James Brown

Living in America

Composed by Charlie Midnight / Dan Hartman

Song Review by

Sure this song is no "Spank," but "Living in America" catapulted James Brown into the Top Ten where he belonged. The song is produced by Dan Hartman and written by Hartman and Charlie Midnight; they had the honor of writing for the Godfather and responded with a punchy, potent track. Hard-driven, flashy, and filled with punchy horns, this ended up being one of Brown's better vocal performances. Unlike a lot of his work, this had actual lyrics. Throughout the song, Brown finds a charm in all things "American" as he sings, "All-night diners/Keep you awake/With hot coffee and a hard roll." This track brought Brown all the way back and it was the first time he had cracked the Top Ten since 1968's classic "Say It Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud." The song also has the distinction of being part of Sly Stallone's lucrative Rocky franchise. Brown is featured singing this track in the film, providing Apollo Creed music to showboat by until he met his maker by way of Ivan Drago. Thankfully, Brown was out of the ring before the punches were thrown. In an era when play lists had experienced a level of segregation not seen since the days of Big Joe Turner, this song had no boundaries and was an instant classic.

Appears On

Year Artist/Album Label Time AllMusic Rating
Gravity 1986 Sbme Special Mkts.
Wilder Westen Inclusive 1986
Original Soundtrack
Metronome 5:59
Soul Session Live 1989 Sony BMG 4:06
The Rocky Story 1990
Various Artists
Polydor
Live in Berlin 1991 Universal International
The Greatest Hits of the Fourth Decade 1992 Sbme Special Mkts. 5:58
No Image 1992
Various Artists
Stardust Records 4:46
Now: 1986 [1993] 1993
Various Artists
Virgin/EMI 4:42
12 x 12, Vol. 2 1993
Various Artists
Alex 5:57
Rites of Rhythm & Blues: 1993... 1993
Various Artists
Capitol/EMI Records / Capitol
Live at the Apollo 1995 1995 Sbme Special Mkts. 3:46
No Image 1995
Various Artists
Olympic Songs 1996
Various Artists
Polygram 4:44
Working for a Living 1997
Various Artists
Zomba 4:44
Backtrax USA with Kid Kelly 1998
Various Artists
Straight Ahead Recordings / Sar 4:08
Now: 1986 [1999] 1999
Various Artists
Virgin/EMI 4:42
JB (Best of the Best) 2000 Pony Canyon Records 4:10
Rockin' Patriots 2001
Various Artists
Rhino 4:44
Out of Sight: Greatest Hits 2002 Polydor
The Godfather: The Very Best Of... 2002 Universal Distribution / Universal / Universal Music TV / Universal TV Campaign Division 4:44
James Brown Best 2003 Universal Distribution
Live Top Ten With Special Guests 2003 BMG Special Products 3:52
School Reunion: The 80's 2003
Various Artists
Virgin 4:41
No Image 2003
Various Artists
Columbia
Back to the Movies: Hits from the Flix 2004
Various Artists
Virgin 4:42
Gold: Greatest Hits 2004 Universal International 4:44
Platinum & Gold Collection: The Best Of James Brown 2004 BMG / Sony Music / Sony Music Entertainment
Night of Super Soul 2005 Immortal
Get Up, I Feel Like Being A (Sex Machine) 2005 Universal Distribution
Soul Sessions Live/Living in America 2005 Sony BMG
Sex Machine: The Very Best of James Brown 2006 Polydor
Very Best of Back to the Movies 2006
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
Rocky Balboa: The Best of Rocky 2006
Various Artists
Capitol 4:44
Living in America: The Best of James Brown 2007 Sony BMG / Zomba 5:59
Living in America [Delta] 2007 Delta / Delta Distribution
Collections 2007 BMG International 6:00
Gold 2007 Universal 4:09
Now: That's What I Call Music! 1986 [1 CD] 2007
Various Artists
EMI Music Distribution
The Best Year of My Life: 1986 2009
Various Artists
Sony Music
Triple Feature 2009 Custom Marketing Group / Sony BMG 3:52
No Image 2009
Various Artists
Sony Music 4:42
Big Tunes: Back 2 the 80s 2010
Various Artists
Sony Music 4:09
101 Soul Anthems 2011
Various Artists
EMI / EMI Music Distribution / Source Interlink / Virgin 4:42
Pure... 80s Dance Party 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music 4:44
Pure... America 2011
Various Artists
Sony Music 4:43
Pure... '80s Soul Grooves 2013
Various Artists
Sony Music 4:41
The 80s, Pt. 2 2014
Various Artists
Sony Music 4:07
Ultimate Fitness [Sony] 2015
Various Artists
Sony Music
Eighties Blockbusters [Ministry of Sound] 2016
Various Artists
Ministry of Sound 4:40
No Image 2017
Various Artists
Legacy
Complete Funk, Vol. 1
Various Artists
DMC
No Image
Various Artists
CBS Records 4:21
Star Series: Soul Planet Landy Star
No Image
Various Artists
Sony Music
No Image
Various Artists
Record Collection Music 4:40
Ultimate... 80s
Various Artists
Sony Music 4:42
Ultimate... America
Various Artists
Legacy
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