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Living in America (song)

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Title: Living in America (song)  
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Subject: Songs written by Dan Hartman, China Anne McClain, Rocky (1987 video game), I'm Real (album), Black Caesar (album)
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Living in America (song)

"Living in America"
Single by James Brown
from the album Rocky IV and Gravity
B-side "Farewell" by Vince DiCola
Released December 1985 (1985-12)
Genre Dance-pop, funk[1]
Length 4:08
Label Scotti Bros.
Writer(s) Dan Hartman, Charlie Midnight
Producer(s) Terry Jackson
Certification Gold (CRIA)[2]
James Brown charting singles chronology
"Unity Part 1 (The Third Coming)"
"Living in America"

"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 five 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 in the US, 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 patriotism. 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.

A recording of the song with vocals by co-writer Dan Hartman is included on his 1994 album Keep the Fire Burnin'.

Music video

The plot of the music video consists of some scenes cut together. One scene features James Brown giving a concert, and in another, features photographs of the United States. The video also features scenes from Rocky IV.[3]

Chart performance

Preceded by
"Baby Talk" by Alisha
Belgian VRT Top 30 Flanders number-one single
February 22, 1986 – March 1, 1986 (2 weeks)
Succeeded by
"Burning Heart" by Survivor

Track listings

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.

Other appearances/versions


Altered versions and performances


  • Paul Di'Anno covered this song on the 1997 album, The World's First Iron Man.
  • A Eurodance cover version of the song titled Livin' in America appeared on Dancemania Speed 8 released in 2002.
  • Estonian pop rock band The Sun released a mostly-Estonian-language cover version with alternate original lyrics, titled "Welcome to Estonia" on their 2005 "Greatest Hits" album. The title references the "Welcome to Estonia" slogan and wordmark which were introduced in 2002 to promote the country abroad.


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  2. ^ "Gold Platinum Database".  
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  18. ^ "Archive Chart: 1986-02-15" UK Singles Chart. Retrieved June 4, 2013.
  19. ^ a b c d "Gravity – Awards".  
  20. ^ CASH BOX Top 100 Singles – Week ending FEBRUARY 22, 1986 at the Wayback Machine (archived October 2, 2012). Cash Box magazine. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
  21. ^ "Jaaroverzichten 1986" (in Nederlands).  
  22. ^ "Top Singles – Volume 45, No. 14, December 27, 1986".  
  23. ^ "Single Top 100 over 1986" (PDF) (in Nederlands).  
  24. ^ "Jaaroverzichten – Single 1986" (in Nederlands).  
  25. ^ "Top 100 Hits for 1986". The Longbored Surfer. Retrieved June 11, 2014. 
  26. ^ The CASH BOX Year-End Charts: 1986 at the Wayback Machine (archived October 2, 2012). Cash Box magazine. Retrieved June 11, 2014.
  27. ^ "Everybody Hates Boxing".  

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