Sunday, October 24, 2021

In His Book, Rick James Reveals How Marvin Gaye Once Set Him Up

Confessions of A Super Freak cover

*In Rick James’ 2007 book, “Confessions of Rick James: Memoirs of a Super Freak,” the punk-funk singer, musician, and performer talks about Marvin Gaye, his one-time Motown label mate and how he set James up.

It seems one day at Motown’s Recording Studio, Marvin and Rick were talking.  Marvin asked Rick if he had gotten his bonus for his (Rick’s) record going platinum.  Marvin told Rick that Motown always pays out a bonus when the artists’ records hit platinum.

Rick said he hadn’t gotten a bonus.  Rick became pissed about being overlooked.

“The next day I got up early and went to Motown,” Rick writes.  “I was mad.  I went into Suzanne de Passe’s office and screamed, “Where is my bonus?”

She told Rick that he needed to talk with Berry Gordy about any bonus, to which Rick replied,

“I tried calling Berry but he was nowhere to be found.”

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Rick James & Marvin Gaye
Photo by © 1979 Bobby Holland / mptvimag – © 1979 Bobby Holland – Image courtesy mptvimages.com

Rick said he later learned that Marvin Gaye loved to start sh*t between the label and its artists.  While Motown did sometimes give bonuses to platinum-selling artists, it wasn’t automatic and Marvin knew it.

Rick said Berry Gordy did end up giving him some extra money, but the founder of Motown Records made it clear that in the future he should come straight to him if he (Rick) had any problems.

“Marvin was just trying to rile me up and cause trouble,” Rick writes.  “He knew I had a crazy nature and he knew that I would run straight to Motown and raise hell.  Marvin was always like that…a crazy motherf*cker, but I loved him to death.”

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