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Last Updated: Saturday, 7 August, 2004, 12:30 GMT 13:30 UK
Tributes paid to funk star James
Rick James was pictured at an award ceremony in June
Rick James appeared at an award ceremony in June
Tributes have been paid to US funk star Rick James who died on Friday at the age of 56.

James, who was best known for his 1981 hit Super Freak, is thought to have died of natural causes in Los Angeles, California.

His son, Rick James Jr, led the tributes to his father, saying: "The spirit lives on."

Smokey Robinson, who recorded the duet Ebony Eyes with him in 1983, said James was "the original R&B rock star".

'Rhythmic style'

He added: "Rick was very unique in his presentation and he was very instrumental in the careers of a lot of other Motown artists.

"He created another kind of rhythmic style for R&B music."

James was honored in June by the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers with the Rhythm & Soul Heritage Award.

The award was presented by Motown founder Berry Gordy Jr.

Gordy described James as a "pioneer who took Motown in a whole new direction".


"His creative abilities, his instincts about music and production were just awesome," he added.

Neil Portnow, president of the Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences, which presents the Grammy Awards, said: "The world mourns a musician and performer of the funkiest kind.

"Grammy-winner Rick James was a singer, songwriter and producer whose performances were always as dynamic as his personality.

"The Super Freak of funk will be missed."

Funk star Rick James found dead
06 Aug 04  |  Entertainment


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