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Rick James Bio - Rick James Pictures
Rick James Bio
In the late
'70s, when the fortunes of Motown Records seemed to be flagging, Rick James came along and rescued the company, providing funky hits that updated the label's style and saw it through into
the mid-'80s. Actually, Rick
James had been with Motown earlier, though nothing had come of it. After growing up in Buffalo and running away to join the Naval Reserves, he ran away from the Navy to Toronto, where he was in a band with future Buffalo Springfield members Neil Young and Bruce Palmer, and with Goldy McJohn, later of
Steppenwolf. As the Mynah Birds, they signed to Motown and recorded, though no record was ever released.
Rick James had a journeyman's career playing
bass in various groups before signing again to Motown as an artist, songwriter, and producer. His first single, "You and I" (May 1978), topped the
R&B charts and reached the pop Top 40. "Mary Jane" (September 1978) was another hit. Both were on
Rick James' debut album, Come Get It! (June 1978), which went gold. Subsequent efforts were not as successful, though Bustin' Out of L Seven (January 1979) featured the
R&B hit "Bustin' Out" (April 1979). James returned to form with the number one
R&B hit "Give It to Me Baby" (March 1981), featured on the million-selling Street Songs (April 1981), which also featured the hit "Super Freak."
Rick James Bio
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|Rick James turned his production attention to resuscitating the career of the Temptations, recently returned to Motown, and "Standing on the Top" (April 1982), credited to the Temptations featuring
Rick James, was an R&B Top Ten. (He also produced recordings by Teena Marie and the Mary Jane Girls.) James' follow-up to Street Songs was the gold-selling
Throwin' Down (May 1982), which featured the hit "Dance Wit' Me." The title song of Cold Blooded (August 1983) became James' third
R&B number one, and the album also featured his hit duet with
Robinson, "Ebony Eyes." James' greatest-hits album Reflections (August 1984) featured the new track "17" (June 1984), which also became a hit. Glow (April 1985) contained Top Ten
R&B singles in the title track and "Can't Stop," which was featured in the summer movie blockbuster Beverly Hills Cop. The Flag (June 1986) featured the hit "Sweet and Sexy Thing" (May 1986).
Rick James left Motown for the Reprise division of Warner Bros. Records as of the album Wonderful (July 1988), which featured his number one
"Loosey's Rap," on which he was accompanied by rapper Roxanne
Shante. Nevertheless, his "punk funk" didn't seem to rest comfortably with the trend toward
rap/hip-hop. In 1989, James charted briefly with a medley of the Drifters hits "This Magic Moment" and "Dance With Me." In 1990, MC Hammer scored a massive hit with "U Can't Touch This," which consisted of his
rap over the instrumental track of "Super Freak." That should have made for a career rebirth, but James was plagued by drug and legal problems that found him more frequently in court and in jail rather than in the recording studio. The majority of his legal woes behind him,
Rick James returned in 1997 with Urban Rapsody, which didn't yield any hits but was well accepted by critics.
Rick James died of a heart attack on August 6, 2004, at his Los Angeles home. ~ William
Ruhlmann, All Music Guide
Bio From: MTV
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