Glow: The Autobiography of Rick James

Glow: The Autobiography of Rick James

Rick James, David Ritz

Language: English

Pages: 352

ISBN: 147676414X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Best known for his song “Super Freak,” hitmaker, singer, innovator, producer, award-winning pioneer in the fusion of funk groove and rock, the late Rick James collaborated with music biographer David Ritz in this posthumously published, wildly entertaining, and profound expression of a rock star’s life and soul.

He was the nephew of Temptations singer Melvin Franklin; a boy who watched and listened, mesmerized from underneath cocktail tables at the shows of Etta James and Miles Davis. He was a vagrant hippie who wandered to Toronto, where he ended up playing with Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, and he became a household name in the 1980s with his hit song “Super Freak.” Later in life, he was a bad boy who got caught up in drug smuggling and ended up in prison. But since his passing in August 2004, Rick James has remained a legendary icon whose name is nearly synonymous with funk music—and who popularized the genre, creating a lasting influence on pop artists from Prince to Jay-Z to Snoop Dogg, among countless others.

In Glow, Rick James and acclaimed music biographer David Ritz collaborated to write a no-holds-barred memoir about the boy and the man who became a music superstar in America’s disco age. It tells of James’s upbringing and how his mother introduced him to musical geniuses of the time. And it reveals details on many universally revered artists, from Marvin Gaye and Prince to Nash, Teena Marie, and Berry Gordy. James himself said, “My journey has taken me through hell and back. It’s all in my music—the parties, the pain, the oversized ego, the insane obsessions.” But despite his bad boy behavior, James was a tremendous talent and a unique, unforgettable human being. His “glow” was an overriding quality that one of his mentors saw in him—and one that will stay with this legendary figure who left an indelible mark on American popular music.

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pot during your show—but not here. Do it here and we’ll bust your ass.” “Fuck you,” was my only reply. “Mary Jane” was the tune where I stood before twenty-foot joints made out of papier-mâché with smoke coming out the tips. I’d always fire up. So did the rest of the crowd. It was our big bonding moment. On this night I told the fans, “The cops say if I light up they’ll haul my ass off to jail.” The crowd let out a gigantic “Boooooooooo!” “Y’all gonna let them do that?” I asked. “Hell, no!”

the winner of the award for Rhythm and Blues Vocal Performance, “Sexual Healing.” As Marvin came onstage to accept the award, my mind was swimming with thoughts. I hadn’t seen Marvin since I’d gotten involved with Jan. I wondered if he’d take a swing at me. If so, I was ready. My fists were clenched. I also wondered if he’d make some cutting remark. But Marvin could not have been more charming. He gave a beautiful speech. Turned out that this was his first Grammy. Unbelievable as it might sound,

bedroom was closing. After “Party All the Time” went to the top, months passed—maybe years—before I went out in sunlight. I became a vampire—sleeping all day and hitting the base pipe at night. I had my bedroom windows covered with aluminum foil so not a single ray of sunlight could get through. If I came out at all it was only to fly down to New York, where I found those two model chicks and fell back into the ménage à trois. That meant another week or two of drug-induced stupefaction. God

guru, a teacher who was God incarnate, a teacher whose message was love for all. Marvin Gaye had often spoken of Jesus and so had Stevie Wonder. But I’d been too high and haughty to really listen. Now I was ready for the transformation I had long sought. Hardly a day passed that I didn’t speak to both Liz and Lisa—Liz for spiritual direction, Lisa for a romantic reconnection. I invited Lisa to visit me in Buffalo, and she did. I told her that the desire to get high was no longer there. I also

that fact. I flew Mom out to L.A. but wouldn’t let her in my bedroom, where the windows were covered with aluminum and the crack pipes were on full display. Sometimes we’d talk in the kitchen and sometimes in the living room, but to be honest, I avoided her. Even though I had sent for her, the reality of seeing her sick was too much for me. One night she came to my bedroom and knocked on the door. “I know what you’re doing in there, James,” she said. “You ain’t hiding nothing from me.” I knew

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