Bermuda Post

Tuesday, Sep 29, 2020

Rock'n'roll pioneer Little Richard dies

The self-styled "king and queen of rock 'n' roll" - who inspired Elvis and The Beatles - dies at 87.
Pioneering rock 'n' roll singer Little Richard has died at the age of 87, his son Danny Penniman has told Rolling Stone.

The magazine quoted him as saying his father's cause of death was unknown.

Little Richard's hits included Good Golly Miss Molly, which originally made the UK charts in 1958.

The singer, who was born in Georgia as Richard Wayne Penniman, was among the first group of inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

His other well-known songs include Tutti Frutti, which sold more than a million records, and Long Tall Sally - later recorded by The Beatles.

The star, who was known for his exuberant performances, shrieks, raspy voice and flamboyant outfits, had his biggest hits in the 1950s.

Paying tribute after news of his death emerged, Chic co-founder Nile Rodgers said it was "the loss of a true giant."

Little Richard was one of 12 children, and said he had started singing because he wanted to stand out from his siblings.

"I was the biggest head of all, and I still have the biggest head," he told BBC Radio 4 in 1998.

"I did what I did, because I wanted attention. When I started banging on the piano and screaming and singing, I got attention."

An all-round force of nature

An electric performer, a flamboyant persona, a shrieking vocalist, an all-round force of nature - popular music hadn't seen the like of Little Richard before he emerged from New Orleans in the mid-1950s.

If there had been no Little Richard, a key part of DNA would have been missing from acts like The Beatles, Bob Dylan, David Bowie and Jimi Hendrix - all of whom idolised him.

With the likes of Chuck Berry and Elvis, he was one of the handful of US acts who concocted the primordial soup of blues, R&B and gospel that led to the evolution of rock 'n' roll in the 60s.

Standing at his piano with his bouffant hair and letting rip with full-throated voice on songs like Tutti Frutti, Long Tall Sally, Lucille and Good Golly Miss Molly, he was a gust of fresh air after a strait-laced post-war age.
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