Rick James' body had nine drugs in it

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 17 (UPI) -- Funk legend Rick James had as many as nine drugs in his body when he died earlier this month in California, E! Online reported Friday.

Cause of death unknown for Rick James

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 10 (UPI) -- An autopsy performed on the body of Rick James, who died in his sleep, revealed no specific cause of death for the U.S. funk singer, E! Online said Tuesday.

Singer Rick James dies at 56

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 6 (UPI) -- Singer Rick James, best known for the 1981 funk classic "Super Freak," was found dead Friday at his home in Los Angeles, police said. He was 56.

Dave Chappelle gets $50 million deal

LOS ANGELES, Aug. 3 (UPI) -- Dave Chappelle has signed a deal with Comedy Central worth a reported $50 million, The Hollywood Reporter said Tuesday.

Jay-Z, Rick James to get ASCAP awards

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., June 14 (UPI) -- U.S. recording artists Jay-Z and Rick James have been chosen to receive special ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Awards in Beverly Hills.

Movie biography of Rick James planned

LOS ANGELES, June 10 (UPI) -- Plans are under way in Hollywood for a movie based on funk star Rick James' autobiography, "Memoirs of a Super Freak," The Hollywood Reporter said Thursday.

Motown TV special is mini-family reunion

LOS ANGELES, April 7 (UPI) -- Gladys Knight, Smokey Robinson and the Four Tops are among the acts who have reunited to celebrate 45 years of Motown music in an upcoming U.S. TV special.

The Almanac

Today is Sunday, Feb. 1, the 32nd day of 2004 with 334 to follow.
By United Press International

Feature: The shaky music industry

The shaky condition of the music industry -- challenged by diminishing sales and Internet downloading -- is a primary topic among those attending the annual South By Southwest music festival and conference last week. But Grammy-winning producer Dani

The Almanac

Today is Saturday, Feb. 1, the 32nd day of 2003 with 333 to follow.
By United Press International

Today in Music: a look back at pop music

Today's birthdays include Bob Shane of the Kingston Trio, who was born in 1934 (age 69); Don Everly and Ray "Dr. Hook" Sawyer, both in 1937 (age 65); Kansas guitarist Rich Williams in 1950 (age 53); funkster Rick James in 1952 (age 51); guitarist Mike Cam
By United Press International

Today in Music: a look back at pop music

The weekly UPI Today in Music package for February 1-7.
By United Press International

Today in Music: a look back at pop music

Today's birthdays include Ramsey Lewis Trio bassist Eldee Young, who was born in 1936 (age 67); Paul Revere, leader of the 1960s pop group Paul Revere and the Raiders, in 1942 (age 61); Mike McCartney, the brother of ex-Beatle Paul who performs under the
By United Press International

Today in Music: a look back at pop music

The weekly UPI Today in Music package for January 4-10.
By United Press International

Today in music: a look back at pop music

Today's birthdays include Alan Freed, who was born in 1922. It was Freed who (according to legend) coined the phrase "rock 'n' roll." Cindy Birdsong, who sang with Patti LaBelle and the Bluebells as well as the Supremes, was born in 1939 (age 63); drummer
By United Press International
Page 2 of 5
Rick James
Reknown funk singer Rick James shown in 1998 was found dead from natural causes in his Los Angeles aprartment on August 6, 2004. The 56 year old singer is best remebered for his 1981 recording "Super Freak" (UPI Photo/Jim Ruyman)

James Ambrose Johnson, Jr. (February 1, 1948 – August 6, 2004), better known under his stage name Rick James, was an American singer, songwriter, musician and record producer. James was a popular performer in the late 1970s and 1980s, scoring four #1 hits on the U.S. R&B charts performing in the genres of funk and R&B. Among his well known songs are "Super Freak" and "You and I". In addition to his music, James gained notoriety for his wild lifestyle, which led to widely publicized legal problems, and which was famously spoofed by Chappelle's Show in 2004.

James was born on February 1, 1948 in Buffalo, New York. His father, an autoworker, abandoned him and his siblings as a child. His mother, a former vaudeville dancer, later reportedly ran errands for a Mafia family to make ends meet. James grew up singing in street corners with fellow neighborhood boys. James' early idols included Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and The Temptations, which included Melvin Franklin, who was his uncle. After being briefly involved in street activity, James dropped out of high school at fifteen to avoid a possible draft and joined the U.S. Naval Reserve. A year later, James left the Reserve after he began to miss weekend training, because it interfered with his music career.

Fleeing north to Toronto, Ontario, Canada in the summer of 1964, James, now using the stage name Big Jimmy, continued his musical career. His first band, formed with future Steppenwolf member Nick St. Nicholas was initially called the Sailor Boys but soon changed their name to the Mynah Birds. Bassist Bruce Palmer took over for St. Nicholas in early 1965, and the group soon released their first single, "Mynah Bird Hop"/"Mynah Bird Song" for Columbia Records of Canada.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Rick James."
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