Today, we lost an R&B legend—the one and only Little Richard.
The stylish singer, songwriter, and piano-pounding entertainer knew how to take a party to the next level. His vocal range slid from a low rumble to a high trill of a “Woo!” like it was nothing. Little Richard rocked, and he knew it, calling himself “The Architect of Rock and Roll.”
Life wasn’t always a party for the star. Richard Wayne Penniman was born in the race divided state of Georgia. He was raised in a large family of 12 children during the Great Depression, and due to his effeminate nature, was kicked out of his home at the age of 15.
Despite being a teetotaler when his first hit, “Tutti Frutti,” crossed the barrier into white music, Little Richard’s years of public battles could have shamed his name. Problems with drugs, alcohol, voyeurism, and homosexual arrests speckle the star’s past. Instead, the man rose like a phoenix. He became widely adored and will live on in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
To toast an 87-year life that challenged the boundaries of race, gender norms, hairstyles, sex, and sounds throughout America’s tight Eisenhower years of the 1950s, shout a “Wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-lop-bam-boom!”
Come on, kick off those shoes and arrive like Tom Cruise into the living room:
Slippin’ and a Slidin’
Keep a Knockin’
Finally, twirl your girl, play that air sax or those piano ivories, and play:
Long Tall Sally – Tutti Fruiti
During this pandemic, we all could use a jolt of his jump and jivin’ sound. Take a hit, and pass it around.
“And I’d like to give my love to everybody, and let them know that the grass may look greener on the other side, but believe me, it’s just as hard to cut.” ~ Little Richard
“It’s not the size of the ship; it’s the size of the waves.” ~ Little Richard
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