Little Richard, one of the most prominent figures of rock and roll creation and evolution, died at the age of 87. His son confirmed the news to Rolling Stone but said that the reason for his death was unknown. Richard, whose actual name was Richard Penniman, was born in December 1932, in Macon, Georgia.
The flamboyant music icon, who achieved popularity in the 1950s, was a self-described rock ‘n’ roll “architect.”.
Richard’s career started in the late 1940s but his early recordings with the RCA Victor label achieved little success. He rose to fame in 1955, when he signed up with Specialty Records.
In the late 1950s, with songs like “Tutti Frutti,” “Good Golly Miss Molly,” “Rip It Up,” and “Long Tall Sally” turning out as hits, Little Richard’s music soon became associated with his flamboyant piano playing, provocative words, and androgynous stage presence. He would continue to alternate between a career as a rock and gospel singer in the following years, influencing an extraordinarily high number of musicians such as The Rolling Stones, Elton John, The Beatles, and Prince.
Little Richard was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. He was also awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys in 1993. In an interview with the Rolling Stones in 1990, when asked whether he felt he had created rock ‘n’ roll, Little Richard answered that he was the “architect.”. “I really feel from the bottom of my heart that I am the inventor. If there was somebody else, I didn’t know, didn’t hear them, haven’t heard them. Not even to this day. So I say I’m the architect.”
The stage persona of Little Richard – pompadours, androgynous makeup, and glass-bead shirts – often set the benchmark for rock and roll flamboyance; a style adopted by many others, Prince prominent among them.
Band member Kelvin Holly said on Instagram: “Rest in quiet, Richard. This is absolutely stinging. My thoughts and prayers go out all over the world, to all my bandmates and fans. The true King was Richard! ”. The former Beatles drummer, Ringo Starr, tweeted: “God bless Little Richard, one of my all-time musical heroes.”
Rest in Peace Legend!
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