Friday, August 06, 2004
Funk Singer Rick James Dies at Age 56
By DAISY NGUYEN
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Funk legend Rick James, best known for the 1981 hit "Super Freak" before his career collapsed in a cloud of violent drug charges, died Friday. He was 56.
James died in his sleep at his residence near Universal City, apparently of natural causes, said his publicist, Sujata Murthy. James lived alone and was found dead by his personal assistant, who notified police, she said.
The exact cause was not immediately known. "There'll be an autopsy and we'll find that out shortly," Murthy said.
With long hair elaborately styled in braids or Jheri curls, James was one of the biggest R&B stars of the 1980s, composing danceable rhythms and passionate ballads that gained a wide following.
Aside from "Super Freak" - which MC Hammer used a decade later as the backing track for his rap smash "U Can't Touch This" - James' hits included "Mary Jane,""Ebony Eyes" and "Fire and Desire," a stirring duet with Teena Marie.
The article mentions his troubles with the law, but I'd rather remember him the way Dave Chappelle remembers him.