Edgar Winter – Free Ride

It doesn’t get much more seventies than this song.

This was released as the first single from the album, but it went nowhere. After Frankenstein went to #1, “Free Ride” was released again, this time going to #14 in America. The song lived on as a radio favorite.

Dan Hartman is credited as the only songwriter on this track even though Edgar Winter made some contributions. Winter didn’t get greedy, knowing that Hartman made some contributions to tracks that were credited to Edgar alone.

Free Ride is a song included in the Edgar Winter Group album They Only Come Out At Night in 1972. The initial riff is played by Dan Hartman who also sings lead on the song.

 

From Songfacts

The “free ride” can be literally interpreted as a road trip, but it’s really about a spiritual journey. The song was written and sung by Dan Hartman, who had recently joined the Edgar Winter Group, but Winter added the lyrics:

We got to do better, it’s time to begin
You know all the answers must come from within

The song offers salvation of sorts, with Hartman offering us direction when we don’t know where to turn:

So I’ve come here to give you a hand
And lead you into the promised land

The song isn’t an endorsement of a specific religion, but a call to look inside ourselves for answers. Winter was trying to make that message more clear in the lyrics he added.

Edgar Winter played Woodstock before he even released an album. That’s because his older brother, Johnny Winter, was a celebrated blues guitarist who used Edgar in his band. When Edgar struck out on his own in 1970, it was with a horn-heavy band he assembled for his first album. His next two albums were with a group he called White Trash, which had more jazz leanings. In 1972, he started clean with a new band: the Edgar Winter Group. Dan Hartman, who was in a Pennsylvania band called the Legends, was his first recruit. Hartman had already written “Free Ride” (which is one of the reasons Winter wanted him), so it was one of the first songs this new group recorded.

Hartman played guitar on the album version of the song, with Randy Jo Hobbs on bass and Johnny Badanjek on drums (when the group fully formed, it was with Ronnie Montrose on guitar, Chuck Ruff on drums, and Hartman on bass). Speaking with Songfacts, producer Rick Derringer said that on the single version, which they recorded later, he played lead guitar.

Winter was adept at keyboard, synthesizer, saxophone and drums. On “Free Ride,” he played a Hohner clavinet, which is what Stevie Wonder played on Superstition. Winter generated the wind sounds with his new toy: an ARP 2600 synthesizer, the instrument featured on the album’s big hit, “Frankenstein.”

This was produced by Rick Derringer, who produced the entire They Only Come Out at Night as well as Winter’s previous two albums. When Ronnie Montrose formed his own band in 1973, Derringer stepped in as guitarist for the Edgar Winter Group.

Free Ride

The mountain is high, the valley is low
And you’re confused on which way to go
So I’ve come here to give you a hand
And lead you into the promised land, so

Come on and take a free ride (free ride)
Come on and stand here by my side
Come on and take a free ride

All over the country, I’ve seen it the same
Nobody’s winning at this kind of game
We gotta do better, it’s time to begin
You know all the answers must come from within, so

Come on and take a free ride (free ride)
Come on and stand here by my side
Come on and take a free ride

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Ooh, ooh, ooh
Ooh, ooh, ooh
Ooh, ooh, free ride

Come on and take a free ride
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Come on and take a free ride
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Come on and take a free ride
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Come on and take a free ride
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Come on and take a free ride
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah
Come on and take a free ride
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

29 thoughts on “Edgar Winter – Free Ride”

    1. You know…many times I’ve wanted a 12/6 string guitar double neck…very handy. Never have I wanted a bass and guitar mixture.

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      1. The only thing I would see…and this is just laziness…in the studio if you didn’t want to move your ass from your seat to another to grab a bass.
        I don’t ever see in a live setting where you would stop playing bass to play guitar…ever.

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    1. No it doesn’t…I didn’t know Edgar didn’t sing or write it. This and Frankenstein are cool songs that I don’t really get tired of.

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    1. They really could! I never thought about having a bass and guitar double neck…usually you play one or the other…now 6/12 I totally get…Never seen one before.

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      1. Yes I agree with the mandolin neck…that would be useful…I’ve played a guitar/sitar before…it wasn’t the same as a sitar but it gave you the droning feel of one.

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    1. Okidoki…that will happen.
      Yea I didn’t know who Hartman was…I think of the guy from Good Morning America…David Hartman

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    1. Autumn I’m at your site again…It wont let me comment and I’ve joined and following…just wanted to let you know. It happened the other night so I thought I would give it a while. My user name is badfinger

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, I’m sorry about that. I wonder why it won’t let you comment. I didn’t know. Let me see… right now it’s a new platform, so I think you have to make a blog to be able to comment. I suggest that you try to make a free blog, you don’t have to put anything on it, but maybe having a blog will help you be a part of the ‘system’. See if that works, and if you need any help, I’ll ask the support people at the platform. Good luck! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh, here’s one more suggestion. I think I know the answer. If you are not signed in when you read the blog, you won’t be able to comment. I’ve experienced that myself. So next time, try to sign into your account on GoNevis, and then visit my blog. Once you sign in, you’re able to comment. In the future, GoNevis will allow people to make a comment by signing in with email. Until then, just try this.
        I’ve experienced the same thing: when I’m not signed in, I can’t comment. The new features will be coming soon, though.

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  1. Been a long time. I love the energy pouring out of these guys. The dual guitars (I like the Jetson-looking shape of the one) and the keyboards with special effects gives it a nice blast on the free ride.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had no idea that was Dan Hartman behind this one! Disco hitmaker in the UK charts of the late 70’s and mid-80’s, who knew!? I recorded Free Ride off the radio in 1972, and had to make do with that till I got hold of a vinyl copy in 1981….

    Frankenstein is my fave though, truly a Monster instrumental 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Frankenstein still moves me to this day. So much fun to listen to. Not only does it take me back to being a kid…it sounds good in the now.

      I didn’t know Hartman had anything to do with this either.

      Liked by 1 person

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