Tagged with "rick"
Ricky the dragon Steamboat - One of the greatest wrestlers of all time Tags: ricky steamboat greatest wrestler all time word life production new quality featured artist

Richard Henry Blood (born February 28, 1953), better known by his ring name Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat, is an active (as of 2013) American professional wrestler. He is currently signed to WWE traveling around the world doing personal appearances and live event autograph sessions and does appear in the ring from time to time to promote his trademark name "Ricky The Dragon Steamboat". He is best known for his work with the American Wrestling Association (AWA), the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA), World Championship Wrestling (WCW), and the World Wrestling Federation (WWF).

In the NWA and WCW, he was a one-time NWA World Heavyweight Champion, a four-time United States Heavyweight Champion, a four-time World Television Champion, a twelve-time World Tag Team Champion (eight-time under the WCW banner, one-time (though unofficial) under the NWA banner, and three-time under the Mid-Atlantic banner), and a two-time Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Champion. In the WWF/E, Steamboat was a one-time Intercontinental Champion and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in 2009.

While little is known about Steamboat's personal life, it is a known fact that he went to high school in New York and graduated in 1971 from Boca Ciega High School in Gulfport, Florida. He was a two-time New York State Wrestling qualifier.

Early years (1976–1977)

Blood debuted in 1976 as a babyface in the American Wrestling Association (AWA). He took the name Sam Steamboat, Jr. from older Hawaiian wrestler Sam Steamboat and he also wrestled for a time under his real given name before settling on the name Ricky Steamboat (or, alternatively, Rick Steamboat), by which he would be known for the remainder of his career. He went from the AWA to Championship Wrestling from Florida and from there to Georgia Championship Wrestling.

National Wrestling Alliance / Jim Crockett Promotions (1977–1985)

In 1977, Blood, now renaming himself to Ricky Steamboat, entered the National Wrestling Alliance-sanctioned Jim Crockett Promotions (JCP) (which ran under the concurrent brand names "Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling" and "Wide World Wrestling"—later "World Wide Wrestling"—as well as airing syndicated TV programs under those respective names), where he would remain for the next eight years of his career. Steamboat, who had been brought in by JCP booker George Scott on the recommendation of Wahoo McDaniel, was initially billed as a babyface protege of Wahoo, and barely spoke above whispers in interviews. Matching him with his brash young counterpart, Ric Flair, was a natural fit. Steamboat stepped up to the plate during an interview on the syndicated Mid-Atlantic Championship Wrestling when Flair, the then-Mid-Atlantic television champion, began goading the youngster. Steamboat knocked Flair out with a backhand chop to set up a match between the two. Steamboat's star making performance came when he pinned Flair after a double thrust off the top rope to win the NWA Mid-Atlantic Television Championship at WRAL studios in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Over the next eight years in JCP, Steamboat captured the NWA United States Heavyweight Championship three times and the NWA World Tag Team Championship six times (once with Paul Jones and five times with Jay Youngblood). He also held the NWA Mid-Atlantic Heavyweight Championship singles crown twice and wore the NWA Mid-Atlantic Tag Team Championship straps four times (three times with Paul Jones, once with Jay Youngblood). He also won the NWA World Television Championship title a second time (which by that point had changed to the NWA World Television title).

Fans in the Mid-Atlantic territory to this day talk about classic Steamboat moments: the day Flair dragged his face around the television studio, causing facial scarring, and Steamboat retaliating the following week by ripping Flair's expensive suit to shreds; when longtime tag team partner Paul Jones turned heel on Steamboat at the end of a two-ring battle royal; Steamboat and Youngblood painting yellow streaks down the backs of Paul Jones and Baron Von Raschke in order to embarrass them into defending the World Tag Team titles against the two; Steamboat and Youngblood's top drawing feud with Sgt. Slaughter and Don Kernodle; Steamboat and Youngblood being turned on by their friends Jack and Jerry Brisco; Steamboat in a shocking (and surprisingly emotional) feud against former mentor Wahoo McDaniel; and his last great series in the territory, feuding with Tully Blanchard over the NWA TV title. After having creative differences with JCP booker Dusty Rhodes, Steamboat left the NWA.

In 1985, Steamboat was offered a contract by Vince McMahon and he joined the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). Shortly after his debut, Steamboat was given the gimmick of a babyface nicknamed "The Dragon"; Steamboat's jacket-and-trunks attire was replaced by a keikogi and long tights. His father was Hawaiian, and Steamboat's mother is Japanese American, hence his Asian features which were crucial for his "Dragon" gimmick. Steamboat kept the nickname and gimmick for the remainder of his career.

He made his pay-per-view debut at the inaugural WrestleMania where he defeated Matt Borne. On the September 14, 1985 edition of Championship Wrestling, Steamboat defeated Mr. Fuji but after his victory, he was attacked by Don "The Magnificent" Muraco pitting Steamboat in a feud against fellow Hawaiians Muraco and Fuji. On the November 2 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, he defeated Fuji in a Kung Fu Challenge. On the January 4, 1986 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, his intense feud with Muraco ended after he and Junkyard Dog beat Muraco and Fuji in a tag team match.

After a victory over Hercules at WrestleMania 2, Steamboat began his next feud with Jake "The Snake" Roberts. Their feud began when Roberts attacked him before their match on the May 3 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, which did not occur due to Roberts assaulting Steamboat. They battled each other in a Snake Pit match at The Big Event, which Steamboat won. Their feud finally ended on the October 4 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, when Steamboat defeated Roberts in their Snake Pit rematch. Following the match, Roberts continued to attack Steamboat and was about to place his snake Damien on him, but Steamboat took his komodo dragon out of his bag and scared Roberts from the ring.

For his match with Roberts on the May 3, 1986 (taped May 1, 1986) edition of Saturday Night's Main Event at the Providence Civic Center in Providence, Rhode Island, a spot was booked where Roberts would attack Steamboat before the match and hit him with his finisher the "DDT" on the concrete floor. Roberts was initially reluctant to do this due to his fear that Steamboat would not be able to stop his head hitting the concrete floor, which in those days was not covered with protective mats. Only after assurances by Steamboat that he would protect himself did Roberts agreed to it. Unfortunately Roberts' fears came true and Steamboat was legitimately knocked out when his forehead hit the concrete. Roberts later described the sound as like a watermelon bursting.

Intercontinental Champion and departure (1987–1988)

On the November 22, 1986 edition of Superstars, Steamboat got a shot at the Intercontinental Championship against Randy Savage. Steamboat lost the match by count-out but after the match, Savage continued to assault him and injured Steamboat's larynx (kayfabe) with the ring bell, beginning an angle between the two. On the January 3, 1987 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, Steamboat returned from his injury and prevented Savage from attacking George Steele like he had done to Steamboat six weeks prior. At WrestleMania III, Steamboat was booked to defeat Savage for the WWF Intercontinental Championship. The highly influential match was considered an instant classic by both fans and critics and was named 1987's Match of the Year by both Pro Wrestling Illustrated and the Wrestling Observer.

Several weeks after winning the Intercontinental Championship, Steamboat asked WWF owner Vince McMahon for some time off to be with his wife Bonnie, who was expecting the birth of their first son, Richard, Jr. This did not sit well with WWF management as he had been groomed to become a long-term Intercontinental Champion. The decision was made by WWF management to punish Steamboat by stripping him of the title. After a successful title defense against Hercules on the May 2 edition of Saturday Night's Main Event, he dropped the belt to The Honky Tonk Man on the June 13 edition of Superstars; his son was born a month later. Steamboat came back in time for the Survivor Series in November 1987. WWF Management was still bitter over his impromptu sabbatical from his first WWF run, however, and he was not pushed or given any meaningful feuds (Steamboat himself has implied in interviews that he was being punished for 'one-upping' the Hogan-Andre main event at WrestleMania III). After defeating Rick Rude by disqualification at 1988 Royal Rumble, Steamboat was entered into the tournament for the vacant WWF Championship at WrestleMania IV in March 1988. On WWF television prior to the match Steamboat appeared in a vignette where he stated that he hoped Randy Savage would win his first round match, thus setting up a rematch of last year's Wrestlemania match and "one more classic confrontation". However Steamboat would lose to his first round opponent Greg "The Hammer" Valentine Although television segments were shot immediately after WrestleMania IV that made it appear that The Dragon would be facing Valentine in a series of matches, Steamboat announced his retirement shortly thereafter.

Return to the NWA / World Championship Wrestling (1989)

Steamboat made his comeback to wrestling in January 1989 and returned to the NWA (specifically, NWA affiliate World Championship Wrestling) on the January 21, 1989 edition of World Championship Wrestling (it would later become the name of the promotion) as a surprise tag team partner of "Hot Stuff" Eddie Gilbert against NWA World Champion, Ric Flair and Barry Windham in a tag team match that saw Steamboat pin Flair. This earned him a shot at the title at Chi-Town Rumble where Steamboat was booked to defeat Flair in the main event for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. He was also the last NWA World Champion to defend the belt in All Japan Pro Wrestling (AJPW) in a match against Tiger Mask II. After Steamboat retained the NWA title against Flair in a controversial ending on the April 2 edition of Clash of the Champions, Flair and Steamboat would then face each other in their final rematch at the first-ever WrestleWar in May, where Steamboat dropped the title back to Flair. All three of Steamboat's matches with Flair were given 5-star ratings from Wrestling Observer Newsletter publisher Dave Meltzer.

After losing the title and with Flair now a babyface after being attacked by Terry Funk, Steamboat would remain the number one contender to the NWA World Title, a fact that irked fellow babyface U.S. Champion Lex Luger. This dispute culminated in Luger attacking Steamboat on the June 14 edition of Clash of the Champions, thus turning heel. Luger stood over the fallen Steamboat and arrogantly said, "There's your number one contender!" Steamboat then demanded a no disqualification match against Luger at The Great American Bash for the title, but just before the bell Luger demanded the clause be dropped or there would not be a match. Steamboat lost the match by disqualification after hitting Luger with a chair. However, due to a contract dispute, this would be Steamboat's last match of note in WCW in 1989.

New Japan Pro Wrestling and return to WWF (1990–1991)

 

After losing the NWA title, Ricky again ventured into semi-retirement in late 1989. In 1990, he toured with New Japan Pro Wrestling, where he faced high-profile stars like Hiroshi Hase and The Great Muta.

In 1991, Steamboat, now billed simply as The Dragon, began making a return to the WWF; he was soon promoted with a series of vignettes on various editions of Superstars which saw The Dragon breathing fire. Despite his previous success in the WWF as a one-time Intercontinental Champion, Steamboat was treated as a brand-new wrestler, save for then-commentator Randy Savage making reference to their WrestleMania III match in passing during one of his matches.

Steamboat made his WWF in-ring redebut on the March 30 edition of Superstars, defeating the Brooklyn Brawler with his signature diving crossbody. On subsequent episodes of Superstars and Wrestling Challenge, Steamboat would go on to win numerous squash matches. He would also be victorious on televised Madison Square Garden events, defeating the likes of Haku, Demolition Smash, Paul Roma, Col. Mustafa, Pat Tanaka, and the The Warlord.

Steamboat's only pay per view appearance during his second WWF tenure was at SummerSlam. Teaming with Kerry Von Erich and Davey Boy Smith against the Warlord, Hercules, and Paul Roma, Steamboat got the victory for his team by pinning Roma.

The Dragon was undefeated on television during his 1991 run and lost only one match, a house show bout against Skinner. The day after his dark match loss, Steamboat gave his notice to WWF management and then quit the company shortly thereafter. He had been booked for the Survivor Series, teaming with Jim Neidhart (who would be replaced by Sgt. Slaughter due to injury), Jim Duggan, and Kerry Von Erich against Col. Mustafa, Skinner, The Berzerker, and Big Bully Busick (who would be replaced by Hercules after Busick left the WWF), but left before the event and was replaced by Tito Santana. It is rumored that Steamboat was booked to be squashed by The Undertaker on Superstars to build Undertaker for his impending WWF Championship match against Hulk Hogan and that Steamboat chose to quit the WWF rather than lose to Undertaker. Undertaker instead squashed Kerry Von Erich on Wrestling Challenge weeks prior to Survivor Series.

Return to WCW (1991–1994)

World Tag Team Champion (1991–1992)

On the November 19 edition of Clash of the Champions, Steamboat returned to World Championship Wrestling (WCW) as the surprise tag team partner of Dustin Rhodes, substituting for an injured Barry Windham. Steamboat and Rhodes defeated the Enforcers (Arn Anderson and Larry Zbyszko) to win the World Tag Team Championship, Steamboat's first World Tag Team Title under the WCW banner.They lost the titles to Arn Anderson and his new partner Bobby Eaton at a live event in January 1992. Steamboat began feuding with the Dangerous Alliance at this point, facing them in a critically acclaimed WarGames match at WrestleWar, which received a 5-star rating from Dave Meltzer. He unsuccessfully challenged Dangerous Alliance member and United States Heavyweight Champion Rick Rude for the title at SuperBrawl II. Their rivalry culminated in a non-title Iron Man Challenge at Beach Blast, which Steamboat won.

World Television Champion (1992–1993)

On the September 2, 1992 edition of Clash of the Champions, Steamboat defeated "Stunning" Steve Austin to win his first Television Championship under the WCW banner. He lost the title to Scott Steiner at a television taping on September 29. He however, won both his first NWA World Tag Team Championship (unrecognized by NWA) and his second WCW World Tag Team Title with Shane Douglas (NWA and WCW titles were unified) on the November 18 edition of Clash of the Champions by defeating Barry Windham and Dustin Rhodes. On the March 27, 1993 edition of Power Hour, they lost the NWA and WCW titles to the Hollywood Blonds (Brian Pillman and Steve Austin). On the August 18 edition of Clash of the Champions, he defeated Paul Orndorff to win his second and final WCW World Television Championship. In September 1993, at Fall Brawl, Steamboat's TV title reign was ended when he lost to Lord Steven Regal. At Starrcade, the two fought in a rematch for the title which resulted in a time-limit draw.

United States Heavyweight Champion, retirement and departure (1994)

Heading into 1994, Steamboat engaged in one last feud over the World Heavyweight Championship with longtime rival Ric Flair, which culminated in a match at Spring Stampede where the title was briefly held up due to both men's shoulders being pinned at the same time. On the April 23 edition of Saturday Night, Flair defeated Steamboat to reclaim possession of the title. Their final singles match was on Main Event in July which ended on a disqualification when Steve Austin interfered. Steamboat and Flair's last encounter was in a tag team match on the July 31 edition of Main Event where Steamboat teamed with Sting against Ric Flair and Steve Austin.

He then feuded with US Champion "Stunning" Steve Austin and earned a US title shot at Bash at the Beach but lost. On the August 28 edition of Clash of the Champions, he got a rematch against Austin where Steamboat hurt his back, but managed to pin Austin for the United States Heavyweight Championship. However, he had to give up the belt due to the injury at Fall Brawl; he was replaced by "Hacksaw" Jim Duggan. In September 1994, Steamboat was fired by WCW President Eric Bischoff via Federal Express package (while injured), thus ending a nearly two decade relationship with the Crockett/Turner wrestling organization.

Retirement (1994–2005)

Steamboat mentored CM Punk in Ring of Honor

After an eight-year retirement, Steamboat played an important role in the genesis of Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), where he was the referee of the first Gauntlet for the Gold for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship. He was also the referee for the four-way double-elimination match to crown the first holder of the TNA X Division Championship. He has also made appearances for Ring of Honor where he refereed the first defense of the ROH Pure Wrestling Championship. In 2004, he engaged in a series of confrontations with CM Punk over Punk's arrogance in matches Steamboat refereed and then became CM Punk's inspiration to become the better person Steamboat knew he could be. The latter part of 2004 saw Steamboat feud with Mick Foley over which style of wrestling was superior, pure wrestling or hardcore wrestling. The two of them had many confrontations and managed teams to face one another, but never had a match against each other. Steamboat's last ROH appearance was at Final Battle 2004 where he and Foley finally made peace.

Return to WWE (2005–present)

In early 2005, Steamboat returned to World Wrestling Entertainment as a road agent and was introduced as a WWE Legend on the "Homecoming" edition of Raw in October 2005. In early 2006, Ricky Steamboat told WWE management that he would like to come out of retirement at WrestleMania 22 and work a match with Ric Flair, but the idea was nixed. Ricky Steamboat has been the special referee in main event matches between John Cena, Triple H, and/or Edge at WWE house shows. In 2006 at the Raw SummerSlam Tour in Sydney, Australia, he was a referee for a match between Cena and Edge for the WWE Championship. He also refereed another title match in July 2007 between John Cena and Randy Orton in Anaheim, California. On April 1, 2007, he made an appearance at WrestleMania 23 while various other legends were having a small dance party in the background. He also briefly appeared at the Vengeance: Night of Champions pay-per-view, being recognized as a former Intercontinental Champion. He made another appearance on WWE television during Ric Flair's farewell on the March 31, 2008 edition of Raw.

Hall of Fame and return to the ring

Steamboat with fellow WWE Hall of Famers Roddy Piper and Jimmy Snuka before their match against Chris Jericho at WrestleMania XXV.

He appeared on the February 23 edition of Monday Night Raw, after being named one of the members of the 2009 WWE Hall of Fame class. However, Steamboat was attacked by Chris Jericho, who began to feud with the Hall of Famers.

On the March 16 episode of Raw, he united with fellow Hall of Famers, now-babyface, Ric Flair, Roddy Piper, and Jimmy Snuka attacked Jericho. In his first match in nearly 15 years, Steamboat returned to the ring alongside Piper and Snuka to take on Jericho at WrestleMania XXV on April 5, 2009. While both Snuka and Piper were swiftly eliminated, Steamboat held his own against Jericho, performing his legendary diving crossbody and even a plancha, although Jericho would eventually go onto win the match.

On the April 6 episode of Raw, Steamboat competed in a 10-man tag team match with John Cena, Rey Mysterio, Jeff Hardy, and CM Punk defeating Edge, Big Show, Matt Hardy, Kane, and his WrestleMania XXV opponent, Chris Jericho. Steamboat's in-ring performance was so exceptional that the crowd began chanting "You've still got it!". Following the match, Cena, Hardy, Mysterio, and Punk left the ring and allowed Steamboat to take one final bow to the crowd.

Steamboat on WWE RAW on June 28, 2010 before being attacked by Nexus.

On the April 20 episode of Raw, Steamboat made a surprise appearance to thank Jericho. Jericho said Steamboat came only because he could not leave the spotlight, then challenged Steamboat to a match at Backlash, which Steamboat accepted. At Backlash, Steamboat lost after submitting to the Walls of Jericho.

On August 15, 2009, Steamboat wrestled for the World Wrestling Council in Puerto Rico where he teamed with his son Ricky Steamboat, Jr. to defeat Hiram Tua and Orlando Colón (nephew of Carlos Colón and cousin of Carlito and Eddie Colón).

On June 28, 2010, he returned to WWE Raw to promote his new DVD only to be attacked and injured by the Nexus. On WWE's website the following day, it was announced that in storyline, Steamboat suffered injuries from the attack. However, on July 1 WWE's website announced that the prior night, Steamboat felt legitimate pain in his neck and shoulders and as a result, was now legitimately hospitalized. This caused WWE to take down any storyline information related to that attack.

On October 19, it was announced that Ricky Steamboat was going to be featured in the WWE '12 video game.

On December 17, 2012, during the WWE Raw, Ricky Steamboat appeared alongside Jim Ross and Gene Okerlund to announce the winner of the Slammy Award for Match of the Year. Steamboat works for WWE as a trainer for NXT

In early 2013 a feud seemed to be in the work between Steamboat and Wade Barrett, however nothing came of the angle and it was quietly dissolved.

Steamboat and other WWE Legends appeared at WrestleMania XXX in a segment backstage.

Personal life

Steamboat is of mixed ancestry, having been born to an English father and a Japanese mother.

In 1978, while wrestling, Steamboat dabbled in bodybuilding, along with fellow wrestler Tony Atlas. He would win the Mr. North Carolina competition that year.

Steamboat has a son Richard Jr. (born July 7, 1987), who is also a professional wrestler, by his second wife Bonnie. Steamboat also has a brother, Vic Steamboat, who is a retired professional wrestler.

Music Hall of Fame - Rick James Tags: music hall fame rick james word life production new quality entertainment featured blog

Brilliant hitmaker, soulful singer, riveting performer, influential producer/impresario, pioneer in the fusion of funk groove and rock attitude - Rick James was all of these and more. Flamboyant, provocative, charismatic, volatile and always outrageous, he was a consummate artist and a bona fide star.

Though best known for unstoppable funk jams like "Super Freak" and "Give It to Me, Baby," his impact is evident not only in the chart stats, but in his artistic contributions as a composer and songwriter. James authored a fleet of irresistible tracks, from club bangers to sumptuous ballads, all delivered with passion and verve. Onstage he was a sequined dynamo and engaged the audience with energetic, theatrical, sexually charged performances, commanding the stage with ferocious authority. And while his own excess ultimately consumed him, hampering the final act of his career and claiming his life, Rick James is now remembered less for his feet of clay than for his grooves of gold.

Born James Johnson, Jr., in Buffalo, New York, he was connected to the music world at birth as the nephew of Temptations singer Melvin Franklin. In an impulsive moment, at age 15, he joined the Navy; justifiably overwhelmed, he went AWOL and took refuge in Canada. It was there that he formed his first band, a rock-soul collective called The Mynah Birds, which at one point featured Neil Young. Changing his name to Rick James, he landed a deal for the band with Motown Records - but upon returning to the U.S. was tossed in the brig for deserting his Navy training. After his release he relocated to Detroit, and though the Mynah Birds dissolved, he maintained a relationship with Motown as a staff songwriter; he developed R&B band The Main Line in England and spent much of the '70s traversing the Atlantic as he developed various projects.

1977 saw him assemble his mighty Stone City Band and step into the spotlight as a solo artist. His debut LP, "Come and Get It," released by the Motown imprint Gordy in 1978, launched the R&B smashes "You and I" (#1) and pot paean "Mary Jane" (#3). He capitalized on the popularity of the latter tune by assembling a girl group, The Mary Jane Girls, who accompanied him as a warm-up act (as did a young firebrand named Prince) during his tours for subsequent releases "Bustin' Out of L Seven" and "Fire It Up." More R&B hits ensued, notably "Bustin' Out" (#8), "Love Gun" (#13) and "Big Time" (#17). And though his barnstorming jams built his reputation, James demonstrated a mastery of silky balladry as well, showcasing the supple end of his powerful pipes.

It was with 1981's "Street Songs" that James' vision - booty-rocking bass, bulletproof horn charts, rock-tinged guitar riffs, new-wave synthesizer blasts and strutting, lascivious vocals - could at last be fully apprehended. The platinum disc's rambunctious "Give It to Me, Baby," a dance-floor hurricane that rivaled anything in the catalogues of peers like Michael Jackson, Earth, Wind & Fire and George Clinton, became a #1 R&B and #1 Dance hit and reached the Top 40, while "Fire and Desire," featuring his young prot�g� Teena Marie, proved a splendid Quiet Storm ballad and "Ghetto Life," a formative influence on the "gangsta" style that would evolve later in the decade, was instantly enshrined as an inner-city classic.

But it was the unstoppable "Super Freak" that made James a household name. The frisky funk anthem about a girl "you don't bring home to mother" shimmied up to #16 at pop, dominating the clubs and attracting a rabid mainstream audience (so much so that James played himself on the hit TV series The A-Team and performed the song in the episode). Unlike many a chart stomp, "Super Freak" never really went away - it became a pop perennial and a must for any hedonistic playlist.

Unfortunately, the hedonism that catapulted Rick James into the global limelight became his worst enemy. Success prompted him to party like a Roman emperor and to overextend himself - in addition to mounting his own lavish tours, he produced the Mary Jane Girls, worked with The Temptations and wrote and produced comedic actor Eddie Murphy's hit single, "Party All the Time." He continued to churn out plenty of his own hits during the early '80s, however, including "Cold Blooded" (#1 R&B, #17 Dance, #40 Pop), "Glow" (#1 Dance, #5 R&B), "Dance Wit' Me" (#3 R&B, #7 Dance), "Standing on the Top (Part 1)" with The Temptations (#6 R&B), "Sweet and Sexy Thing" (#4 Dance, #6 R&B), "Can't Stop" (#9 Dance, #10 R&B, #50 Pop), "Hard to Get" (#15 R&B), "U Bring the Freak Out" (#16 R&B), "Ebony Eyes" with Smokey Robinson (#22 R&B, #43 Pop) and several others. His last big hit as a solo artist was 1988's "Loosey's Rap," featuring distaff MC Roxanne Shant�, which vaulted to the top of the R&B chart.

In 1990, as rap music began to penetrate the mass market, the grandly theatrical MC Hammer scored a worldwide smash with "U Can't Touch This," a hip-hop cocktail that got its kick from a "Super Freak" sample. Rick James claimed his first and only Grammy Award as the co-author.

The rest of the decade was particularly rough for James, whose drug habit worsened precipitously; his legendarily bad behavior sparked legal difficulties and even a two-year prison stretch. He returned to the stage for a 1997 tour but suffered a stroke that sidelined him more or less for good. Even as his personal troubles captured headlines, James' work continued to shape popular music; the burgeoning hip-hop scene built countless tracks on the foundations of his songs. Among the best known artists to do so, apart from MC Hammer (who also sampled "Give It to Me, Baby" for his single "Let's Get It Started"), were Jay-Z, Jennifer Lopez, Mary J. Blige, Busta Rhymes, Dr. Dre, Coolio, Kriss Kross, EPMD, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince (aka Will Smith), Mya, DJ Quik, Keith Murray, Busta Rhymes and Afrika Bambaataa.

James began to reclaim his reputation in the 21st century, aided by the 2002 release of the sprawling two-disc set Anthology, which at last represented the range of his work to the world. He appeared on Chappelle's Show to lampoon his high-flying superstar image in 2003, turning "I'm Rick James, @!$%#!" into a ubiquitous catchphrase. His own final studio work came in the form of a reunion with Teena Marie for her 2004 album. He was at work on a new album and an autobiography when, in August of 2004, he was found dead in his home of an enlarged heart.

Constantly reaching, growing and exploring new aspects of his talent were all part of the genius of Rick James. Since he burst upon the scene in the late 70's with his unique brand of Punk Funk music, he has been an inspiration to his peers and won the acclaim of audiences and critics alike. James' left us far too soon, but his legacy continues to inspire new generations of artists to get their super freak on. - See more at: Official Website

 

 

 

Brilliant hitmaker, soulful singer, riveting performer, influential producer/impresario, pioneer in the fusion of funk groove and rock attitude - Rick James was all of these and more. Flamboyant, provocative, charismatic, volatile and always outrageous, he was a consummate artist and a bona fide star.

Though best known for unstoppable funk jams like "Super Freak" and "Give It to Me, Baby," his impact is evident not only in the chart stats, but in his artistic contributions as a composer and songwriter. James authored a fleet of irresistible tracks, from club bangers to sumptuous ballads, all delivered with passion and verve. Onstage he was a sequined dynamo and engaged the audience with energetic, theatrical, sexually charged performances, commanding the stage with ferocious authority. And while his own excess ultimately consumed him, hampering the final act of his career and claiming his life, Rick James is now remembered less for his feet of clay than for his grooves of gold.

Born James Johnson, Jr., in Buffalo, New York, he was connected to the music world at birth as the nephew of Temptations singer Melvin Franklin. In an impulsive moment, at age 15, he joined the Navy; justifiably overwhelmed, he went AWOL and took refuge in Canada. It was there that he formed his first band, a rock-soul collective called The Mynah Birds, which at one point featured Neil Young. Changing his name to Rick James, he landed a deal for the band with Motown Records - but upon returning to the U.S. was tossed in the brig for deserting his Navy training. After his release he relocated to Detroit, and though the Mynah Birds dissolved, he maintained a relationship with Motown as a staff songwriter; he developed R&B band The Main Line in England and spent much of the '70s traversing the Atlantic as he developed various projects.

1977 saw him assemble his mighty Stone City Band and step into the spotlight as a solo artist. His debut LP, "Come and Get It," released by the Motown imprint Gordy in 1978, launched the R&B smashes "You and I" (#1) and pot paean "Mary Jane" (#3). He capitalized on the popularity of the latter tune by assembling a girl group, The Mary Jane Girls, who accompanied him as a warm-up act (as did a young firebrand named Prince) during his tours for subsequent releases "Bustin' Out of L Seven" and "Fire It Up." More R&B hits ensued, notably "Bustin' Out" (#8), "Love Gun" (#13) and "Big Time" (#17). And though his barnstorming jams built his reputation, James demonstrated a mastery of silky balladry as well, showcasing the supple end of his powerful pipes.

It was with 1981's "Street Songs" that James' vision - booty-rocking bass, bulletproof horn charts, rock-tinged guitar riffs, new-wave synthesizer blasts and strutting, lascivious vocals - could at last be fully apprehended. The platinum disc's rambunctious "Give It to Me, Baby," a dance-floor hurricane that rivaled anything in the catalogues of peers like Michael Jackson, Earth, Wind & Fire and George Clinton, became a #1 R&B and #1 Dance hit and reached the Top 40, while "Fire and Desire," featuring his young prot�g� Teena Marie, proved a splendid Quiet Storm ballad and "Ghetto Life," a formative influence on the "gangsta" style that would evolve later in the decade, was instantly enshrined as an inner-city classic.

But it was the unstoppable "Super Freak" that made James a household name. The frisky funk anthem about a girl "you don't bring home to mother" shimmied up to #16 at pop, dominating the clubs and attracting a rabid mainstream audience (so much so that James played himself on the hit TV series The A-Team and performed the song in the episode). Unlike many a chart stomp, "Super Freak" never really went away - it became a pop perennial and a must for any hedonistic playlist.

Unfortunately, the hedonism that catapulted Rick James into the global limelight became his worst enemy. Success prompted him to party like a Roman emperor and to overextend himself - in addition to mounting his own lavish tours, he produced the Mary Jane Girls, worked with The Temptations and wrote and produced comedic actor Eddie Murphy's hit single, "Party All the Time." He continued to churn out plenty of his own hits during the early '80s, however, including "Cold Blooded" (#1 R&B, #17 Dance, #40 Pop), "Glow" (#1 Dance, #5 R&B), "Dance Wit' Me" (#3 R&B, #7 Dance), "Standing on the Top (Part 1)" with The Temptations (#6 R&B), "Sweet and Sexy Thing" (#4 Dance, #6 R&B), "Can't Stop" (#9 Dance, #10 R&B, #50 Pop), "Hard to Get" (#15 R&B), "U Bring the Freak Out" (#16 R&B), "Ebony Eyes" with Smokey Robinson (#22 R&B, #43 Pop) and several others. His last big hit as a solo artist was 1988's "Loosey's Rap," featuring distaff MC Roxanne Shant�, which vaulted to the top of the R&B chart.

In 1990, as rap music began to penetrate the mass market, the grandly theatrical MC Hammer scored a worldwide smash with "U Can't Touch This," a hip-hop cocktail that got its kick from a "Super Freak" sample. Rick James claimed his first and only Grammy Award as the co-author.

The rest of the decade was particularly rough for James, whose drug habit worsened precipitously; his legendarily bad behavior sparked legal difficulties and even a two-year prison stretch. He returned to the stage for a 1997 tour but suffered a stroke that sidelined him more or less for good. Even as his personal troubles captured headlines, James' work continued to shape popular music; the burgeoning hip-hop scene built countless tracks on the foundations of his songs. Among the best known artists to do so, apart from MC Hammer (who also sampled "Give It to Me, Baby" for his single "Let's Get It Started"), were Jay-Z, Jennifer Lopez, Mary J. Blige, Busta Rhymes, Dr. Dre, Coolio, Kriss Kross, EPMD, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince (aka Will Smith), Mya, DJ Quik, Keith Murray, Busta Rhymes and Afrika Bambaataa.

James began to reclaim his reputation in the 21st century, aided by the 2002 release of the sprawling two-disc set Anthology, which at last represented the range of his work to the world. He appeared on Chappelle's Show to lampoon his high-flying superstar image in 2003, turning "I'm Rick James, bitch!" into a ubiquitous catchphrase. His own final studio work came in the form of a reunion with Teena Marie for her 2004 album. He was at work on a new album and an autobiography when, in August of 2004, he was found dead in his home of an enlarged heart.

Constantly reaching, growing and exploring new aspects of his talent were all part of the genius of Rick James. Since he burst upon the scene in the late 70's with his unique brand of Punk Funk music, he has been an inspiration to his peers and won the acclaim of audiences and critics alike. James' left us far too soon, but his legacy continues to inspire new generations of artists to get their super freak on. - See more at: http://www.rickjames.com/bio.php#sthash.52G3KLKF.dpuf

Brilliant hitmaker, soulful singer, riveting performer, influential producer/impresario, pioneer in the fusion of funk groove and rock attitude - Rick James was all of these and more. Flamboyant, provocative, charismatic, volatile and always outrageous, he was a consummate artist and a bona fide star.

Though best known for unstoppable funk jams like "Super Freak" and "Give It to Me, Baby," his impact is evident not only in the chart stats, but in his artistic contributions as a composer and songwriter. James authored a fleet of irresistible tracks, from club bangers to sumptuous ballads, all delivered with passion and verve. Onstage he was a sequined dynamo and engaged the audience with energetic, theatrical, sexually charged performances, commanding the stage with ferocious authority. And while his own excess ultimately consumed him, hampering the final act of his career and claiming his life, Rick James is now remembered less for his feet of clay than for his grooves of gold.

Born James Johnson, Jr., in Buffalo, New York, he was connected to the music world at birth as the nephew of Temptations singer Melvin Franklin. In an impulsive moment, at age 15, he joined the Navy; justifiably overwhelmed, he went AWOL and took refuge in Canada. It was there that he formed his first band, a rock-soul collective called The Mynah Birds, which at one point featured Neil Young. Changing his name to Rick James, he landed a deal for the band with Motown Records - but upon returning to the U.S. was tossed in the brig for deserting his Navy training. After his release he relocated to Detroit, and though the Mynah Birds dissolved, he maintained a relationship with Motown as a staff songwriter; he developed R&B band The Main Line in England and spent much of the '70s traversing the Atlantic as he developed various projects.

1977 saw him assemble his mighty Stone City Band and step into the spotlight as a solo artist. His debut LP, "Come and Get It," released by the Motown imprint Gordy in 1978, launched the R&B smashes "You and I" (#1) and pot paean "Mary Jane" (#3). He capitalized on the popularity of the latter tune by assembling a girl group, The Mary Jane Girls, who accompanied him as a warm-up act (as did a young firebrand named Prince) during his tours for subsequent releases "Bustin' Out of L Seven" and "Fire It Up." More R&B hits ensued, notably "Bustin' Out" (#8), "Love Gun" (#13) and "Big Time" (#17). And though his barnstorming jams built his reputation, James demonstrated a mastery of silky balladry as well, showcasing the supple end of his powerful pipes.

It was with 1981's "Street Songs" that James' vision - booty-rocking bass, bulletproof horn charts, rock-tinged guitar riffs, new-wave synthesizer blasts and strutting, lascivious vocals - could at last be fully apprehended. The platinum disc's rambunctious "Give It to Me, Baby," a dance-floor hurricane that rivaled anything in the catalogues of peers like Michael Jackson, Earth, Wind & Fire and George Clinton, became a #1 R&B and #1 Dance hit and reached the Top 40, while "Fire and Desire," featuring his young prot�g� Teena Marie, proved a splendid Quiet Storm ballad and "Ghetto Life," a formative influence on the "gangsta" style that would evolve later in the decade, was instantly enshrined as an inner-city classic.

But it was the unstoppable "Super Freak" that made James a household name. The frisky funk anthem about a girl "you don't bring home to mother" shimmied up to #16 at pop, dominating the clubs and attracting a rabid mainstream audience (so much so that James played himself on the hit TV series The A-Team and performed the song in the episode). Unlike many a chart stomp, "Super Freak" never really went away - it became a pop perennial and a must for any hedonistic playlist.

Unfortunately, the hedonism that catapulted Rick James into the global limelight became his worst enemy. Success prompted him to party like a Roman emperor and to overextend himself - in addition to mounting his own lavish tours, he produced the Mary Jane Girls, worked with The Temptations and wrote and produced comedic actor Eddie Murphy's hit single, "Party All the Time." He continued to churn out plenty of his own hits during the early '80s, however, including "Cold Blooded" (#1 R&B, #17 Dance, #40 Pop), "Glow" (#1 Dance, #5 R&B), "Dance Wit' Me" (#3 R&B, #7 Dance), "Standing on the Top (Part 1)" with The Temptations (#6 R&B), "Sweet and Sexy Thing" (#4 Dance, #6 R&B), "Can't Stop" (#9 Dance, #10 R&B, #50 Pop), "Hard to Get" (#15 R&B), "U Bring the Freak Out" (#16 R&B), "Ebony Eyes" with Smokey Robinson (#22 R&B, #43 Pop) and several others. His last big hit as a solo artist was 1988's "Loosey's Rap," featuring distaff MC Roxanne Shant�, which vaulted to the top of the R&B chart.

In 1990, as rap music began to penetrate the mass market, the grandly theatrical MC Hammer scored a worldwide smash with "U Can't Touch This," a hip-hop cocktail that got its kick from a "Super Freak" sample. Rick James claimed his first and only Grammy Award as the co-author.

The rest of the decade was particularly rough for James, whose drug habit worsened precipitously; his legendarily bad behavior sparked legal difficulties and even a two-year prison stretch. He returned to the stage for a 1997 tour but suffered a stroke that sidelined him more or less for good. Even as his personal troubles captured headlines, James' work continued to shape popular music; the burgeoning hip-hop scene built countless tracks on the foundations of his songs. Among the best known artists to do so, apart from MC Hammer (who also sampled "Give It to Me, Baby" for his single "Let's Get It Started"), were Jay-Z, Jennifer Lopez, Mary J. Blige, Busta Rhymes, Dr. Dre, Coolio, Kriss Kross, EPMD, DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince (aka Will Smith), Mya, DJ Quik, Keith Murray, Busta Rhymes and Afrika Bambaataa.

James began to reclaim his reputation in the 21st century, aided by the 2002 release of the sprawling two-disc set Anthology, which at last represented the range of his work to the world. He appeared on Chappelle's Show to lampoon his high-flying superstar image in 2003, turning "I'm Rick James, bitch!" into a ubiquitous catchphrase. His own final studio work came in the form of a reunion with Teena Marie for her 2004 album. He was at work on a new album and an autobiography when, in August of 2004, he was found dead in his home of an enlarged heart.

Constantly reaching, growing and exploring new aspects of his talent were all part of the genius of Rick James. Since he burst upon the scene in the late 70's with his unique brand of Punk Funk music, he has been an inspiration to his peers and won the acclaim of audiences and critics alike. James' left us far too soon, but his legacy continues to inspire new generations of artists to get their super freak on. - See more at: http://www.rickjames.com/bio.php#sthash.52G3KLKF.dpuf
 
Dirty Dancing - Classic Movies and Television Tags: dirty dancing patrick swayze jenifer grey word life production new quality entertainment featured blog

Dirty Dancing is a 1987 American romantic drama film. Written by Eleanor Bergstein and directed by Emile Ardolino, the film stars Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey in the lead roles, as well as Cynthia Rhodes and Jerry Orbach. The story is a coming of age drama that documents a teenage girl's coming of age through a relationship with a dance instructor whom she encounters during her family's summer vacation.

Originally a low-budget film by a new studio, Great American Films Limited Partnership, and with no major stars (except Broadway legend Jerry Orbach in a supporting role), Dirty Dancing became a massive box office hit. As of 2009, it had earned over $214 million worldwide. It was the first film to sell more than a million copies on home video, and the Dirty Dancing soundtrack created by Jimmy Ienner generated two multi-platinum albums and multiple singles, including "(I've Had) The Time of My Life", which won both the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Original Song, and a Grammy Award for best duet. The film spawned a 2004 reboot, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, as well as a stage version which has had sellout performances in Australia, Europe, and North America, with plans to open on Broadway.[citation needed]

On August 8, 2011, a Dirty Dancing remake was announced with Kenny Ortega, who choreographed the original film, as the director. However, on June 8, 2012, Lionsgate announced they are postponing the reboot. Citing casting reasons, the remake release was put off until 2014 at the earliest; it had been scheduled to be released in July 2013

It's the summer of 1963, and 17-year-old Frances "Baby" Houseman (Grey) is vacationing with her affluent Jewish family at Kellerman's, a resort in the Catskill Mountains. Baby is planning to attend Mount Holyoke College to study the economics of underdeveloped countries and then enter the Peace Corps. She was named after Frances Perkins, the first woman in the U.S. Cabinet. Her father, Dr. Jake Houseman (Orbach), is the personal physician of Max Kellerman (Jack Weston), the resort's owner.

During her stay, Baby meets—and develops a crush on—the resort's dance instructor Johnny Castle (Swayze), who is also the leader of the resort's working-class entertainment staff. While walking around on the resort grounds, Baby encounters Billy (Johnny's cousin), and when Baby helps Billy carry watermelons to the staff's quarters, she observes their secret after-hours party and the "dirty dancing" (i.e., the rock'n'roll) involved. She becomes intrigued by the sexy dancing and receives a brief, impromptu lesson from Johnny. Later, Baby discovers that Johnny's regular dance partner, Penny Johnson (Rhodes), is pregnant by Robbie Gould (Max Cantor), a womanizing waiter who dates (and cheats on) Baby's sister Lisa. Baby learns that Robbie plans to do nothing about the pregnancy (as he says, "Some people count, some people don't"), so Baby secures the money from her father to pay for Penny's illegal abortion. Jake agrees to give the money to Baby despite her secrecy regarding what it will be used for, because of the trust Jake has always held in her. In her efforts to help, Baby also becomes Penny's substitute dancer for an important performance at the Sheldrake, a nearby resort where Johnny and Penny perform annually. The upcoming show requires Johnny to teach Baby the routine in time.

As Johnny teaches Baby to dance, tempers flare and a romance begins to develop. Their performance at the Sheldrake goes reasonably well, though Baby is too nervous to accomplish the dance's climactic lift.

When they return to Kellerman's, they learn that Penny's backstreet abortion was botched, leaving her in agonizing pain. Baby brings her father to help Penny, but when he asks, "Who is responsible for her?" he misinterprets Johnny's reply to mean Johnny had impregnated her. For that reason, after the treatment (successful), Jake forbids Baby to associate with Johnny or his friends. Jake is furious at Baby for lying to him and betraying his trust. Baby, however, defies him and sneaks out to visit Johnny in his room later that same night, where they dance intimately and have sex.

An iconic scene from the dancing finale

Johnny and Baby's relationship is eventually revealed after Johnny is accused of stealing a wallet from one of the resort guests and is unable to provide a verifiable alibi. To save Johnny from being fired, Baby confesses that Johnny could not have been responsible, as she was with him in his cabin that night. Johnny is cleared of the theft; however, Max still fires Johnny for violating the ban on having affairs with guests. Baby's selfless act inspires Johnny to realize, "there are people willing to stand up for other people no matter what it costs them."

At the final talent show of the season, Jake gives Robbie a check to help defray the costs of medical school. Robbie then willingly confesses to getting Penny pregnant and insults her in the process, leading Jake to angrily snatch the envelope back clearly disgusted with his snobby and careless attitude. Also, to everyone's surprise, although Johnny's been fired and left the premises, he returns to the resort to perform the final dance of the season with Baby. Criticizing the Housemans for their choice of Baby's seat at the table, Johnny declares the now-famous line, "Nobody puts Baby in a corner," as he pulls her up from their table. He leads her onstage, interrupting the show which is already in progress. After Johnny makes a brief speech about how "Frances" has made him a better man, he and Baby dazzle the audience with a stunning dance performance to the song "(I've Had) The Time of My Life", which ends with Baby doing the lift successfully for the first time.

After the dance, Jake apologizes to Johnny and admits that he was wrong to assume Johnny had gotten Penny "in trouble". Jake also praises Baby for her dancing. The film ends as the dance sequence continues and the room is transformed into a nightclub, where everyone (staff and guests) dances together.

Source: Wikipedia

A Moment in History - Frederick Douglass
Category: Black Men Rock!
Tags: black men rock frederick douglass word life production new quality entertainment

Frederick Douglass stood at the podium, trembling with nervousness. Before him sat abolitionists who had travelled to the Massachusetts island of Nantucket. Only 23 years old at the time, Douglass overcame his nervousness and gave a stirring, eloquent speech about his life as a slave. Douglass would continue to give speeches for the rest of his life and would become a leading spokesperson for the abolition of slavery and for racial equality.

The son of a slave woman and an unknown white man, "Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey" was born in February of 1818 on Maryland's eastern shore. He spent his early years with his grandparents and with an aunt, seeing his mother only four or five times before her death when he was seven. (All Douglass knew of his father was that he was white.) During this time he was exposed to the degradations of slavery, witnessing firsthand brutal whippings and spending much time cold and hungry. When he was eight he was sent to Baltimore to live with a ship carpenter named Hugh Auld. There he learned to read and first heard the words abolition and abolitionists. "Going to live at Baltimore," Douglass would later say, "laid the foundation, and opened the gateway, to all my subsequent prosperity."

Douglass spent seven relatively comfortable years in Baltimore before being sent back to the country, where he was hired out to a farm run by a notoriously brutal "slavebreaker" named Edward Covey. And the treatment he received was indeed brutal. Whipped daily and barely fed, Douglass was "broken in body, soul, and spirit."

On January 1, 1836, Douglass made a resolution that he would be free by the end of the year. He planned an escape. But early in April he was jailed after his plan was discovered. Two years later, while living in Baltimore and working at a shipyard, Douglass would finally realize his dream: he fled the city on September 3, 1838. Travelling by train, then steamboat, then train, he arrived in New York City the following day. Several weeks later he had settled in New Bedford, Massachusetts, living with his newlywed bride (whom he met in Baltimore and married in New York) under his new name, Frederick Douglass.

Always striving to educate himself, Douglass continued his reading. He joined various organizations in New Bedford, including a black church. He attended Abolitionists' meetings. He subscribed to William Lloyd Garrison's weekly journal, the Liberator. In 1841, he saw Garrison speak at the Bristol Anti-Slavery Society's annual meeting. Douglass was inspired by the speaker, later stating, "no face and form ever impressed me with such sentiments [the hatred of slavery] as did those of William Lloyd Garrison." Garrison, too, was impressed with Douglass, mentioning him in the Liberator. Several days later Douglass gave his speech at the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society's annual convention in Nantucket-- the speech described at the top of this page. Of the speech, one correspondent reported, "Flinty hearts were pierced, and cold ones melted by his eloquence." Before leaving the island, Douglass was asked to become a lecturer for the Society for three years. It was the launch of a career that would continue throughout Douglass' long life.

Despite apprehensions that the information might endanger his freedom, Douglass published his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, Written By Himself. The year was 1845. Three years later, after a speaking tour of England, Ireland, and Scotland, Douglass published the first issue of the North Star, a four-page weekly, out of Rochester, New York.

Ever since he first met Garrison in 1841, the white abolitionist leader had been Douglass' mentor. But the views of Garrison and Douglass ultimately diverged. Garrison represented the radical end of the abolitionist spectrum. He denounced churches, political parties, even voting. He believed in the dissolution (break up) of the Union. He also believed that the U.S. Constitution was a pro-slavery document. After his tour of Europe and the establishment of his paper, Douglass' views began to change; he was becoming more of an independent thinker, more pragmatic. In 1851 Douglass announced at a meeting in Syracuse, New York, that he did not assume the Constitution was a pro-slavery document, and that it could even "be wielded in behalf of emancipation," especially where the federal government had exclusive jurisdiction. Douglass also did not advocate the dissolution of the Union, since it would isolate slaves in the South. This led to a bitter dispute between Garrison and Douglass that, despite the efforts of others such as Harriet Beecher Stowe to reconcile the two, would last into the Civil War.

Frederick Douglass would continue his active involvement to better the lives of African Americans. He conferred with Abraham Lincoln during the Civil War and recruited northern blacks for the Union Army. After the War he fought for the rights of women and African Americans alike.

Source: PBS

The greatest falsetto and sweet smile, Eddie Kendrick will always be remembered Tags: Eddie Kendrick honor those we've lost word life production feature blog

Known for both his years with the Temptations and his major solo hits of the 1970s, Eddie Kendricks was among the many soul legends who did his part to put Motown Records on the map. The expressive vocalist (who often sang in a falsetto) grew up in Birmingham, AL, but it was Motown's original home of Detroit that made him a star. Kendricks was still living in Alabama in the late '50s, when he formed the Primes with Kell Osborne and Temptation-to-be Paul Williams. After moving from Alabama to Detroit, the Primes caught the attention of a Motor City group known as the Distants (whose members included Tempations-to-be Otis Williams, Elbridge Bryant, and Melvin Franklin). the Primes broke up after being together only a few years, and the Temptations (originally known as the Elgins) were formed when, in 1961, members of the Primes and the Distants came together. With a lineup that included former Primes Kendricks and Paul Williams and former Distants Otis Williams (who was unrelated to Paul), Melvin Franklin, and Elbridge Bryant, the Temptations signed with the little-known Motown subsidiary Miracle. the Temptations (who went through many personnel changes over the years) didn't become successful right away, but by the mid-'60s, they had become huge thanks to such smashes as "The Way You Do the Things You Do" and "My Girl."

Sun City: Artists United Against Apartheid

the Temptations enjoyed one mega-hit after another in the mid-to-late '60s, and they were still tremendously popular when Kendricks left to pursue a solo a career in 1971 (the year he sang lead on their hit "Just My Imagination"). Many Temptations fans questioned the wisdom of Kendricks leaving such a successful group, but Kendricks proved to be quite viable as a solo act thanks to early-'70s singles like "Keep on Truckin'" (a number one R&B hit) and "Boogie Down" (which went to number two on the soul charts). Other noteworthy solo hits followed, including "Shoeshine Boy," "Get the Cream Off the Top," and "Happy" in 1975 and "He's a Friend" in 1976. Most of his solo albums came out on Motown, although Kendricks recorded Something More for Arista in 1979 and Love Keys for Atlantic in 1981. By that time, Kendricks' popularity had decreased considerably. The singer wasn't heard from that much in the 1980s, but he did participate in the Artists United Against Apartheid's Sun City project in 1985 and recorded with another former Temptation, David Ruffin, as a duo for RCA in 1988.

Sadly, the 1990s would see the premature deaths of no less than three former members of the Temptations. First, Ruffin died of a cocaine overdose in 1991, followed by the deaths of Kendricks in 1992 and Melvin Franklin (from a brain seizure) in 1995. (Tragedy was nothing new to Temptations members, for Paul Williams had committed suicide back in 1973). Kendricks was only 52 when he died of lung cancer in his native Birmingham on October 5, 1992.

Source: All Music: http://www.allmusic.com/artist/eddie-kendricks-mn0000170211/biography

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