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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 (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)

10. Mary Jane (Live)

11. Super Freak (Live)

12. You And I (Live)

13. Give It To Me Baby (Live)

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: 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!

x

Track List: The Flag

1. Freak Flag

2. Forever And A Day

3. Sweet And Sexy Thing

4. Free To Be Me

5. Save It For Me

6. Freak Flag (Cue)

7. R U Experienced

8. Funk In America/Silly Little Man

9. Slow And Easy Interlude

10. Slow And Easy

11. Rick's Raga

12. Painted Pictures

13. Freak Flag (Reprise)

14. Sweet And Sexy Thing (12" Extended Mix)

15. Forever And A Day (12" Extended Mix)

x

Track List: Throwin' Down

1. Dance Wit' Me

2. Money Talks

3. Teardrops

4. Throwdown

5. Standing On The Top (Feat. The Temptations)

6. Hard To Get (Single Version)

7. Happy (Feat. Teena Marie)

8. She Blew My Mind (69 Times) [Single Version]

9. My Love

10. Standing On The Top (Feat. The Temptations) [12" Version]

11. Hard To Get (12" Instrumental)

12. She Blew My Mind (69 Times) [12" Extended Mix]

13. She Blew My Mind (69 Times) [12" Instrumental]

Comments

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Super coolest brother ever.. luved u Rick❤️
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His music still lives.IN HEARTS ,MINDS,SOULS , o f those remembering. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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My first concert - Rick James - Cameo-Change (with Luther Vandross)... . . R i c k was a baad dude.....he even blazed on stage during his concert....l o l . . . b u t he gave one hell of a show!!
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One of my old time favorite slow jams r.i.p rick james memories
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This song reminds me of the good old days alot to
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The beautiful decades of music when a fancy free teenager and fun with my parents and family members watching eyes okay smile...**
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nettaree83
Rckijmas
Rckijmas
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GIVE IT TO ME BABY ... ;)
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Tina and rick is good as they come may they RIP
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I love you i need you
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Mmmmm nice.....
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dragonlady60 8 8
RJ WAS A TRIP AND FUNKY
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A Very Kinky.....Gi r l ! ! ! ! ! X X X X X O O O O O O O
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Pure genius. The man was a true talent. Who else could make a song about weed and make it a hit? However, he succumbed to drugs. It cost him his career, and eventually his life. Like he said, "Cocaine is a hell of a drug. "
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Lo0gpll0lp0
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Baby Baby you bring the freak out of me!!!
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If you played the Bass guitar you wanted to learn Rick James stuff. The bass line of "BUSTIN OUT"! Rick put it down. Thanks.
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Why do the great ones leave us so early?? The music lives on forever.
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Seems like most of these oldschool black artists died from heart attacks. They need to stay away from the greasy fried chicken and malt liquor.
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Say ....."the sister is COLDBLOODED? . . . . . . . . w h a t ' s . the antedote. For sub-zero theo???????? ?
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The master funk man!!!!
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And just in case u ain't know I'm Rick James B**CH!!!!!
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The man who got it done best there is was and ever will be
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Rick James always & will be the Jams
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You have to see the movie Little Miss Sunshine
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ingrid8596
8
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super freak
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Motown legends...
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Pass the j !
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gary37y75
You grown ? Then take yo ace to bed and I mean that dog gone thang old school Dayton man that was song great times
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Beautiful song from a beautiful time -ebony eyes
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lol im rick james bi.....
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F**k your couch
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Ebony Eyes .....
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djynr8
Super freak is better
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joem6188
Dave Chappelle,,
I'M RICK JAMES BI+
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Love the oldies
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Opps comment below AJ Valles.. It's Mary Arias ❤️❤️❤️ his music.
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❤️❤️❤️❤️ Rick James!!!!!
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My dad loves him and I've young but got parents that listen to these oldies
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I'm Rick James Bi*ch
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R I P rick james awesome song always loved it
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Love it juice
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Yes love me some * RICK JAMES* my #1 I absolutely love all of his album's one bad a** for real tho ♥♡♥♡ ~.*
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Blow Teena Marie you did your thang girl

Rip to both of you❤️
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Real throw back, summer 1981 freshmen year in highschool!!

Excellent Choice Pandora❤️
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Love Rick James ,,R.I.P
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GIVE IT TOO ME........BA B Y . XXXXXXXXOOOX X O O O O
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Wow good music the legend will be missed rip
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The funk master! Rest in peace!
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