Artist Countdown: Rick James Top 25 Hits 6p ET @RadioMax

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

James started his singing career fronting doo-wop and rhythm and blues bands in his hometown of Buffalo, New York in the early 1960s, with his vocal style influenced by the likes of Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and David Ruffin. After entering the United States Navy to avoid conscription after he dropped out of high school, James deserted and relocated to Toronto, Canada where he resumed his music career. While there, James formed the rock-soul fusion band Mynah Birds, whose lineup once included a young Neil Young. James’ tenure with the Mynah Birds was interrupted after he was discovered recording with the group in Motown in the 1960s, and surrendered to military authorities serving out a one-year sentence in a prison in Buffalo. James returned to Canada where he resumed the Mynah Birds, though the band eventually split; James relocated to California where he started a series of rock bands. He also had a period where he served as a staff writer with Motown (under an assumed name) before he left the label.

In 1977, he signed with the Gordy Records subsidiary of Motown as a recording artist where in 1978, he recorded his first album, Come Get It!, which sold over a million copies at the time of its release. He would go on to score several popular hits on the pop and R&B charts, including four number-one hits on the latter chart. James became noted not only as a hit maker on his own recordings but also produced successful recordings for the likes of Teena Marie, the Mary Jane Girls, the Temptations, Eddie Murphy and Smokey Robinson. His best-selling recording, 1981’s Street Songs, sold over three million copies helping to renew sagging fortunes in Motown.

Addictions to cocaine and crack however hampered his career by the late 1980s and in the 1990s, his legal troubles, which would include assaulting two women while under the influence of crack, led him to serve a three-year prison 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.  (Source: Wikipedia)

1 You and I
2 Give It to Me Baby
3 Dance Wit’ Me
4 Cold Blooded
5 Can’t Stop
6 Glow
7 Big Time
8 Loosey’s Rap (featuring Roxanne Shanté)
9 17
10 Sweet and Sexy Thing
11 Standing on the Top  (with The Temptations)
12 Super Freak
13 Mary Jane
14 Love Gun
15 Ebony Eyes (with Smokey Robinson)
16 Bustin’ Out
17 High on You Love Suite
18 U Bring the Freak Out
19 You Turn Me On
20 Hard to Get
21 Come into My Life
22 Ghetto Life
23 Fool on the Street
24 Spend the Night With Me
25 Wonderful

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