Rock and roll singer Little Richard, RIP


This music video from the USA is called Little Richard – “Long Tall Sally” – from “Don’t Knock The Rock” – HQ 1956.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Rock and roll legend Little Richard (87) passed away

US American singer Little Richard passed away at the age of 87. His son has confirmed this to the American music magazine Rolling Stone. The cause of death is unknown.

Little Richard is considered one of the most important founders of rock ‘n’ roll. He is often mentioned in the same breath with greats like Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly.

In the mid-fifties, he had great success with songs like Tutti Frutti, Long Tall Sally, Lucille and Good Golly Miss Molly. …

With his exciting way of singing and performances with many show elements, he left his own mark on rock and roll. He influenced many other musicians, including Prince, Michael Jackson and The Beatles. …

Religion

Richard Penniman grew up in a very religious family. His father was a clergyman, and his mother was also very active in the church. At home he was called Little Richard because he was small and thin. Later he chose this nickname as the stage name.

At a young age he sang in the church choir and learned to play the piano. He was influenced musically by gospel singers like Joe May, Rosetta Tharpe and Marion Williams. When Tharpe heard him sing two of her songs before a concert, she was so impressed that she invited him to the stage. Since then, Little Richard wanted nothing more than to be on stage. …

In 1955 he released Tutti Frutti, which was an immediate success in both the United States and Great Britain. The successor Long Tall Sally (1956) did even better. With that he reached the first place in the US R&B list. Millions of copies of both singles were sold.

In three years he scored 18 hits …

Obscene lyrics

The surprise was great when he announced at a concert in Sydney in 1957 that he was quitting to become a preacher. He made that decision based on some ‘omens’, such as a red fireball that he had seen flying through the sky during the Sydney concert. He saw that as a warning from God to do penance for making music with obscene lyrics and his rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. Later, the red fireball turned out to come from the launch of the Sputnik 1 satellite.

Back in the US, he went on to study theology and then travelled the country as a preacher. He also recorded gospel songs again. …

In 1962 he was persuaded by his tour manager to perform again in Europe. The newly started band The Beatles played as a support act several times and he gave Paul McCartney vocal advice. …

Homosexuality

In 1995 he told in an interview that he was gay. A sensitive subject for the deeply religious singer. He was married once, but that marriage didn’t last long. He had no children of his own. However, he did adopt a baby through his church, Danny Jones, who often acted as his bodyguard when he got older.

He continued to perform in the new millennium, although it became physically more difficult because he had problems with his leg and hip.

In 2012, Rolling Stone magazine wrote of his concert in Washington, D.C. “still full of fire, still a master showman, his voice still loaded with deep gospel and raunchy power.”

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