Rest in Peace Little Richard, Rock and Roll Pioneer: 1932-2020

Rock Cellar Magazine StaffCategories:Latest News

Rock Cellar Magazine

Little Richard, undeniably one of the most important figures in the history of rock and roll music, has died at the age of 87, it was reported by Rolling Stone on Saturday.

Danny Jones Penniman, the son of Little Richard (real name: Richard Wayne Penniman) confirmed his father’s passing, though no official cause of death has been revealed.

There’s no sugarcoating it: There would not be “rock and roll” as we know it were it not for the contributions and influence of Little Richard. His influence on the music to come helped Richard earn the nicknames “The Innovator, The Originator” and “The Architect of Rock and Roll,” the result of the work he did after breaking out of Macon, Georgia in his youth.

“Tutti Frutti,” released in 1955, was Little Richard’s musical introduction to the world, and became his first significant hit.

How important was “Tutti Frutti”? In 2007, a panel of experts with Mojo Magazine ranked it No. 1 on its The Top 100 Records That Changed the World list, beating out the Beatles, Bob Dylan, Elvis Presley and all the other names you’d expect to see on such a list.

“Long Tall Sally” was another inescapable hit by Little Richard in 1956, reaching No. 1 on the Billboard charts and, eventually, notching No. 55 on Rolling Stone’s list of The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.

As Rolling Stone summed up, the Beatles were among the many who dug “Long Tall Sally,” indicative of how Richard’s songs became rock and roll staples:

Although he never hit the top 10 again after 1958, Little Richard’s influence was massive. The Beatles recorded several of his songs, including “Long Tall Sally,” and Paul McCartney’s singing on those tracks – and the Beatles’ own “I’m Down” – paid tribute to Little Richard’s shredded-throat style. His songs became part of the rock and roll canon, covered over the decades by everyone from the Everly Brothers, the Kinks, and Creedence Clearwater Revival to Elvis Costello and the Scorpions.

Prince, too, found himself inspired by Little Richard, again summed up by Rolling Stone:

Little Richard’s stage persona – his pompadours, androgynous makeup and glass-bead shirts – also set the standard for rock and roll showmanship; Prince, to cite one obvious example, owed a sizable debt to the musician. “Prince is the Little Richard of his generation,” Richard told Joan Rivers in 1989 before looking at the camera and addressing Prince. “I was wearing purple before you was wearing it!”






Little Richard was a pioneer, an unforgettable part of music and cultural history.

May he rest in peace.


  • Craig Martin says:

    And at long last, the Architect joins the universe’s Greatest Rock and Roll Band… Rock on, Little Richard, and Thank you for your creation.

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