"Living in America" by James Brown

By Mark Nobes

Featuring on the movie soundtrack to the 80s movie Rocky IV (which also included the legendary Eye of the Tiger by Survivor), "Living In America" made No.5 in the UK singles charts and #4 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 for the Godfather of soul. Composed by Dan Hartman and Charlie Midnight, the song was also included on James Brown's 53rd studio album Gravity.

The funky single features the legendary Stevie Ray Vaughan on lead guitar, who was a big influence in the 1980s blues revival scene. Dan Hartman also plays guitar, keyboards and provides backing vocals. The funky bassline is provided by Thomas Michael (T.M.) Stevens.

The B-side featured the track "Farewell" by Vince DiCola, who also composed the Rocky IV musical score.

The song is played in Rocky IV when Apollo Creed enters the boxing ring, and the song is the ideal accompaniment to Creed's, who has a patriotic nature.

Much more than just a singer, James Brown made a huge contribution to the music industry as a musician, songwriter, dancer, bandleader and record producer. Brown could also play harmonica, bass, keyboards, drums and various percussion instruments.

Brown was 52 when "living in America" was recorded, and was, therefore, viewed as the Godfather of soul at the time of its release.

Brown had numerous hit singles and albums during the late 50's, 60's and 70's, but "Living In America" was to be the soul legend's final major chart hit in the U.S. In the UK, he carried on having minor hits until 1998, although "The Payback Mix Pt.1" reached #12 in 1988. Brown's last UK Top 40 single was "Funk On A Roll" in 1998, which peaked at #40.

James Brown passed away on Christmas Day in 2006, aged 73.

Living in America 7 inch vinyl sleeve front (A 6701)


7 Inch Vinyl Single (UK and Europe) - Scotti Bros. Records - A 6701 

A. "Living in America" - 4:08

B. "Farewell" - 2:58

12 Inch Vinyl Single (UK and Europe) - TA 6701

A. "Living in America" (R 'n' B Extended Mix) - 6:30

B1. "Living in America" (Instrumental) - 4:33

B2. "Farewell" - 2:58

You can listen to the original 12" R 'n' B Extended Version in our video above.


The lyrics are very patriotic and describe the positive side of living in America, as in the opening verse "Super highways, coast to coast. Easy to get anywhere".
Living in America 12 inch vinyl (Rocky IV sleeve) ft. James Brown