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Rick James


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Rick James (born James Ambrose Johnson, Jr; February 1, 1948 - August 6, 2004) was an American funk and soul musician from Buffalo New York, who worked as a singer, keyboardist, bassist, record producer, arranger, and composer during his long career. One of the most popular artists on the Motown label during the late 1970s and early 1980s, James was famous for his wild brand of funk music and his trademark cornrow braids. As time went on, James was given the unofficial title The King of Punk-Funk.

After dropping out of high school and joining the US Naval Reserve, he eventually went AWOL to concentrate on music. He fled to Canada in 1964 and started using the name Ricky Matthews. In Toronto, he led various incarnations of Mynah Birds, some of which included Neil Young and Bruce Palmer (who would go on to form Buffalo Springfield) and Nick St. Nicholas (later of Steppenwolf). After scoring a deal with Motown, the band was swindled by their manager and the label discovered James was on the lam, and the band split up.

After serving time for desertion, James tried to rekindle the Mynah Birds, but eventually found a role as a writer and producer at Motown, using the name Terry Johnson on tunes for Smokey Robinson & The Miracles, Bobby Taylor And The Vancouvers and The Spinners. He moved to California in 1969 and formed Salt ‘n’ Pepper (not to be confused with Salt-N-Pepa) and worked with a number of bands (Heaven and Earth, Great White Cane, and Stone City Band) before returning to Motown, where he developed the gritty funk sound that would bring him hits and notoriety.


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  • doctorjmo

    ebony eyes!!

    20 Mar 6:38pm Reply
  • jestem-chujem

    I'm cocaine, bitch!

    8 Nov 2014 Reply
  • Haalf

    dance ♥

    19 Jul 2014 Reply
  • DickBigems

    Lovin' the main pic.

    7 Jun 2014 Reply
  • CatastrophicEli


    21 Mar 2014 Reply
  • slapnut002

    top party music indeed...

    9 Jan 2014 Reply
  • yagohenrike

    Ebony Eyes ♥

    6 Jan 2014 Reply
  • weastcoast

    Street Songs is a masterpiece.

    30 Nov 2013 Reply
  • charlesjosmith

    I know deeply on how funk and soul was modernized. Before Rick James, the funk and soul craze started with the old soul crooners of the 1960s and 1970s, especially Al Green, Wilson Pickett, and all of this built up to "The Godfather of Soul"--James Brown. The rise of the Memphis horn section in the 1970s, a great soul crooner, Marvin Gaye, as well as the rise of the disco era in that decade, allowed funk and soul to flourish more greatly. This is how house bands in disco incorporated funk and soul in their disco numbers. Disco Demolition in 1979, regrettably, tried to put out disco-laden funk and soul for good, but there was a happy backlash--even though disco died, funk and soul survived in the 1980s decade onward. Funk and soul groups then added R and B to the mix, making a sort of retro-disco sound that led to artists like Michael Jackson, the Gap Band, The Time, Prince, and finally--Rick James and his band. Rick pushed the envelope of funk with such songs as "Mary Jane."

    11 Nov 2013 Reply
  • FierCrakka

    This freaked me out! This isn't fake. Apparently if you copy and paste this on ten comments you will have the best day of your life tomorrow. You will either get kissed or asked out. If you break the chain you will see a dead girl in your room tonight. In the next 53 minutes someone will say I love you or I'm sorry (;-;)

    25 Oct 2013 Reply
  • Senatorcraig

    The music is no joke.

    12 Jun 2013 Reply
  • TMSuperfreak

    Okay. For all Friends over the World - "VIVA EL SUPERFREAK AROUND THE WORLD.!!!" E.Mail.

    15 Mar 2013 Reply
  • Kexet1

    Haha I love Rick James, top party music

    10 Feb 2013 Reply
  • michouz

    Crack is the best for artists

    28 Jan 2013 Reply
  • AndreaEIson

    I love Rick James so sad he died so young, he was fantastic, he was very original.

    11 Jan 2013 Reply
  • TheDarkSide73

    I'm bitch Rick James

    8 Jan 2013 Reply
  • Kexet1

    I can't stop listening to that tune!

    19 Nov 2012 Reply
  • Kexet1

    Temptations sing!!

    17 Oct 2012 Reply
  • nfhihsdiu

    I`m Rick James bitch!

    31 Aug 2012 Reply
  • InShiningArmour

    Cold blooded.

    25 Aug 2012 Reply
  • All 366 shouts