b. James Ambrose Johnson Jnr., 1st February 1948, Buffalo, New York, U.S.A.
d. 6th August 2004, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
During the Sixties, Rick James worked with the artist Neil Young in a band called the Mynah Birds.
It was during the Seventies when he, alongside Prince (with whom he had a great rivalry at the time), pioneered a new form of Funk Music.
Rick was, actually, the nephew of the Temptations singer, Melvin Franklin.
He led a very troubled life, including being arrested for draft evasion, assaulting two women in 1993 with a pipe and served two years in the Folsom State Prison in California.
Rick formed a group called the Main Line during the Seventies.
He later signed to the Motown imprint during the latter stages of the decade and introduced the World to 'Punk Funk', releasing the single 'You and I'.
Rick formed the group, the Stone City Band and put together the singing group the Mary Jane Girls.
He produced material on Teena Marie (with whom he had an alleged relationship. The Teena Marie song 'Portugesian Love' reputedly biographed an evening between the couple), Eddie Murphy, Val Young and Process and the Doo Rags.
The release of the album 'Street Songs' bought Rick a Grammy Award, and he collaborated with the Temptations on the 1982 release 'Standing On The Top'.
Rick became hospitalised several times over a five year period at the end of the Seventies and during the early Eighties.
By 1985, he had released the songs 'The Glow' and '17', to some success.
The following year he released the album 'The Flag', after which Rick left the Motown Records stable.
Relocating to the Reprise imprint, he released the single 'Loosey's Rap', collaborating with Roxanne Shante.
By 1990, Rick was reputed to have made an estimated $30 million to $40 million from M.C. Hammer's hit 'U Can't Touch This', a song that utilised a sample from 'Super Freak'.
Rick was jailed again in 1991, together with his girlfriend Manya Hijazi, for alleged various offences including dealing cocaine, assault and torture.
Shortly before his death, Rick was working on a double album release and discussed the war in Iraq with friends, apparently.
He was found at his home at 9.45 a.m. on the 6th of August 2004, and had died from natural causes, reports stated.
Rick had suffered a stroke in 1998 and had admitted an addiction to cocaine, although he had tempered the use in recent times.
Bustin' Out Of L Seven (Gordy 1979)
Come And Get It! (Gordy 1979)
Fire It Up (Gordy 1979)
In 'N' Out (Gordy 1980)
Garden Of Love (Gordy 1980)
Street Songs (Gordy 1981)
Throwin' Down (Gordy 1982)
Cold Blooded (Gordy 1983)
Glow (Gordy 1985)
The Flag (Gordy 1986)
Wonderful (Reprise 1988)
Anthology (Motown 2002)
Deeper Still (Stone City Records 2007)