James' Death Drug Related

Funk legend's autopsy reveals traces of nine drugs

September 17, 2004 12:00 AM ET
Toxicology tests revealed traces of drugs in funk legend Rick James' system.

The fifty-six-year-old artist's August 6th death by heart attack was initially attributed to "natural causes" by the family, but the Los Angeles County coroner has concluded that a combination of nine drugs likely contributed to James' death. The substances discovered include cocaine, methamphetamine, painkiller Vicodin, and anti-depressants Xanax and Wellbutrin.

James, the funk artist best known for his 1981 hit "Super Freak," had struggled with a crack addiction for years, leading to two years in a California prison for assault in 1993. Before his death, James had claimed to have been sober since his release.

To read the new issue of Rolling Stone online, plus the entire RS archive: Click Here

Music Main Next
Daily Newsletter

Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
marketing partners.


We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

Song Stories

“Road to Nowhere”

Talking Heads | 1985

A cappella harmonies give way to an a fuller arrangement blending pop and electro-disco on "Road to Nowhere," but the theme remains constant: We're on an eternal journey to an undefined destination. The song vaulted back into the news a quarter century after it was a hit when Gov. Charlie Crist used it in his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for the U.S. Senate in Florida. "It's this little ditty about how there's no order and no plan and no scheme to life and death and it doesn't mean anything, but it's all right," Byrne said with a chuckle.

More Song Stories entries »