Little Richard

Little Richard

Little Richard, Founding Father of Rock and singer behind “Tutti Frutti,” “Good Golly Miss Molly” and “Long Tall Sally”

Born December 5, 1932, Little was one of 12 children and began playing piano professionally at 14 years old after the legendary Sister Rosetta Tharpe heard him singing her music outside of one of her shows and paid him. Soon after, he joined a traveling music show would also reportedly perform in minstrel shows, the circus and would often be in drag, which was unheard of for the time. By 1952, Little Richard released a handful of singles. However, he wouldn’t have a hit until 1955 with "Tutti Frutti” from his debut album Here's Little Richard. Famously and bizarrely, Pat Boone recorded a watered down version in 1956, which would become a huge hit and attempt to wash away Little Richard original version. This was a prime example of what many artists experienced at the time from Big Mama Thornton to Ike Turner. Despite his influence in music and chart-topping hits, Little Richard never won a competitive Grammy or American Music Award. But in 1986 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the first class of inductees. By 1993, Little Richard was finally awarded with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys. Little Richard’s last known recording was 2010’s "He Ain't Never Done Me Nothing But Good,” which was for a  tribute album to gospel singer Dottie Rambo. Little Richard, who was born as Richard Wayne Penniman in Macon, Georgia, passed away May 9.

 

Nonetheless, Little Richard would never be ignored and made sure the world knew who he was -- the founding father of rock and roll who would become known for the phrase, “They never gave me nothing.”

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