody  (2013) | Miracle Witness Hour  (2014) | Live at Max's Kansas City - November 15, 1977  (2014) | Butch Devo and the Sundance Gig  (2014) | Hardcore DEVO Live!  (2015)
Filmography
The Men Who Make The Music (1981) | Human Highway (1982) | We're All DEVO (1984) | The Complete Truth About De-Evolution (1993) | DEVO Live (2004) | DEVO Live In The Land Of The Rising Sun (2004) | DEVO Live 1980 (2005) | Hardcore DEVO Live!  (2015)
Related Articles
History | Bootlegs | Booji Boy | Devolution | Influence | The Wipeouters | Jihad Jerry & The Evildoers | Devo 2.0 | Akron, Ohio | Music Videos | Versions | Outfits

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