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A long long time ago in a kingdom far away, Peter wrote The Story of Motown, the first book about that magnificently successful record company ever published in this country. Grove Press released it in 1979. And now, with Motown gearing up to celebrate its 60th, yes, its 60th Anniversary, Peter has revised that book, which Barney Rosset published in another universe, and Rare Bird Books will release it in paperback and audio formats on November 13. 

Celebrity Radio Host Loves Super Freak!

Chicago Radio Host Jeffrey T can't stop reading "Super Freak" whatever happens around him.


Rick James played with Neil Young, self-produced his first album (later picked up by Motown), 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.


James attempted to tell his own story—in two different books—but left out many incidents that showed who he really was. 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.

The book is available in hardcover and kindle format on and at your local bookstore.


See reviews on "Super Freak" Page on this site.

Author Bio

Peter's latest book, the new and revised edition of his 1979 book THE STORY OF MOTOWN, will be released by Rare Bird Books on September 18, 2018. His previous book, SUPER FREAK: THE LIFE OF RICK JAMES, was released by Chicago Review Press in 2017. His book MARY WELLS: THE TUMULTUOUS LIFE OF MOTOWN'S FIRST SUPERSTAR, the first biography of Mary "My Guy" Wells ever written, was released in 2012, and his book THE LOST SUPREME: THE LIFE OF DREAMGIRL FLORENCE BALLARD was released in 2008.


Benjaminson was born in Washington, D.C. and 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 David 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 (New York: Grove Press), the first U.S. book ever written about the Motown Record Company. 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 ever written 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, SECRET POLICE: INSIDE THE NEW YORK CITY DEPARTMENT OF INVESTIGATION (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.


He lives in New York City.