From Rockin Robin:
Just call him Soul Brother #1.
The Godfather Of Soul.
And the Hardest Working Man in Show Business.
Thirty one years ago Wednesday (1/11/86), James Brown roared into the top 40 with this patriotic sizzler…
James Brown was 57 years old when he debuted with the last of his 44 top 40 hits with “Living In America.” It’s from the soundtrack of “Rocky IV.” JB holds the record for most top 40 hits without a #1. He’s had the most pop chart hits among African-American solo men.
When I think of “Living In America,” I picture in my head Dolph Lundgren, portraying the Russian boxer Ivan Drago in “Rocky IV,” having a puzzled look on his face as the stage holding James Brown rises…
..and Lundgren is probably saying to himself, “Who in the hell is THAT guy?”
Hey, Dolph, he’s had 86 pop hits and had well over 100 R&B chart hits. He’s ranked the #1 act in the history of the R&B chart.
“Living In America” was the last of JB’s pop chart seven top 10’s.
The late Tom Rounds, one of the key co-founders of “American Top 40,” once muttered in the early years of AT40, “It seems like we’ve got a James Brown in the first hour of AT40 every week.”
Or something like that.
To give you an idea of James Brown’s greatness, consider this: His label at first balked at the idea of releasing a live LP. No problem, JB reasoned. He PAID for everything involved with the album. “Live At The Apollo” from 1963 went to #2 on the LP chart and sold upwards of a million copies. Rolling Stone has ranked it #25 among the Top albums of all time.
In the early years of “American Top 40,” host Casey Kasem would tell a James Brown story with this tease…”As a youngster, he’d shine shoes in front of a radio station. Today, he OWNS that station…”
James Brown also pulled off a truly unique chart feat. He’s recorded the song “Think” at least four times…because he had four versions of that song make the pop chart in 1960, 1967 and 1973 (twice). NO ONE else has ever had as many as four versions of the same song chart four different times.