Peter Benjaminson's most recent book, "SUPER FREAK: THE LIFE OF RICK JAMES" will be released by Chicago Review Press in March, 2017.
Peter's immediately previous book, "MARY WELLS: THE TUMULTUOUS LIFE OF MOTOWN'S FIRST SUPERSTAR," was released in paperback in November, 2016. It was initially published in hardcover in 2012.
RICK JAMES played with Neil Young, produced his first album (later picked up by Motown) with money from shady sources, spent years as a session musician in the UK, crossed rock and funk to come up with one of the best-selling albums of the 1980s, became one of the biggest pop stars of the era, turned a young white woman named Teena Marie into an R&B superstar, displayed an outrageously sex- and drug-filled lifestyle, was tried and found guilty of assaulting and imprisoning a young woman, went on to record new music that was compared to the Beatles’ White Album, and ended his life as a punch line for Dave Chappelle.
Rick attempted to tell his own story—in two different books—but left out many incidents that reflected badly on his character. Now, based on court records, newspaper archives, and extensive interviews with dozens of family members, band members, friends, and lovers, here is the definitive biography of Motown’s most controversial superstar.
Peter's bio of Rick was the fourth book Peter has written about the Motown Record Company, following "The Story of Motown,"(Grove Press, 1979), the first book ever published in U.S. about Motown, and "The Lost Supreme: The Life of Dreamgirl Florence Ballard" (Chicago Review Press/Lawrence Hill Books, 2008), a bio of the founding member of the legendary Motown group The Supremes, and the Mary Wells bio.
Born in Washington, D.C., Peter was a reporter and City-County Bureau Chief for the Detroit Free Press from 1970-76.
While at the Free Press, he wrote the book "Investigative Reporting," with Dave Anderson (Indiana University Press, 1976 and Iowa State University Press, 1990), the first how-to book in that field. It was in print for 20 years.
In 1979 he wrote "The Story of Motown," and from 1979 to 1981 he was a reporter for the Atlanta Journal and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He taught journalism at Binghamton University, New York University, and Columbia University from 1981-91.
In 1984, he wrote "Death in the Afternoon: America's Newspaper Giants Struggle for Survival" (Andrews, McMeel), the first and only book about the death of afternoon newspapers in America's big cities.
In 1992, he wrote "Publish Without Perishing" (National Education Association and National Writers Union); and in 1997, he wrote "Secret Police" (New York: Barricade Books).
From 1991-1994 he was the spokesman for the NYC Department of Investigation. He was Assistant Editor of the Chief Leader Newspaper in New York City from 1994-1998 and the spokesman for the NYC Correction Officers Benevolent Association from 1998-2003. In 2003 and 2009 he was the spokesman for Members for Change in NYC Teamsters Local 237.