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James on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous in 1984
|Birth name||James Ambrose Johnson Jr.|
|Also known as||Ricky Matthews|
|Born||February 1, 1948|
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
|Died||August 6, 2004 56) (aged|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Years active||1965–1990, 1996–1998, 2004|
|Associated acts||The Mynah Birds, Stone City Band, Heaven and Earth, Snoop Dogg, Mary Jane Girls, Process and the Doo Rags, Val Young, Eddie Murphy, Teena Marie|
Rick James (born James Ambrose Johnson Jr. February 1, 1948 – August 6, 2004) was an American singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer. Born and raised in Buffalo, New York, James began his musical career in his teen years. He was in a number of various bands and groups before entering the U.S. Navy to avoid being drafted in the early 1960s. In 1965, James deserted to Toronto, Canada, where he formed the rock band the Mynah Birds, who eventually signed a recording deal with Motown Records in 1966. James's career with the group halted after military authorities discovered his whereabouts and eventually convicted James on a one-year prison term related to the draft charges. After being released, James moved to California where he started a variety of rock and funk groups in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
Buffalo is the second largest city in the U.S. state of New York and the largest city in Western New York. As of 2018, the population was 256,304. The city is the county seat of Erie County and a major gateway for commerce and travel across the Canada–United States border, forming part of the bi-national Buffalo Niagara Region.
The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U.S. allies or partner nations. with the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the Navy is the third largest of the service branches. It has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the second-largest air force in the world, after the United States Air Force.
Conscription, sometimes called the draft, is the compulsory enlistment of people in a national service, most often a military service. Conscription dates back to antiquity and continues in some countries to the present day under various names. The modern system of near-universal national conscription for young men dates to the French Revolution in the 1790s, where it became the basis of a very large and powerful military. Most European nations later copied the system in peacetime, so that men at a certain age would serve 1–8 years on active duty and then transfer to the reserve force.
After forming the Stone City Band in his hometown of Buffalo in 1977, James finally found success as a recording artist after signing with Motown's Gordy Records, releasing the album, Come Get It! , in April 1978. It's from this album where the hits "You & I" and "Mary Jane", were released, helping the album go platinum and selling over two million records. This was followed with three more successful album releases. James released his most successful album, Street Songs , in 1981, which included career-defining hits such as "Give It to Me Baby" and "Super Freak", the latter song becoming his biggest crossover single, mixing elements of funk, disco, rock and new wave. James was also known for his soulful ballads such as "Fire & Desire" and "Ebony Eyes". In addition, James also had a successful career as a songwriter and producer for other artists including Teena Marie, the Mary Jane Girls, the Temptations, Eddie Murphy and Smokey Robinson.
Come Get It! is Rick James and the Stone City Band's debut album on Motown sub-label Gordy Records. It was released in April 1978. The singles, "You and I" and "Mary Jane" pushed Come Get It! to gold status.
"You and I" was the name of a hit song for R&B/funk musician Rick James. It was released from his debut album, Come Get It!. It spent two weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B charts and reached number thirteen on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1978. "You and I" also peaked at number three on the disco chart.
"Mary Jane" is a song by American funk singer Rick James. It was released in 1978 as the second single from his debut album Come Get It!. The song peaked in the top five on the R&B charts in the United States in 1978. As one of his earliest hits as a solo artist, it is one of his most notable songs. It was composed by James, along with keyboardist Billy Nunn, who was credited for the keyboards, strings, background vocals, helping to compose the song, arranging flute parts, and other instrumentation work.
James's mainstream success had peaked by the release of his album Glow in 1985 and his appearance on the popular TV show, The A-Team . James's subsequent releases failed to sell as well as their predecessors. Rapper MC Hammer sampled James's "Super Freak" for his 1990 hit, "U Can't Touch This", and James became the 1991 recipient of a Best R&B Song Grammy for composing the song. James's career was hampered by his drug addiction by the early 1990s. In 1993, James was convicted for two separate instances of kidnapping and torturing two different women while under the influence of crack cocaine, resulting in a three-year sentence at Folsom State Prison. James was released on parole in 1996 and released the album, Urban Rapsody , in 1997. James's health problems halted his career again after a mild stroke during a concert in 1998 and he announced a semi-retirement.
Glow is a 1985 Rick James album, released on the Gordy Records imprint of Motown Records. Despite its success, to date, it is the only Rick James album not available on compact disc.
The A-Team is an American action-adventure television series that ran on NBC from 1983 to 1987 about former members of a fictitious United States Army Special Forces unit. The members, after being court-martialed "for a crime they didn't commit", escaped from military prison and, while still on the run, worked as soldiers of fortune. The series was created by Stephen J. Cannell and Frank Lupo. A feature film based on the series was released by 20th Century Fox in 2010.
Stanley Kirk Burrell, better known by his stage name MC Hammer, is an American hip hop recording artist, dancer, record producer and entrepreneur. He had his greatest commercial success and popularity from the late 1980s, until the early 1990s. Remembered for his rapid rise to fame, Hammer is known for hit records, flashy dance movements, choreography and eponymous Hammer pants.
In 2004, James's career returned to the mainstream after he appeared in an episode of Chappelle's Show , in a Charlie Murphy True Hollywood Stories -style segment that satirized James's wild lifestyle, resulting in renewed interest in James's music and that year he returned to perform on the road. James died later that year from heart failure at age 56.
Chappelle's Show is an American sketch comedy television series created by comedians Dave Chappelle and Neal Brennan, with Chappelle hosting the show and starring in the majority of its sketches. Chappelle, Brennan, and Michele Armour were the show's executive producers. The series premiered on January 22, 2003, on the American cable television network Comedy Central. The show ran for two complete seasons and a third, truncated season.
Charles Quinton Murphy was an American actor, comedian, and writer. Murphy was best known as a writer and cast member of the Comedy Central sketch-comedy series Chappelle's Show, and as the costar of the sitcom Black Jesus. He was the older brother of comedian Eddie Murphy and the older half-brother of Vernon Lynch Jr.
E! True Hollywood Story is an American documentary series on E! that deals with Hollywood celebrities, movies, TV shows, and well-known public figures. Topics covered on the program include salacious re-tellings of Hollywood secrets, show-biz scandals, celebrity murders and mysteries, porn-star biographies and "where-are-they-now?" investigations of former child stars. It frequently features in-depth interviews, actual courtroom footage and dramatic reenactments. Content is usually updated to reflect the current life or status of the subject.
Johnson was born on February 1, 1948, in Buffalo, New York, to Mabel (née Sims) and James Ambrose Johnson Sr. He was one of eight children. James's father, an autoworker, left the family when James was 10. His mother was a dancer for Katherine Dunham, and later worked as a numbers-runner to earn a living.James's mother would take him on her collecting route, and it was in bars where she worked that James saw performers such as John Coltrane, Miles Davis, and Etta James perform. James claimed later, in the autobiography Glow, that he lost his virginity at "age 9 or 10" to a 14-year-old local girl, claiming his "kinky nature came in early". James eventually attended Orchard Park High School and Bennett High School prior to dropping out. James was introduced to drugs at an early age and was busted for burglary as a young teen. Due to his stints in jail for theft, James entered the United States Navy at 14 or 15, lying about his age, to avoid the draft. During that time, he also became a drummer for local jazz groups in New York City. Due to him missing his twice-monthly Reserve sessions at the USS Enterprise, he found himself ordered to Vietnam.
Katherine Mary Dunham was an African-American dancer, choreographer, author, educator, anthropologist, and social activist. Dunham had one of the most successful dance careers in African-American and European theater of the 20th century, and directed her own dance company for many years. She has been called the "matriarch and queen mother of black dance."
The numbers game, also known as the numbers racket, the Italian lottery, or the daily number, is a form of illegal gambling or illegal lottery played mostly in poor and working class neighborhoods in the United States, wherein a bettor attempts to pick three digits to match those that will be randomly drawn the following day. For many years the "number" has been the last three digits of "the handle", the amount race track bettors placed on race day at a major racetrack, published in racing journals and major newspapers in New York.
John William Coltrane was an American jazz saxophonist and composer. Working in the bebop and hard bop idioms early in his career, Coltrane helped pioneer the use of modes and was at the forefront of free jazz. He led at least fifty recording sessions and appeared on many albums by other musicians, including trumpeter Miles Davis and pianist Thelonious Monk. Over the course of his career, Coltrane's music took on an increasingly spiritual dimension. He remains one of the most influential saxophonists in music history. He received many posthumous awards, including canonization by the African Orthodox Church and a Pulitzer Prize in 2007. His second wife was pianist Alice Coltrane and their son, Ravi Coltrane, is also a saxophonist.
In 1965, he fled to Toronto, where he made friends with then-local musicians Neil Young and Joni Mitchell.To avoid being caught by military authorities, James went under the assumed name, "Ricky James Matthews". That same year, James formed the Mynah Birds, a band that produced a fusion of soul, folk and rock music. In 1965, the band briefly recorded for the Canadian division of Columbia Records, releasing the single, "Mynah Bird Hop"/"Mynah Bird Song". At one point, Nick St. Nicholas of later Steppenwolf fame was a member; eventually bassist Bruce Palmer replaced him by the time "Mynah Bird Hop" was recorded. James and Palmer recruited guitarists Tom Morgan and Xavier Taylor and drummer Rick Mason to form a new Mynah Birds lineup, and soon traveled to Detroit to record with Motown. Before the group began recording their first songs for the label, Morgan left, unhappy about the label's attitude towards the musicians. Neil Young eventually took his place. It was while in Detroit that James met his musical heroes, Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. After meeting Wonder and telling him his name, Wonder felt the name "Ricky James Matthews" was "too long", and instead told James to shorten it to "Ricky James".
Toronto is the provincial capital of Ontario and the most populous city in Canada, with a population of 2,731,571 in 2016. Current to 2016, the Toronto census metropolitan area (CMA), of which the majority is within the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), held a population of 5,928,040, making it Canada's most populous CMA. Toronto is the fastest growing city in North America, and is the anchor of an urban agglomeration, known as the Golden Horseshoe in Southern Ontario, located on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario. Toronto is an international centre of business, finance, arts, and culture, and is recognized as one of the most multicultural and cosmopolitan cities in the world.
Neil Percival Young, is a Canadian singer-songwriter. After embarking on a music career in the 1960s, he moved to Los Angeles, where he formed Buffalo Springfield with Stephen Stills, Richie Furay and others. Young had released two solo albums and three as a member of Buffalo Springfield by the time he joined Crosby, Stills & Nash in 1969. From his early solo albums and those with his backing band Crazy Horse, Young has recorded a steady stream of studio and live albums, sometimes warring with his recording company along the way.
Roberta Joan "Joni" Mitchell is a Canadian singer-songwriter. Drawing from folk, pop, rock, and jazz, Mitchell's songs often reflect social and environmental ideals as well as her feelings about romance, confusion, disillusionment, and joy. She has received many accolades, including nine Grammy Awards and induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997. Rolling Stone called her "one of the greatest songwriters ever", and AllMusic has stated, "When the dust settles, Joni Mitchell may stand as the most important and influential female recording artist of the late 20th century".
In 1966, a financial dispute in Toronto between James and the Mynah Birds' handler, Morley Shelmanled to Motown's learning of James's fugitive status with the Navy. Hoping to preempt any scrutiny by the Feds, Motown execs told Rick they would not be releasing any more of his material and "convinced" him to come back and work with them after straightening out his legal issues. James surrendered himself to the FBI, and, in May 1966, was sentenced by the Navy to five months' hard labor for "Unauthorized Absence". He was not yet 19 years old. James actually escaped from the Brooklyn Naval Brig after only six weeks' confinement, but after six months on the lam surrendered himself a second time and, with help from his mother, found legal assistance from his cousin, Congressman Louis Stokes and an attorney, former Marine Captain John Bracken, who pled James second court-martial down from a potential five years' hard labor to five months. After his release from Portsmouth Naval Prison in August, 1967, James returned to Toronto and endured another detention, initially derailing resumption of his career with Mynah Bird bandmate Neil Merryweather, with whom he would later collaborate, first at Motown and then in Los Angeles.
In 1968, again working under the pseudonym, Ricky Matthews, James produced and wrote songs at Motown for acts such as The Miracles, Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers, and The Spinners. According to James, he briefly got involved in pimp activity during this time, but stopped because he felt he was not qualified for it due to the harsh activity and the abuse of women there. 612 in 2018 dollars ) he was earning as a session bassist for Berry Gordy, joined James, looking to "hitch a lift from Neil Young's rising star", and relocating to Los Angeles during the summer of 1969.It was during this third stint at Motown that James met musician Greg Reeves, who, hoping to find a better situation than the US$38 a week (US$
Once in California, James initially worked as a duo with Greg Reeves, but soon after James introduced Reeves to Neil Young, it was Reeves, not James, who was hired as bassist for the newly formed rock supergroup, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young.Around this time James formed several versions of the rock band Salt'N'Pepper and got involved with hair stylist Jay Sebring, who agreed to invest in James's music. James and Salt'N'Pepper member Ed Roth later were included in Bruce Palmer's solo album The Cycle is Complete. The duo also recorded as part of the group Heaven and Earth in Toronto. Heaven and Earth eventually changed their name to Great White Cane and recorded an album of the same name for Los Angeles label, Lion Records, in 1972 & it was released that year. James formed another band, Hot Lips, afterwards. In 1973, James signed with A&M Records, where his first single under the name Rick James, "My Mama", was released, becoming a club hit in Europe. In 1976, James returned to Buffalo, New York, and formed the Stone City Band and recorded the song "Get Up and Dance!", which was his second single to be released. In 1977, James and the Stone City Band signed a contract with Motown's Gordy Records imprint, where they began recording their first album in New York City.
In April 1978, James released his debut solo album, Come Get It! , which included the Stone City Band. The album launched the top 20 hit, "You and I", which became his first number-one R&B hit. The album also included the hit single, "Mary Jane". It eventually sold two million copies, launching James's musical career to stardom, and helping out Motown Records at a time when label fortunes had dwindled. In early 1979, James's second album, Bustin' Out of L Seven , followed the previous album's success, eventually selling a million copies. A third album, Fire It Up , was released in late 1979 going gold. Around that same period, James launched his first headlining tour, the Fire It Up Tour, and agreed to invite the then-upcoming artist, Prince, as well as singer Teena Marie, as his opening act.James had produced Marie's successful Motown debut album, Wild and Peaceful and was featured on the hit duet, "I'm a Sucker (For Your Love)". James was credited with naming Marie, "Lady Tee", on the song, a nickname that stuck with Marie for the rest of her career. The Fire It Up tour led to James developing a bitter rivalry with Prince, after he accused the musician of ripping off his act.
Following the end of the tour in 1980, James released the ballads-heavy Garden of Love , which became his fourth gold record. In 1981, James recorded his best-selling album to date, Street Songs , which like his previous four albums, was a concept album. Street Songs featured a fusion mix of different genres, including rock and new wave, as well as James's brand of crossover funk, enabling James's own style of "punk funk". The album featured hit singles such as "Ghetto Life", the Teena Marie duet "Fire and Desire", "Give It to Me Baby", and his biggest crossover hit to date, "Super Freak", which peaked at number 16 on the Billboard Hot 100, and sold over 1 million copies. Street Songs peaked at number one R&B and number three pop, and sold over 3 million copies alone in the United States. Following up that success, James released two more gold albums, 1982's Throwin' Down and 1983's Cold Blooded .
During this period, envious of Prince's success as producer of other acts including The Time and Vanity 6, James launched the acts Process and the Doo-Rags, and the Mary Jane Girls, featuring his former background singer Joanne "JoJo" McDuffie as the lead vocalist and background performer, finding success with the latter group, due to the hits, "All Night Long", "Candy Man", and "In My House". In 1982, James produced the Temptations' Top 10 R&B hit, "Standing On The Top". In 1983, James recorded the hit duet, "Ebony Eyes", with singer Smokey Robinson. In 1985, James produced another hit for entertainer Eddie Murphy with the song "Party All the Time". That same year he appeared on an episode of The A-Team with Isaac Hayes. After the release of his ninth solo album, The Flag , in 1986, James signed with Warner Bros. Records, which released the album Wonderful in 1988, featuring the hit, "Loosey's Rap".
James's controversial and provocative image became troublesome sometimes. During his heyday, James had presented his songs to the then-fledgling music video channel, MTV, only to be turned down because James's music did not fit the network's rock playlist. James accused the network of racism.When MTV and BET both avoided playing the video for "Loosey's Rap" because of its graphic sexual content, James considered the networks hypocritical in light of them still playing provocative videos by Madonna and Cher.
In 1989, James's 11th album, Kickin' , was released only in the UK. By 1990, he had lost his deal with Warner Bros. and James began struggling with personal and legal troubles. That year MC Hammer released his hit signature song, "U Can't Touch This", which sampled the prominent opening riff from "Super Freak". James and his co-writer on "Super Freak", Alonzo Miller, successfully sued Hammer for shared songwriting credit and all three consequently received the 1990 Grammy Award for Best R&B Song.In 1997, James released Urban Rapsody , his first album since his release from prison on assault charges, and he toured to promote the album. That same year, he discussed his life and career in interviews for the VH1 musical documentary series, Behind the Music , which aired in early 1998. James's musical career slowed again after he suffered a minor stroke during a concert. In 1999, James accepted an offer by Eddie Murphy to appear in the comedy-drama Life.
James had two children with Syville Morgan, a former singer and songwriter. They had a daughter, Ty, and a son, Rick Jr.
James dated actress Linda Blair from 1982 to 1984. They met after James read an interview where Blair called him sexy. He contacted her and spent time getting to know the actress during a short stint living at the Chateau Marmont in Hollywood. His hit song "Cold Blooded" was about his relationship with Blair. "It was about how Linda could freeze my blood," he wrote in his autobiography.
In 1989, James met 17-year-old party-goer Tanya Hijazi. The two began a romance in 1990. In 1993, the couple welcomed the arrival of their only child and James's youngest, Tazman. Following their respective releases from prison for assaulting Mary Sauger and Frances Alley,the couple married in 1996 and divorced in 2002.
James was very close with Teena Marie, whom he met and began collaborating with in 1979. Teena Marie stated they were romantically involved for 3 months and engaged "for two weeks".[ citation needed ] Their professional partnership lasted into 2004, when Marie released her comeback album, La Doña , which included her and James's duet "I Got You". When James died, Teena Marie said she struggled to come to terms with his death.[ citation needed ]
James became close friends with Eddie Murphy after the two met in 1981. Following his exit from the United States Navy in 1984, Murphy's older brother Charlie Murphy, whose first post-Navy job was working as security for his famous brother, began spending time with James, and he bonded with the singer. Murphy would later recall on Chappelle's Show his sometimes strained relationship with James, which helped to revive James's name in the public eye after years of seclusion, following his mild stroke in 1998. James also appeared in the episode recounting his memory of the experiences shared with Murphy, such as starting impromptu fights with him and staining Murphy's couch with mud.
James was also a friend of fellow Motown act performers Smokey Robinson and Marvin Gaye, singers James idolized as a teenager. Additionally, he befriended Gaye's second wife, Janis, and he was godfather of Gaye's daughter Nona. James's relationship with Robinson began shortly after James signed with Motown and, in 1983, the duo recorded the hit "Ebony Eyes".
James also idolized former Temptations lead singer David Ruffin and Ruffin's self-proclaimed cousin, bass vocalist Melvin Franklin, and grabbed at the chance to produce the hit "Standing on the Top" for them in 1982. Before that, the then-current lineup of the group recorded background vocals on two James-associated projects—James's Street Songs (singing "Ghetto Life" and "Super Freak") and Teena Marie's It Must Be Magic (singing on the title track). In "Super Freak", "It Must Be Magic", and "Standing On The Top", James famously shouted out, "Temptations SING!"[ citation needed ]
James's drug abuse began in his teens, first with marijuana and heroin.James began using cocaine in the late 1960s. His cocaine use became an addiction by the 1980s, and he began freebasing by the end of the decade. James smoked crack cocaine in his Beverly Hills mansion and often put aluminum foil on the windows to block onlookers.
His drug use led to major health problems. In April 1984, he was hospitalized after being found unconscious in the middle of his house by a friend.James claimed that he quit cocaine when he entered prison, although his autopsy showed there was a small amount of the drug in his bloodstream at the time of his death.
By the beginning of the 1990s, James's drug use was public knowledge. He was mainly addicted to cocaine and later admitted to spending about $7,000 per week on drugs for five years straight. In 1991, he and future wife Tanya Hijazi were accused of holding 24-year-old Frances Alley hostage for up to six days (although accounts vary on how long she was actually held),[ citation needed ] tying her up, forcing her to perform sexual acts, and burning her legs and abdomen with the hot end of a crack cocaine pipe during a week-long cocaine binge. In 1993, while out on bail for that incident, James, under the influence of cocaine, assaulted music executive Mary Sauger at the St. James Club and Hotel in West Hollywood. Sauger claims she met James and Hijazi for a business meeting, but said the two then kidnapped and beat her over a 20-hour period.
James was found guilty of both offenses but was cleared of a torture charge in the crack pipe incident that could have put him in prison for the rest of his life. He served two years in Folsom Prison and lost a civil suit to Sauger, who was awarded $2 million.He was released from prison in 1996. In 1998, James was accused of sexually assaulting a 26-year-old woman, though charges were later dropped.
In early 2004, James participated in a comedy sketch on Chappelle's Show , in a segment called "Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories". James and Murphy recounted humorous stories of their experiences together during the early 1980s. During the sketch, James's character, played by Dave Chappelle, utters the now famous catchphrase, "I'm Rick James, bitch!" The sketches were punctuated by James, explaining his past behavior with the phrase, "cocaine is a hell of a drug!"
At the time of his death, James was working on an autobiography, The Confessions of Rick James: Memoirs of a Super Freak, as well as a new album. The book was finally published toward the end of 2007 by Colossus Books and features a picture of his tombstone.
Noted music journalist/biographer David Ritz, who had been employed by James to work on the book with him, later said that this version did not truly reflect how the musician wanted it published. In 2014, Ritz published his own, re-edited version, Glow: The Autobiography of Rick James.
He was also supporting Teena Marie's tour of her album La Doña and toured with her in May 2004, playing with her at the KBLX Stone Soul Picnic, Pioneer Amphitheatre, Hayward, California.
On the morning of August 6, 2004, James's caretaker found him dead in James's Los Angeles home at the Oakwood Toluca Hills apartment complex, just outside Burbank. He had died from pulmonary failure and cardiac failure, associated with his various health conditions of diabetes, a stroke, pacemaker, and heart attack. His autopsy found alprazolam, diazepam, bupropion, citalopram, hydrocodone, digoxin, chlorpheniramine, methamphetamine, and cocaine in his blood.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.
James's entire Motown Records back catalogue was released in 2014 on iTunes for the first time in digitally remastered form. This marks the first time many of his albums have been widely available since their initial releases. Physical copies of James's albums, namely Fire It Up, Garden of Love and The Flag, have become rare and highly sought-after by fans.
Mary Christine Brockert, better known by her stage name Teena Marie, was an American singer-songwriter, and producer. She was known by her childhood nickname Tina before taking the stage name Teena Marie and later acquired the nickname Lady Tee, given to her by her collaborator and friend, Rick James.
Street Songs is the fifth album by American musician Rick James, released in April 1981 via Gordy Records. "Give It to Me Baby", the lead song and single from the album, became James' second number one single on the R&B chart. It spent five weeks at the top spot. The fifth song on the album, "Super Freak", was also one of James' biggest hits. A Deluxe Edition was released in 2001 containing an additional 17 mixes and live versions of the album tracks. Although the song "Fire and Desire" was not originally released as a single, the song itself received much airplay on R&B radio stations and has since become a classic hit.
"Super Freak" is a 1981 single produced and performed by Rick James. The song, co-written by James and Alonzo Miller, was first released on James' album Street Songs and became one of James' signature songs. "Freak" is a slang term for a very promiscuous girl, as described in the song's lyrics, "She's a very kinky girl / The kind you don't take home to mother". Rolling Stone magazine ranked the song #477 in its list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. Nine years later, MC Hammer's 1990 hit "U Can't Touch This" sampled it. The song was nominated for the Grammy for Best Male Rock Vocal Performance at the 1982 Grammys.
Bruce Palmer was a Canadian musician best known as the bassist in the seminal American/Canadian folk rock band Buffalo Springfield, who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997.
The Mary Jane Girls were an American R&B, soul and funk group in the 1980s. They were protégées of singer Rick James. They are known for their hit songs "In My House", "All Night Long", "Candy Man", and their cover version of "Walk Like a Man".
Eldra Patrick "El" DeBarge is an American Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, producer and musician. During the early to mid-1980s he was the focal point and primary lead singer of the family group DeBarge. Popular songs led by El Debarge include "Time Will Reveal", "Stay with Me", "All This Love", and "Rhythm of the Night". As a solo artist, he is best known for his unique high tenor register, strong falsetto and the hits "Who's Johnny" and "Love Always", and for his collaborations with Tone Loc, George Clinton, Faith Evans, Quincy Jones, Fourplay, and DJ Quik. DeBarge is a three-time Grammy nominee.
Val Young also known as "Lady V", is an American recording artist from Detroit, Michigan, who achieved success during the 1980s. She is now based in Los Angeles.
Robert Louis DeBarge, Jr. was an American singer and musician. DeBarge was the lead singer of the Motown R&B/soul vocal group Switch and was noted for his impressive falsetto vocals. Later on, he served as both mentor and a co-producer of his siblings' band, DeBarge, eventually joining them to fill in for departing members El and Bunny. Personal problems, including substance abuse which eventually led to drug trafficking charges in 1988, plagued Bobby in later years, taking focus away from his musical career. He contracted HIV in the 1980s, and died of AIDS complications in 1995, at age 39.
The Mynah Birds were a Canadian R&B band formed in Toronto, Ontario, that was active from 1964 to 1967. Although the band never released an album, it is notable as featuring a number of musicians, such as Rick James and Neil Young, who went on to have successful careers in rock, folk rock and funk.
Howard Hewett Jr. is an American singer–songwriter. Hewett is the former lead vocalist of the R&B/soul vocal group Shalamar.
Wild and Peaceful is the debut studio album by American singer-songwriter Teena Marie. Released on March 31, 1979 by Motown, It features significant contributions from Rick James. He provided co-vocals on "I'm a Sucker for Your Love". Wild and Peaceful peaked at #18 on the Black Albums chart and #94 on the Billboard Albums chart. The lead single "I'm a Sucker for Your Love" reached #8 on the US Black Singles chart and #43 in the UK.
It Must Be Magic is the fourth studio album by Teena Marie, released in 1981. It was her last album for Motown and the highest-selling of Marie's tenure with Motown. Like Irons in the Fire, it was fully written and produced by Marie herself, and received a positive critical reception, earning the album a nomination for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance at the 1982 Grammy Awards.
Kerry Ashby Gordy is a music industry executive and a member of the Gordy family of Motown fame. He is the son of Motown records founder Berry Gordy, the half-brother of singer and rapper Redfoo and Rhonda Ross, daughter of Motown legend Diana Ross.
Lady T is the second studio album by American singer-songwriter Teena Marie, released by Motown's Gordy label on February 14, 1980.
Robbery is the fifth studio album by American singer-songwriter Teena Marie, released in 1983. It is her first album for Epic Records, following her acrimonious departure from Motown the previous year. The album was written and produced by Marie herself and features contributions from Patrice Rushen, Paulinho da Costa, and Steve Ferrone among others. However, the album did not repeat the success of her last Motown release It Must Be Magic (1981) stalling at number 13 on the Black Albums chart and only reaching number 119 on the Billboard Albums chart.
The discography of Teena Marie, the American Grammy Award-nominated R&B singer–songwriter–producer, consists of 14 studio albums, 11 compilation albums, and 30 singles since her debut album Wild and Peaceful in 1979. She has been awarded with two gold albums and has 6 top-ten albums and 7 top-ten singles on the United States R&B charts.
Ozone was an funk and R&B group during the late 1970s and early 1980s, signed to Motown Records.
"Lovergirl" is the first single from Teena Marie's 1984 album, Starchild. The song was Marie's first hit song under her new label, Epic Records, after a lawsuit with Motown. The song also became Marie's biggest hit, peaking at #4 on the Billboard Hot 100. She wrote and produced the song.
"Standing on the Top" is a funk song recorded by the Motown group The Temptations, written and produced by musician Rick James.
James Levine was an American R&B songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and record producer.