Rick James had some frenetic early years, playing bass in a range of bands (including one with Neil Young) and he signed some early record deals. However, things took off for James, (taking his stage name on Stevie Wonders’ advice), when he signed for Motown and released his first song You And I and released his debut album in the summer of 1978, peaking again with the 1981 hit Super Freak. A succession of hit songs and albums was accompanied by James’s work writing and producing for the Temptations, Teena Marie and the Mary Jane Girls. In 1990, his songwriting was further exposed when Super Freak was sampled by MC Hammer on his gigantic hit song U Can’t Touch This, which was a Number 1 US single and multiple Grammy award winning song. James’ life was not without its legal troubles and excess drug consumption, and he prematurely died of a heart attack aged 56 in 2004.