Happy 6th of July, everyone, and welcome to Framed, the reddest, whitest, and bluest blog in all of blogdom!
This week, to help wrap up your Independence Day celebrations, we're offering the greatest showman of the 20th century, James Brown, singing one of our favorite patriotic songs, "Living In America." The late, great Brown, whose career ran from the mid-1950s into the new century, was known as both "The Godfather of Soul" and "The Hardest Working Man In Show Business," titles he certainly earned. A litany of his hits--"Papa's Got A Brand New Bag," "Please, Please, Please," "I Got You (I Feel Good)," and "It's A Man's Man's Man's World," among others--is a list of essential soul music.
"Living In America" is from the great Rocky IV, certainly the finest installment in that series, and most of the video is also from the classic film. The 1985 song was Brown's first Top 10 hit since "Say It Loud (I'm Black And I'm Proud)" back in 1968 and won him a Grammy Award for Best Male R&B Vocal Performance. The song celebrates America, and contains one of the finest America-celebrating lines ever sung:
Got to have a celebration!
1 -- With Obama's rejection of torture and pre-emptive war, there's little point to festivities like these anymore.
2 -- "Don't you think eight men wearing powder blue and standing this close together sends the wrong message?"
3 -- Back in the day, everybody was kung fu fighting! Everybody!
4 -- "Next, I'll fight the urge to keep making Rocky movies for so long that I'll devalue my legacy, such as it is."
5 -- "What is it, Rock? Contact lens??"
6 -- Your brain on drugs can be very tasty when served with sausage links.
7 -- "I tell ya, Vegas now has him at 100-1 over Balboa. What do we know about this 'Kid Pumpkinhead?!'"
8 -- "Say, Joe, howsabout we invent some 'rights' and then sue the company for violating them? That'd be wicked cool."
9 -- "Hey, who dropped this piece of paper?"
10 -- James was pleased to discover that Uncle Sam and all the fictional heroes were "bruthas."
11 -- "But on Venus we would find them rather threadbare!"
12 -- "And though my journey to the temperate worlds of Sirius promises to be harrowing, I shall return with even more incomprehensible lyrics! Ah promffmin!"