Glow: The Autobiography of Rick James
Rick James, David Ritz
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.
130, 139, 215, 227–28 Chi-Lites, 54, 148 China Club, 280 Chong, Tommy, 78 Christians, Christianity, 11, 17, 40, 190, 289, 294, 320 Erni and, 46–48, 51 Chuck, 266–68, 273–74, 276 “Cinnamon Girl,” 138 Clark, Chris, 78, 202 Clark, Dick, 186–87, 232 Clarke, Kenny “Klook,” 71 Clayton-Thomas, David, 64, 120 Cliff, Jimmy, 217, 235, 277 Clinton, George, 5, 80, 110, 157–58, 163–64, 173, 193, 209–10, 220, 222, 245, 321 Coffey, Dennis, 117 “Coke,” 93 Cold Blooded (album), 247–48 “Cold
At that point I should have added “at least not yet,” but I couldn’t see the future. All I could see was a line of hard-core hippies waiting to get in to see the Lovin’ Spoonful. Morley knew the club owner and got us right in. I dug everything I heard. Later in life when I told writers that the Lovin’ Spoonful was one of the groups that influenced me most, they thought I was kidding. I wasn’t. John Sebastian was a great harp player. He knew the black masters and became a master himself. John and
opened a suitcase stuffed with bills and handed Mom the cash. “Where you’d get this?” she asked. “You really wanna know?” “If I didn’t, I wouldn’t ask.” “India was profitable.” “You said you went over to learn some new instruments.” “That’s true, but I also made a connection.” “You made a drug run, son?” “Afraid so.” “You know you’re crazy, don’t you?” “I’ve been told.” “And I’m telling you again—bringing dope into the country when the country is on this antidope campaign is plain
Aztec warrior. I was photographed wearing animal-skin shorts, studded leather boots, and open-toed black sandals. In my left hand I was holding a big battle shield. I was ready to take on the world. That was my attitude. “Dance Wit’ Me” was a huge R & B hit off Throwin’ Down, proving that my star status was more potent than ever. Defiance continued to define me—even though I’m not sure what the hell I was still defiant about. Hadn’t I already proven everything that needed to be proven? Brotha
For two years he had to wear a cast that covered both his legs up to his waist. Mom became his nurse. In spite of her day job cleaning houses and her night job running numbers, she found time to care for him. Whenever she wasn’t working, she was with Roy. I felt like I had lost her. I also felt like she blamed me for the accident. Why hadn’t I been there? If I had, maybe I could have pushed Roy out of the way. Maybe I could have prevented the whole thing. Naturally I never told Mom the truth—that