Remembering Motown Legend Rick James On His Birthday
As the tunes of "Cold-Blooded", "Super Freak", "You and I", and "Give It To Me Baby" play through the speakers many remember cleaning up on Sunday mornings, date night with their spouse back in the day, or just family gatherings that went late into the night. Either way, tons of us can recall hearing the beautiful voice of Rick James.
Today, February 1, is a special day for the African-American Culture as it labels the start of Black History Month here in the United States. An entire month dedicated to our people and our ancestors that helped build this country. This is also the birthday of Rick James, so as we send a heavenly birthday wish to him, let's look back at the Motown Legend's career.
Rick James was an artist that EVERYONE had in their playlist, and he had a plethora of genres he operated in. There wasn't a mood or occasion where Rick James' music wouldn't be acceptable. Born as James Ambrose Johnson, Jr. in Buffalo, New York before making his way to Motown as Rick James.
Rick James was an image created by Johnson to let him enjoy the superstar life and take his pleasures to the next level. James was known to let his wild, crazy, and free spirit openly exist in many of these forums which is what he said almost killed him.
Way back in the 1960s while living in Toronto, Rick James formed the Mynah Birds, a band that traveled to Detroit and gained the interest of Motown. This was short-lived as the music label dropped them soon after, but this didn't stop Rick James.
Rick James returned just a few years later with the Stone City Band, except Motown said they would only sign the group if James was solo talent accompanied by the band. This arrangement was fair enough to them and they took off, creating hit singles like “You and I,” which climbed to No. 1 on the national R&B Singles chart and No. 13 on the Pop Singles chart.
The album, "Come Get It" would go down as one of the first punk funk albums to exist and he followed it up with “Bustin’ Out of L Seven,” which made him a new major star. Although, the next album would be the one we all know and love, “Street Songs,” featuring “Give it to Me Baby,” “Super Freak” and the sizzling duet with Teena Marie, “Fire and Desire,” sent James into the stratosphere.
Motown Shows In The Midwest
Rick James had his fair share of concerts and tours throughout his career and didn't leave the Midwest hanging when it came to tour stops. He made it clear that he would make stops in the area, probably to show love to Motown, but he had several concerts during his hay day within the Michigan area.
Of course, he had shows in the two biggest cities that we can think of in the area, Chicago and Detroit. It's also said that Rick James visited Ohio a fair share of times. He would make stops in Toledo, Cleveland, and Columbus, he also made a stop in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Check out some of the greatest memories and other facts about Motown below.