Janet Jackson - Rhythm Nation single cover

CD single cover art.

"Rhythm Nation" is the second single from Janet Jackson's 1989 album, Rhythm Nation 1814. It was released on October 24, 1989 and became an instant success, topping the charts in several countries and becoming one of Janet Jackson's signature songs.


The song became the second of the historic seven top five singles released off the 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.

Music videoEdit

Janet Jackson Rhythm Nation

Screen cap from the video.

The famous black-and-white, military-inspired dance video was directed by Dominic Sena in August 1989. It was the finale in the Rhythm Nation 1814 Film. Famous for its high-octane choreography in an abandoned factory, the video won for Best Choreography (shared by Jackson and choreographer Anthony Thomas) and was nominated for Best Dance Video at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards, where Jackson also received the MTV Video Vanguard Award. "Rhythm Nation" ranked thirty-seven on VH1's Greatest 100 Videos and forty-four on MTV: 100 Greatest Videos Ever Made. The video features a young Tyrin Turner.

During MTV's first ever mtvICON in 2001, singers Pink, Mýa, and Usher each paid tribute to Jackson by performing dance moves from Jackson's earlier hits including "Pleasure Principle", "Miss You Much", and "Alright". At the end of the performance they all gathered together and performed "Rhythm Nation".

In 2003, it was named one of the 100 Greatest Music Videos of all time by Slant Magazine, ranked at number 87.[4] In a 2011 poll by Billboard, the song's music video was voted the tenth best music video of the 1980s.

Live performancesEdit


Jackson performing "Rhythm Nation" live on the Janet. Tour in 1993.

Jackson has performed "Rhythm Nation" on all of her tours. When she performed the song on the Rhythm Nation 1814 Tour and the janet. Tour she wore a military suit. When she performed the song on The Velvet Rope Tour, she wore an army suit. When she performed it on the All For You Tour, she wore a black catsuit. When she performed it on the Rock Witchu Tour, she wore a black body suit and underneath was a white blouse with a black tie. When she performed it on the Number Ones: Up Close and Personal World Tour, she wore a black jacket with buckles and black pants.

Jackson also performed the song at the half-time show of the Super Bowl XXXVIII in 2004 and on The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2008.


Billboard Music Awards:

  • 1990 - Director's Award (Black/Rap), "Rhythm Nation"
  • 1990 - Billboard/Tanqueray Sterling Music Video Award for Artistic Achievement, "Rhythm Nation"

BMI Pop Awards

  • 1990 - "Rhythm Nation"

MTV Video Music Awards

  • 1990 - Best Choreography in a Video, "Rhythm Nation"

Soul Train Awards:

  • 1990 - Best R&B/Urban Contemporary Music Video, "Rhythm Nation"

Official versions/remixesEdit

  • Album Version – 5:31
  • LP Version – 4:42
  • Design of a Decade US Edit – 5:58
  • 7" Edit – 4:27
  • Instrumental – 4:44
  • 7" CHR Remix – 4:06
  • Rhythm Mix – 4:48
  • 7" United Mix Edit – 4:34
  • 12" United Mix – 6:35
  • 12" United Dub – 6:11
  • 7" House Nation Edit – 4:23
  • 12" House Nation Mix – 8:07
  • House Nation Groove – 6:45

Track listingsEdit

International 7" single/3" CD single/Cassette single
  1. "Rhythm Nation" (edit)
  2. "Rhythm Nation" (instrumental)
International 12" single
  1. "Rhythm Nation" (United Mix)
  2. "Rhythm Nation" (United Dub)
  3. "Rhythm Nation" (edit)
  4. "Rhythm Nation" (12" House Nation Mix)
  5. "Rhythm Nation" (House Nation Groove Mix)
  6. "Rhythm Nation" (instrumental)
UK CD single
  1. "Rhythm Nation" (edit)
  2. "Rhythm Nation" (House Nation Mix)
  3. "Rhythm Nation" (United Mix)
International CD single
  1. "Rhythm Nation" (edit)
  2. "Rhythm Nation" (United Mix Edit)
  3. "Rhythm Nation" (United Mix)
  4. "Rhythm Nation" (instrumental)
Japan CD maxi single
  1. "Rhythm Nation" (7" edit) – 4:30
  2. "Rhythm Nation" (12" United Mix) – 6:37
  3. "Rhythm Nation" (12" House Nation Mix) – 8:07
  4. "Rhythm Nation" (House Nation Groove) – 6:45
  5. "Rhythm Nation" (United Dub) – 6:11
  6. "Rhythm Nation" (7" CHR Remix) – 4:08
  7. "Rhythm Nation" (7" United Mix Edit) – 4:23
  8. "Rhythm Nation" (7" House Nation Edit) – 4:37
  9. "Rhythm Nation" (LP version) – 4:42
  10. "Rhythm Nation" (instrumental 7") – 4:45
  11. "Rhythm Nation" (Rhythm Mix) – 4:48
US promo maxi
  1. "Rhythm Nation" (edit)
  2. "Rhythm Nation" (LP version)
  3. "Rhythm Nation" (instrumental)
UK 12"
  1. "Rhythm Nation" (12" House Nation Mix)
  2. "Rhythm Nation" (United Mix)
  3. "Rhythm Nation" (United Dub)
UK cassette single
  1. "Rhythm Nation" (edit)
  2. "Rhythm Nation" (CHR Remix)


Peak positionsEdit

Chart (1989/1990) Peak
Australian Singles Chart 56
Belgian Singles Chart (Flanders) 24
Canadian Singles Chart 6
Dutch Top 40 11
German Singles Chart 83
Italian Singles Chart 14
Irish Singles Chart 19
New Zealand Singles Chart 17
Swiss Singles Chart 22
UK Singles Chart 23
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 2
U.S. Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs 1
U.S. Billboard Hot Dance Club Songs 1

End of year chartsEdit

End of year chart (1990) Position
U.S. Billboard Hot 100 38
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