Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Little Richard was the rock pioneer and his hits remain classic

Little Richard, the self-proclaimed “architect of rock’s roll,” died just over a year ago, back on May 9, 2020. I recently re-revisited his story by reading great obituaries in Classic Rock Magazine and Mojo Magazine, and here are some of the things to know about LR:

  • Tutti Fruity, Good Golly Miss Molly, Lucille, Rip It Up, Keep A Knockin’, and Send Me Some Lovin’ are absolutely must-own party rockers for anyone’s collection.
  • Tutti Frutti’s original lyrics were “Tutti fruity/good booty/If it’s tight, it’s alright/if it’s greasy, makes it easy,” which were a visually too racy and had to be changed.
  • His real name was Richard Wayne Penniman.
  • All the biggest stars covered his songs, and Elvis even declared, in 1969, that Little Richard was the greatest.
  • He always felt more like a girl and was picked on heavily for it throughout his childhood.
  • His route to superstardom was routed through the carnival circuit, where he performed in drag, even still wearing a velvet gown when he later started performing with his new stage name of Little Richard.
  • His famous thin moustache was actually drawn on with pencil to cover a scar on his lip.
  • He always said he taught Paul McCartney everything he knew. Long Tall Sally was the first song young Paul ever sang in public, and, of course, Richard taught him Paul’s patented “wooooooo.”
  • Some scary incidents at the height of his career while touring Australia with Gene Vincent caused him to retire prematurely and focus on God and gospel music.
  • He was eventually swayed back to rock and twice played with The Beatles opening for him.
  • He presided over the marriages of Cindi Lauper and also Stevie Van Zandt.
  • When Jeff Tweedy met him after his show, LR said, “Wasn’t I wonderful?”


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