Living in America (James Brown song)
|"Living in America"|
|Single by James Brown|
|from the album Rocky IV and Gravity|
|B-side||"Farewell" by Vince DiCola|
|James Brown charting singles chronology|
"Living in America" is a 1985 song composed by Dan Hartman and Charlie Midnight and performed by James Brown. It was released as a single in 1985 and reached number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song entered the Billboard Top 40 on January 11, 1986, and remained on the chart for 11 weeks. It also became a top five hit in the United Kingdom, peaking at number 5 on the UK Singles Chart; it was his only top 10 single in the UK. It was his first Top 40 hit in ten years on the US pop charts, and it would also be his last. In 1986, it was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best R&B Song and won Brown a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance.
The song was prominently featured in the film Rocky IV. In the film, Brown sings the song before Apollo Creed enters the boxing ring, in reference to the character's patriotic image. It appeared on the Rocky IV soundtrack album. The full version of the song (nearly six minutes long) was included on Brown's 1986 album, Gravity, and on various compilations throughout the 1990s. Live performances of the song appear on the albums Soul Session Live and Live at the Apollo 1995.
The music video consists of scenes of James Brown giving a concert interspersed with still images of the United States, as well as scenes from the movie Rocky IV.
- James Brown – lead vocals
- Stevie Ray Vaughan – lead guitar
- Dan Hartman – guitar, keyboards, backing vocals
- T. M. Stevens – bass, backing vocals
- Ray Marchica – drums
- The Uptown Horns (Arno Hecht, Bob Funk, Crispin Cioe, "Hollywood" Paul Litteral) – horns
- 12" release
- A. Living in America (R & B Dance Version) – 6:30
- B1. Living in America (Instrumental) – 4:33
- B2. Living in America (LP Version) – 4:40
- 7" release
- A. Living in America – 4:08
- B. Farewell (Vince DiCola) – 2:58
"Weird Al" Yankovic parodied the song on his 1986 album Polka Party! in a song entitled "Living with a Hernia", describing various kinds of hernias where Brown originally listed several American cities. Paul Shanklin also parodied "Living in America" on his 1999 album Bill Clinton: The Comeback Kid Tour in a song entitled "Sneaking in America", as a reference to illegal immigration to America. The song was also parodied in TV advertisements for the TV series Daisy Does America, substituting the show's title for the song's.
- During his tenure in TNA, professional wrestler Consequences Creed, now known in WWE as Xavier Woods, often used the song during his entrance in house shows.
- The song was used on Soccer AM when the fans of the weeks attempt to score into the "O" of the Hollywood Sign during season 07/08 (2002–03).
- The song was used as the opening sequence to the 1st hour of The Radio Factor (2002–09) with Bill O'Reilly.
- The song is heard in a 2009 episode "Everybody Hates Boxing", an episode parody of Rocky in Everybody Hates Chris.
- The song was used in the 2011 How I Met Your Mother episode "The Slutty Pumpkin Returns" as Barney Stinson makes his entrance to a Halloween party.
- The song was covered by Patti Labelle, Gladys Knight, and Dionne Warwick for their special Sisters in the Name of Love.
- The song plays in the background of the season 15 Family Guy episode "Saturated Fat Guy", while Peter thinks about actress Brigitte Nielsen being intoxicated in a Los Angeles park in 2012.
Altered versions and performances
- On an episode of the hit American sitcom Amen (1986–1991), Deacon Ernest Frye (Sherman Hemsley) and other cast members performed their own version of "Living in America".
- In 2001, WWE's Lilian Garcia sang "Living in America" at the 75th Annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (2001) while on the WWE's (at the time WWF) parade float.
- In 2000, it was also featured in an episode of The Simpsons that aired on February 6, 2000 titled "Saddlesore Galactica", in which the elementary school band play the song at a state fair.
- An altered version of this song was the theme song for the T.V. series Daisy Does America (2005).
- The song was covered by the G. E. Smith band as the finale of the 2012 Republican National Convention, directly following nominee Mitt Romney's speech.
- Paul Di'Anno covered this song on the 1997 album, The World's First Iron Man.
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