RIP Little Richard: 1932-2020

The world of music just lost another Icon in Little Richard. Little Richard was one of the pillars of Rock n’ Roll. Unlike the many packaged and manufactured Teen idols of the day, Richard was real and authentic.

Uncompromising in his art and who he was, Little Richard blazed a trail that would influence other Rock/Pop signers like, Paul McCartney, who openly admits to Richard being an influence, David Bowie, Elton John, Boy George, and Glam rock. He also influenced Prince, Michael Jackson and Sylvester. Jimi Hendrix, Billy Preston and James Brown played in his various bands over the years among others.

Little Richard artfully blended Blues, Gospel, and stretched the vocabulary if not adding to the lexicon but creating of Rock n’ Roll.

Born Richard Penniman in the early 1930’s he was the 3rd born to a family of 12 children.

His family was committed in serving to Church with several family members performing in several Gospel ensembles.

Richard was fascinated and later inspired to perform after performing on stage with Gospel singer and Guitarist, Sister Rosetta Thorpe and the preaching of Brother Joe May, The Singing Evangelist”.

After the on-stage performance with Thorpe, she paid him. It was the most money he’d made.

He originally started playing the Saxophone, but later switched to Piano.

By the time he was seventeen, Richard was in conflict with his Father over his personality and behavior. Richard was Gay and his Father could not deal with his effeminacy. He was given an ultimatum and he wouldn’t comply. Continue reading