Few American superstar stories are richer, wilder, or more excessive than Rick James’s.
He played in a band with Neil Young, spent years in jail, produced his first album (which was then picked up by Motown) with money from shadowy sources, crossed rock and funk to come up with one of the best-selling albums of the 1980s, became one of the biggest pop star of the era, turned a young white woman named Teena Marie into an R&B superstar, displayed an outrageously sex and drug-filled lifestyle, was tried and found guilty of assaulting and imprisoning a young woman, went on to record new music that was compared to the Beatles’ White Album, and ended his life as a punch line for Dave Chappelle.
And along the way, he scored a large number of major hits, sold tens of millions of albums and became intimate with dozens of big-name celebrities.
Rick James attempted to tell his own story—in two different books—but left out many incidents that showed what he was really like. Nobody has written the full truth about his life.
Now, based on court records, newspaper archives, and extensive interviews with dozens of family members, band members, friends, and lovers, here is the definitive biography of Motown’s most controversial superstar.