Little Richard: Give Our Legends Their Flowers.

Birth name: Richard Wayne Penniman

Born: December 5, 1932

Died: May 9, 2020

Genres: Rock and roll ∙ rhythm and blues ∙ gospel ∙ soul

Years active: 1947-2020

Labels: RCA Victor ∙Peacock ∙ Specialty ∙ End ∙ Ronnex ∙ London ∙Goldisc ∙Little Star ∙ Mercury ∙ Atlantic ∙ Vee-Jay ∙ Modern ∙ Okeh ∙ Brunswick ∙ Reprise ∙ K-Tel∙ Warner Bros. ∙ Disney  

Richard Wayne Penniman was a whole legend. Known to the world as Little Richard, Penniman was an influential figure in the world of popular music. Little Richard was “The Innovator,” “The Originator” and The Architect of Rock and Roll.”

His death shocked me completely because he was the legend I truly thought would live forever. How can you summarize the greatness that was Little Richard? I will try my best to pay him the homage he deserves.

In my opinion, I agree that Little Richard did not get the recognition he deserved while he was living. He will today! Little Richard is black excellence, and we shall celebrate him everyday. He laid down the foundation for every subsequent music genre after his generation, and that’s period.

One of my favorite samples of Little Richard’s songs is on Fergie’s “Clumsy.” She samples Richard’s “The Girl Can’t Help It.” Mama ATE!!

The 50s:

Albums released: Here’s Little Richard, Little Richard, The Fabulous Little Richard.

In the 40s, Sister Rosetta Tharpe heard Richard sing before concert and later invited him on stage with her to sing. She was one of Richard’s biggest inspirations in regards to becoming an entertainer.

He went on to join his first musical band, Buster Brown’s Orchestra, where Brown give him his stage name. Eventually he signed with RCA Victor, recording a series of singles for the label. His first single and hit in Georgia was “Every Hour.”

He left the label after a year since his songs did not become hits. He eventually secured a deal with Specialty Records, releasing his first major hit record in October of 1955.

Tutti Frutti was one of the songs that changed the world and was the birth of Rock & Roll. It showcased many of Rock music’s musical features like loud volume, powerful vocal style and beat and rhythm. It was his first top two record. He secured his first number one with Long Tall Sally, and had success with more songs like Good Golly Miss Molly, The Girl Can’t Help It, Lucille, Keep A-Knockin and many more.

The 60s:

Albums released: Pray Along with Little Richard (Vol. 1 & 2,) The King of the Gospel Singers, Little Richard Is Back (And There’s A Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,) The Wild and Frantic Little Richard, The Explosive Little Richard.

Richard left secular music and ventured into gospel music, being one of the best vocalists for gospel at the time. Even gospel legend Mahalia Jackson stated that he “sang gospel the way it should be sung.”

Richard eventually returned back to secular music, and it was like he never left.

The 70s:

Albums released: The Rill Thing, Mr. Big, The King of Rock and Roll, Friends from the Beginning- Little Richard and Jimi Hendrix, Southern Child, The Second Coming, Right Now, Little Richard Live, God’s Beautiful City.

Richard released albums throughout the 70s, but quit rock and roll again and returned to gospel.

The 80s:

Albums released: Lifetime Friend

Richard made a comeback in the 80s and released some amazing music.

The 90s:

Albums released: Little Richard Meets Masayoshi Takanaka

My favorite moments from Richard in the 90s was his appearance in the Frankie Lymon biopic “Why Does Fools Fall In Love,” and on the television series Martin.

The 00s:

Albums released: N/A

Richard’s life was dramatized in the biographical film “Little Richard.” He was portrayed by actor Leon.

The 10s:

Albums released: N/A

Little Richard passed away May 9th, 2020. His impeccable legacy lives on because of how he changed the world of music. I hope he knew how much he was appreciated for his contributions to music. He was truly a historic figure who laid the foundation for R&B for the generations after him, and he needs to be truly thanked period.

Little Richard’s music has been sampled and covered by so many iconic musicians and proves that good music will always be appreciated by the people who gets it. Rest peacefully Little Richard. Thank you.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s