Rhythm Nation (5:31)

Cover of Design of a Decade: 1986-1996

From Design of a Decade: 1986-1996 and 10 other releases

“Rhythm Nation” is the second single from American R&B and Pop singer Janet Jackson’s fourth studio album, Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 (1989). The song was released on October 23, 1989 in UK and on October 24, 1989 in the U.S. It peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, number 1 on both the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs and Hot Dance Club Songs chart, number 6 on the Canadian Singles Chart, number 23 on the UK Singles Chart, number 56 on the Australian Singles Chart, and #14 on the Italian Singles Chart.

The song became the second of the historic seven top five singles released off the Janet Jackson’s Rhythm Nation 1814 album. Jackson composed the lyrics while Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis composed the music, which featured a sample from Sly & the Family Stone’s 1969 song “Thank You (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)”. The song preached racial unity and harmony among nations and in promise of “looking for a better way of life” and a way to stop “social injustice”. The song became as famous for its countdown in both the song and the video as it was for its message. It peaked at number two on the Billboard Hot 100 (behind Phil Collins’ “Another Day in Paradise”) and number one on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs during late 1989 and early 1990.

The song inspired the name of English DJ Trevor Nelson’s BBC Radio 1 show “Rhythm Nation”. Nelson told Jackson this during their 1998 interview which aired on the same show. The show also spawned several compilation albums under the same name. The countdown in the song was heard in various NBA Live games produced by EA Sports, played before each 3-point shootout.

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