Category: rick james

On this day in music history: June 13, 1981 – …

On this day in music history: June 13, 1981 – “Give It To Me Baby” by Rick James hits #1 on the Billboard R&B singles chart for 5 weeks, topping the Club Play chart for 3 weeks on July 25, 1981, also peaking at #40 on the Hot 100 on July 18, 1981. Written and produced by Rick James, it is the second R&B chart topper for the singer, songwriter and musician dubbed the “King Of Punk Funk”. After the critical and relative commercial failure of his fourth album “Garden Of Love” in 1980, Rick James returns home to his native Buffalo, NY to regroup, “determined to do the greatest album” he could produce. “Give It To Me Baby is inspired after a night of heavy partying. James goes home and sits down at the piano, writing it in short order. The track is recorded at The Record Plant in Sausalito, CA in December of 1980, with James’ lead vocal being completed in only two or three takes. Issued as the first single from James’ landmark album "Street Songs” on February 20, 1981, it is an immediate smash on R&B radio and on the dance floor. Shortly after the single’s release, Motown also issues a commercial 12" single featuring an extended version of “Give It To Me Baby”. The extended 12" mix and its instrumental B-side are both reissued on the 2001 Deluxe Edition of the “Street Songs” album. The bass line is later used on MC Hammer’s “Let’s Get It Started”, and James’ original version is sampled on Public Enemy’s “Fight The Power”.

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twixnmix: Linda says they’re in love: Linda …

twixnmix:

Linda says they’re in love: Linda Blair and Rick James photographed by Richard Corkery on

October 26, 1982. (via NY Daily News)

In an interview accompanying a topless pictorial in Oui magazine, actress Linda Blair, 23, revealed that she found James “very sexy.” Rick, who was shown the piece by a member of his retinue, returned the compliment through an intermediary. And before you can say “bicoastal blind date,” they winged it to New York for a multinight stand. That was last month. Now they talk daily and plan future assignations. “I had learned very well to be single,” Linda says, “but Rick turned my head around.” The feeling, apparently, is mutual. “She’s my baby,” James responds. “I really care for her deeply. She had a lot of hard times, like myself, and managed to rise above them.”

(Excerpt via People Magazine – November 22, 1982)

On this day in music history: April 20, 1978 -…

On this day in music history: April 20, 1978 – “Come Get It!”, the debut album by Rick James is released. Produced by Rick James and Art Stewart, it is recorded at Crossed-Eyed Bear Studios in Clarence, NY and The Record Plant in New York City from Mid – Late 1977. The first album by James comes some twelve years after first recording for Motown as a member of The Mynah Birds, a band featuring James and future Buffalo Springfield members Neil Young and Bruce Palmer. In the years in between, travel around the world, before moving to California and start a series of bands that lasts for a brief period. At one point, he reconnects with Motown briefly as a staff writer for the label before parting ways again. Finally, he signs with Motown in 1977 after when staff producer Jeffrey Bowen hears a demo of several songs that Rick has written, playing them for label executive Suzanne DePasse. Shortly after this, he is signed to the label and is paired with co-producer and engineer Art Stewart (Marvin Gaye). James plays most of the instruments on the album himself before assembling The Stone City Band in 1979. It spins off two singles including “You And I” (#1 R&B, #13 Pop) and “Mary Jane” (#3 R&B, #41 Pop). “Come Get It!” peaks at number three on the Billboard R&B album chart, number thirteen on the Top 200, and is certified 2x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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On this day in music history: April 7, 1981 – …

On this day in music history: April 7, 1981 – “Street Songs”, the fifth album by Rick James is released. Produced by Rick James, it is recorded at The Record Plant in Sausalito, CA and Motown/Hitsville USA Studios in Hollywood, CA from December 1980 – January 1981. After the poorly received “Garden Of Love” album, Rick James regroups, returning to his hometown of Buffalo, NY writing songs chronicling his life experiences. The albums second single “Super Freak” (#3 R&B, #16 Pop) is a last minute addition, born out of a joke. When one of the members of The Stone City Band jokes that Rick “hasn’t written anything that white people can dance to”, James quickly comes up with funky, new wave flavored song. It receives airplay right out the box while the first single is climbing the charts. The unique synthesizer sound on “Super Freak” and other tracks on the album, are from an Oberheim OB-X synth actually belonging to R&B superstar Prince. Having toured with Rick, and engaged in a fierce rivalry, James has his road crew steal Prince’s keyboard off of the equipment truck at the end of the tour. Rick takes the keyboard to the studio in Sausalito, and uses it on the album. He eventually sends the instrument back to Prince with a “thank you note”. The end result is the biggest album of Rick James’ career, spinning off three singles including “Give It To Me Baby” (#1 R&B, #40 Pop) and “Ghetto Life” (#38 R&B). The track “Fire And Desire” (a duet with Teena Marie), though never officially released as a single A-side (an edited version appears as the B-side of “You Turn Me On” in 1984), becomes a huge airplay favorite on R&B and Quiet Storm radio, becoming nearly as popular as the album’s big hits. The album is remastered and reissued as double disc Deluxe Edition in 2001. The first disc includes the full original album plus the 12" mixes and instrumental versions of “Give It To Me Baby” and “Super Freak”. The second disc features a complete unreleased concert recorded at the Long Beach Arena on July 30, 1981, during the Street Songs Tour. It also features two tracks by Teena Marie who was James’ opening act. A single CD edition is issued in 2002 with the original eight song album, with the two 12" mixes of the first two singles included as bonus tracks. Out of print on vinyl since the late 80’s, it is remastered and reissued as a 180 gram LP in 2016, as part of Universal’s “Back To Black” reissue series. “Street Songs” spends twenty weeks at number one on the Billboard R&B album chart, peaking at number three on the Top 200, and is certified 3x Platinum in the US by the RIAA.

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twixnmix: Ticket stubs from Rick James’ Fire …

twixnmix:

Ticket stubs from Rick James’ Fire It Up Tour with opening act Prince in 1980.

Linda Blair pictorial for Playboy Italia (…

Linda Blair pictorial for

Playboy Italia

(March 1983)

Fun Fact: Linda was dating Rick James during this time and he wrote his 1983 hit song “Cold Blooded” about her.

twixnmix: Rick James and Linda Blair, 1982. “…

twixnmix:

Rick James and Linda Blair, 1982.

“Linda was incredible. A free spirit. A beautiful mind. A mind-blowing body. She liked getting high and getting down as much as I did. We posed topless for a photograph that showed up everywhere. We didn’t care. We were doing our own thing our own way. It was a love affair that I hope would last. It didn’t.”                

(Glow: The Autobiography of Rick James)

Rick James during an in-store sales promotio…

Rick James during an in-store sales promotion at Freeway Record Store in Los Angeles for the album “Bustin’ Out of L Seven” (1979).

Photos by Bobby Holland