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For Immediate Release: 11/05/12

Queen Legend Brian May and Singing Sensation Kerry Ellis Re-Record Academy Award-Winning Song ‘Born Free’

Today (Nov. 5, 2012) marks the worldwide release of the Oscar-winning song “Born Free,” re-recorded by legendary Queen guitarist Brian May and West End and Broadway songstress Kerry Ellis. The classic hit single will be sold in aid of the international wildlife charity, the Born Free Foundation.

“Born Free” was first recorded by Matt Monro in 1966 as the title song to the iconic feature film of the same name, starring Virginia McKenna and the late Bill Travers, which told the story of George and Joy Adamson’s successful release of Elsa, an orphaned lioness, to the wild. Inspired by their experiences in Kenya, Virginia and Bill went on to establish the Born Free Foundation, which gave rise to Born Free USA.

The music and lyrics to “Born Free,” combined the extraordinary talents composer John Barry (“Out of Africa,” “Dances with Wolves”) and lyricist Don Black (“Diamonds are Forever,” “The Man with the Golden Gun”), collaborators on some of the most enduring film scores of our time.

With Brian May’s driving guitar riffs and Kerry’s power-packed vocals, this is a new and exciting evolution of “Born Free” the song.

May said: "We paid a lot of respect to this iconic song and were fortunate to have Don Black himself write some special new lyrics as we put our own mark on this awesome and moving track. We hope that people will really like what we have done and that it will contribute to the long-lasting legacy of this great piece of music."

“Born Free” is widely recognized and loved all over the world and has been covered by some of the greats, including Frank Sinatra and Andy Williams.

The single was recorded by May and Ellis following a recent visit to South Africa to see the work of the Born Free Foundation first-hand. There they were involved in the relocation of two rescued lions at the Born Free Centers at the Shamwari Wildlife Reserve and went on to perform at the launch of Pride of Cape Town, a massive public arts exhibition of fiberglass lions, scheduled for this coming spring.

Kerry Ellis said: "Seeing Born Free’s invaluable welfare and conservation work to help Africa's lions really moved us to re-record a song which means so much, to so many people. We hope we have done it proud and that the funds raised by the downloads will help the charity continue to protect fragile populations of lions in the wild."

Throughout the years “Born Free” has remained an enduring anthem that magically tugs at the heart strings; a powerful legacy of a film that told the story of a lioness named Elsa and her journey to freedom, made possible by two great conservationists, George and Joy Adamson.

The release of the single ties in with May and Ellis performing a series of intimate United Kingdom concert tour dates, also in support of the Born Free Foundation. The single is accompanied by a powerful promotional video focusing on the plight of lions, filmed in South Africa by the award-winning director Mike Slee (“Flight of the Butterflies,” 2012) and featuring Virginia McKenna.

McKenna, delighted by this new version, said, "Born Free is re-born! Brian, Kerry and Don have brought a new energy and a new meaning to a song, known and loved all over the world. Mike has made a magical film. If Born Free can touch the hearts of a new generation, then maybe there is still time to save Africa's wild lions. How fortunate we are at Born Free to receive this priceless support from people such as Brian and Kerry who share our deep concern and love for wild animals and their place in the world."

The public is urged to sign Born Free's online petition, where they can pledge their support for lion protection and conservation. Find it here.

Available in three formats, including a large-scale production and acoustic version, the “Born Free” single is a digital-only release and is available beginning today to download, the day that Brian May and Kerry Ellis launch their 11-date “Born Free Tour.”

iTunes downloads:

  Acoustic version

  Full version

  Video eMix Bundle

The Born Free Foundation is a dynamic international wildlife charity, devoted to compassionate conservation and animal welfare. Born Free takes action worldwide to protect threatened species and stop individual animal suffering. Born Free believes wildlife belongs in the wild and works to phase out zoos. It rescues animals from lives of misery in tiny cages and give them lifetime care. Born Free protects lions, elephants, tigers, gorillas, wolves, polar bears, dolphins, marine turtles and many more species in their natural habitat, working with local communities to help people and wildlife live together without conflict. Its high-profile campaigns change public attitudes, persuade decision-makers and get results. Every year, Born Free helps hundreds of thousands of animals worldwide. For more information about Born Free please visit www.bornfree.org.uk.

Born Free USA is a nationally recognized leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation. Through litigation, legislation and public education, Born Free USA leads vital campaigns against animals in entertainment, exotic “pets,” trapping and fur, and the destructive international wildlife trade. Born Free USA brings to the United States the message of “compassionate conservation” — the vision of the United Kingdom-based Born Free Foundation, established in 1984 by Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna, stars of the iconic film “Born Free,” along with their son Will Travers, now chief executive officer of both organizations. Born Free’s mission is to end suffering of wild animals in captivity, conserve threatened and endangered species, and encourage compassionate conservation globally.

More at www.bornfreeusa.org; on Twitter at http://twitter.com/bornfreeusa; and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/BornFreeUSA.

Media Contact: Rodi Rosensweig, publicrelations@bornfreeusa.org, (203) 270-8929.

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