Born Richard Wayne Penniman and known as the founding father of Rock and Roll, this pioneering pianist and singer was famous for hits like, Tutti Fruitti, Good Golly Miss Molly and Long Tall Sally.
Named, “Little” Richard for his diminutive frame he came from a highly religious family, with his first exposure to live music being gospel songs and charismatic music sung in church.
After first debuting on stage at the tender age of 14 he quickly found success and left home to pursue a musical career. His energetic live performances and charismatic showmanship soon made him famous around the world. During this time, he recorded his signature hits Tutti Frutti and Long Tall Sally both of which broke into the Billboard top 10.
But like many artistes he was conflicted about his success and saw the rock and roll world as being sinful. Despite achieving fame, fortune and mega stardom he was unhappy, and according to a later interview he said that it just didn’t feel right to him anymore.
He soon converted back to Christianity and enrolled to study theology, got married and travelled across America preaching the gospel. During this time, he also released several gospel albums including King of the Gospel Singers. After several years of singing gospel songs, he went back to secular music and performed at record breaking concerts on both sides of the Atlantic.
Ultimately Little Richard will be remembered for his innovative emotive vocalizations and uptempo rhythmic style, and also for laying the ground worked needed for many other styles of music including soul, funk and R n’ B. Little Richard blazed a trail for generations of musicians to follow and influenced artists in a wide variety of genres including rock and hip hop, and for that he will always be a legend.