I signed to Motown Records in January 1976. One day I was sitting in Stevie Wonder's office, playing his piano, and a young bohemian-looking man came strolling down the hallway. His hair was half braided under his Jimi Hendrix hat. He wore blue jeans, a muslin shirt, platform sandals, and had a plethora of turquoise and silver adorning his hands and neck. I could feel his kindness. He stood in the doorway for a long while, listening to me sing. At that moment, Rick and I became best friends and musical soulmates.
I was in total awe of Rick. He was a brilliant songwriter, a gifted musician, and a true spokesman for our generation. His soul sang of passion and peace, joy and pain, politics and deep spirituality. There was so much more to him than ''Super Freak.'' Listen to ''Ghetto Life'' and feel the streets you grew up on. Dance to the beat of ''Cold Blooded'' and realize how ahead of his time he was. He poured his life into a cup and shared it with the whole world. (James died of heart failure in Los Angeles.)