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Rick James

 


On the morning of August 6, 2004, James was found dead by his caretaker in his Los Angeles home. He had died from pulmonary failure and cardiac failure with his various health conditions of diabetes, stroke, a pacemaker, and a heart attack. Through his autopsy, alprazolam, diazepam, bupropion, citalopram, hydrocodone, digoxin, chlorpheniramine, methamphetamine, and cocaine were found in his blood.[9] However, the coroner stated that "none of the drugs or drug combinations were found to be at levels that were life-threatening in and of themselves".

James was buried at Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, New York. His two-ton, jet black headstone is engraved with the following lyrics to an unreleased song: "I've had it all, I've done it all, I've seen it all. It's all about love – God is love."

Rick James (born James Ambrose Johnson, Jr.; February 1, 1948 – August 6, 2004) was an American musician and composer.

Influenced by singers such as Marvin Gaye and Smokey Robinson, James started singing in doo-wop and R&B groups as a teenager in his hometown of Buffalo, New York. After entering the U.S. Navy to avoid getting drafted, he deserted to Toronto, where he formed the fusion band The Mynah Birds, whose lineup once included Bruce Palmer, Neil Young, and Nick St. Nicholas. James' tenure with the group was interrupted after he was discovered recording with the group in Motown in 1966. Surrendering to military authorities, he served a one-year prison term. Upon release, James moved to California to resume his duties with the Mynah Birds though the group eventually split. James began a series of rock bands in California and worked with Motown under the assumed name "Ricky Matthews" as a songwriter.

In 1977, he signed with the Gordy Records imprint of Motown as a recording artist, releasing his debut, Come Get It!, in April 1978. The album sold over two million copies and launched his career into the mainstream as a funk and soul artist. His most popular album, 1981's Street Songs, launched him into superstardom thanks to the hit singles, "Give It to Me Baby" and "Super Freak", the latter song becoming his signature song for the rest of his life, and the basis of MC Hammer's biggest hit, "U Can't Touch This", which James eventually sued for back royalties. After being credited as writer of the song, James became the 1990 recipient of a Best R&B Song Grammy for composing the song. Due to this success, James was often called the "king of punk funk", for his mix of funk, soul and underground-inspired rock music. In addition to his own success, James emerged as a successful songwriter and producer for other artists, such as Teena Marie, The Mary Jane Girls, The Temptations, Eddie Murphy and Smokey Robinson.

An addiction to crack hampered his career by the late 1980s. In the 1990s, his legal troubles, which included assaulting two women while under the influence of crack, led him to serve a three-year sentence at California's Folsom State Prison. James was released on parole in 1996 and resumed his musical career releasing the album, Urban Rapsody, in 1997. A mild stroke suffered during a concert in early 1998 interrupted his career for a brief time. James received new notoriety in 2004 when he appeared on an episode of Dave Chappelle's Chappelle Show in the Charlie Murphy "True Hollywood Stories" segment of the show, in which James' past wild lifestyle was satirized. James died later that year from heart failure at the age of 56.

He was given the unofficial title "The King of Punk-Funk".
His hit single "Mary Jane" reached #3 on the U.S. R&B Chart.
He suffered a stroke after completing a two-hour show in Denver's Mammoth Events Center.
He had two stage names: Ricky Matthews and Terry Johnson.
He joined the navy when he was fifteen.
His hit single "Cold Blooded" reached #1 on the U.S. R&B Chart.
He was the lead vocalist for the R&B/Soul group The Mynah Birds.
His trademark was his cornrow braids.
He has three children: Tazman, Ty and Rick James, Jr.
He left Motown Records in 1986 after creative differences.
Teena Marie was his protege.
His song "Ghetto Life" appears in popular video game "Grand Theft Auto: Vice City" on the in-game radio station "Fever 105".
He produced Eddie Murphy's one-hit wonder "Party All the Time".
He was the nephew of Melvin Franklin, a member of the legendary R&B group The Temptations.
He was a diabetic.

 

 

80's Hits

Superfreak

Rock

Give It To Me Baby
Super Freak

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