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Rick James

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, 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.

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 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."

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 Smokey 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).

James left Motown for the Reprise division of Warner Bros. Records as of the album Wonderful (July 1988), which featured his number one R&B hit "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, 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
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Deeper Still

1. Deeper Still

2. Guinnevere

3. Stop It

4. Taste

5. Stroke

6. Do You Wanna Play

7. Not Alone

8. Sapphire

9. Maybe

10. Secrets

11. Funk Wit Me

x

Track List: Rick James Gold

Disc 1

1. You And I

2. Mary Jane

4. Fire It Up

5. Love Gun

8. Give It To Me Baby

9. Super Freak

10. Fire And Desire (Feat. Teena Marie)

Disc 2

3. Hard To Get

4. She Blew My Mind (69 Times)

5. U Bring The Freak Out

6. Cold Blooded

7. Ebony Eyes (Feat Smokey Robinson)

x

Track List: Bustin Out

Disc 1

1. You And I

2. Mary Jane

3. Dream Maker

4. Bustin' Out

5. Love Gun

6. Big Time

7. Give It To Me Baby

8. Super Freak

9. Ghetto Life

10. Fire And Desire

12. Hard To Get

14. Dance Wit' Me

Disc 2

1. Teardrops

2. Cold Blooded

3. U Bring The Freak Out

4. Ebony Eyes

5. 17

6. You Turn Me On

7. Glow

8. Moonchild

x

Track List: Street Songs (Remaster)

1. Give It To Me Baby

2. Ghetto Life

3. Make Love To Me

4. Mr. Policeman

5. Super Freak

6. Fire And Desire

7. Call Me Up

8. Below The Funk (Pass The J)

x

Track List: Street Songs (Deluxe Edition)

Disc 1

1. Give It To Me Baby

2. Ghetto Life

3. Make Love To Me

4. Mr. Policeman

5. Super Freak

6. Fire And Desire

7. Call Me Up

8. Below The Funk (Pass The J)

9. Give It To Me Baby

10. Give It To Me Baby (Instrumental)

11. Super Freak

12. Super Freak (Instrumental)

Disc 2

1. Introduction (Live)

2. Ghetto Life (Live)

3. Big Time (Live)

4. Come Into My Life (Live)

5. I'm A Sucker For Your Love (Live)

7. Fire It Up (Live)

8. Love Gun (Live)

9. Do You Want Some Funk? (Interlude) (Live)

11. Super Freak (Live)

13. Give It To Me Baby (Live)

x

Track List: Come Get It

2. You And I

3. Sexy Lady

4. Dream Maker

5. Be My Lady

6. Mary Jane

7. Hollywood

8. Stone City Band, Bye!

Comments

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You made being a playboy easy..
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Love and miss you Rick James!!!
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dragonlady60 8 8
RICKKKKKKKKK K K K
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Girl you're loose your tight your black and even white you've got that rainbow sex appeal ���� wish I would have seen Rick James in concert!!!
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This my n**ga here's the original of doing rich hood n**ga s**t and did it to the fullest and still play that guitar and singing his A** off
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The first concert I attended Rick James & Cameo at the age of about 15!! Damn Rick was getting down....and blazed right there on stage during his set, lol.
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An absolute musical genius. Saw him at the Apollo in Harlem. Been to his house in Buffalo in the '80's.
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coleman3.edw i n
Pure Funk. Music these days ain't sh*t compared to Rick and the other masters of funk back in the day!
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That's one bad motherf**ker
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Buitrui music
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wow i need you too!!!!!!!!r i c k ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! 1
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Love this song lol
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Love super freak
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Was a great dude!
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b.f.barnes4
On the top
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I found out not to long ago this song is about weed. Lol. Shows how sheltered life.
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illinoismike 1 9 9 1
I was just getting into my teens when Rick hit the set. Still the man!!
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Rip lil bro rick yo boy daaaaammmm�� ! ! !
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Street Songs.....Su p e r Freak was the bomb in the strip clubs back then.
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astinsonmvs
if I ever meet rick I would have been his wife he never got his props he played with boots parlment to many to count where's my spouse money d.d newyork,ga
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lora80
I,m thking about singing one of his songs like super freak for my talent show ;ps I'm a boy
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IM RICK JAMES BIIIHH!!!!
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BIG BRO WAS AH BEAST HE MADE SUM GANGSTA S**T!!!!
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Caught hm at MSG stone city band n lady T.... Fire n Desire all summer...
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Rip lil bro an rick love yall both lol
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Rick u Tha best!!!!...a n d Rick James..got the #1station!!! # # #
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ANNOUNCEMENT : I am engaged as of November 18 to a Mr. Savo Kopun of Bellevue, Nebraska.

He is such an awesome person. Thank God. He always brags about me. He makes sacrifices for me. He shares the same values as me. He does chivalrous things for me. He does not try to change me. I really like the idea of spending some of my life with him. He is a great companion. He is my best friend and a great lover. What more can a girl ask for?
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I love rick james music
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Your black ...ur white...and rainbow....y u p dat'd...b me...to a t. ..most definitely!! :)
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mrflynn_2000
Love Rick but Prince wore that a** out! Real talk
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cocaine is one hell of a drug
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Rick james was s**t i f**k wit rick.
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Dance Wit Me: I love my old school music.
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Ripoff of cant touch this
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Iim Rick James B%%%
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I'm Rick James! F your couch!
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I'm Rick James b**ch!
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regina.rucke r 1 9 6 9
I love the song...bring me back to when I was young with my husband
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arizona_mudd
True Story, I Was Walking Through The Detroit Renaissance Center. Circa 1981, I Stopped And Asked A Gentleman. My You Look Familiar. He Said I'm Rick James, He Lifted His Wig And Displayed That He Was Bald. OMG I Was Just Too White To Understand, Back Then. Whoo-Hooo ! I Still Miss him As An Iconic Superstar !
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I love this song ,,she's a super freak,,����7 6
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They were all good to listen to each song they sang remind me of each one of my brothers My mom had ten boys and two girls.I am the youngest girl.
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Is youer uncle Marvin Gaye twopreach
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Marvin my uncle had a junk joint in Alabama while I was to young to go in I used to clean it up. Nate Tate, local DJ used to have the place packed, car parked all up and down The street.
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Rick was a bad fella. He was way ahead of his time.
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Rick James b**ch!!!
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Hammer time!
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Mary Jane the best!
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Ghetto Life; Such a ghetto life, you have no idea. LOL!
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clubmad
Artist sometimes you play some song that's get on my nerves, do you need medicine or something huh. If you can't play than I think you need to shake it somewhere hehehehe don't you think so !!!!!
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One of my favorites, but this medley BLOWS!!!!!!
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