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Little Richard

One of the original rock & roll greats, Little Richard merged the fire of gospel with New Orleans R&B, pounding the piano and wailing with gleeful abandon. While numerous other R&B greats of the early '50s had been moving in a similar direction, none of them matched the sheer electricity of Richard's vocals. With his bullet-speed deliveries, ecstatic trills, and the overjoyed force of personality in his singing, he was crucial in upping the voltage from high-powered R&B into the similar, yet different, guise of rock & roll. Although he was only a hitmaker for a couple of years or so, his influence upon both the soul and British Invasion stars of the 1960s was vast, and his early hits remain core classics of the rock repertoire.

Heavily steeped in gospel music while growing up in Georgia, when Little Richard began recording in the early '50s he played unexceptional jump blues/R&B that owed a lot to his early inspirations Billy Wright and Roy Brown. In 1955, at Lloyd Price's suggestion, Richard sent a demo tape to Specialty Records, who were impressed enough to sign him and arrange a session for him in New Orleans. That session, however, didn't get off the ground until Richard began fooling around with a slightly obscene ditty during a break. With slightly cleaned-up lyrics, "Tutti Frutti" was the record that gave birth to Little Richard as he is now known -- the gleeful "woo!"s, the furious piano playing, the sax-driven, pedal-to-the-metal rhythm section. It was also his first hit, although, ridiculous as it now seems, Pat Boone's cover version outdid Richard's on the hit parade.

Boone would also try to cover Richard's next hit, "Long Tall Sally," but by that time it was evident that audiences black and white much preferred the real deal. In 1956 and 1957, Richard reeled off a string of classic hits -- "Long Tall Sally," "Slippin' and "Slidin'," "Jenny, Jenny," "Keep a Knockin'," "Good Golly, Miss Molly," "The Girl Can't Help It" -- that remain the foundation of his fame. While Richard's inimitable mania was the key to his best records, he also owed a lot of his success to the gutsy playing of ace New Orleans session players like Lee Allen (tenor sax), Alvin Tyler (baritone sax), and especially Earl Palmer (drummer), who usually accompanied the singer in both New Orleans and Los Angeles studios. Richard's unforgettable appearances in early rock & roll movies, especially The Girl Can't Help It, also did a lot to spread the rock & roll gospel to the masses.

Richard was at the height of his commercial and artistic powers when he suddenly quit the business during an Australian tour in late 1957, enrolling in a Bible college in Alabama shortly after returning to the States. Richard had actually been feeling the call of religion for a while before his announcement, but it was nonetheless a shock to both his fans and the music industry. Specialty drew on unreleased sessions for a few more hard-rocking singles in the late '50s, but Richard virtually vanished from the public eye for a few years. When he did return to recording, it was as a gospel singer, cutting a few little-heard sacred sides for End, Mercury, and Atlantic in the early '60s.

By 1962, though, Richard had returned to rock & roll, touring Britain to an enthusiastic reception. Among the groups that supported him on those jaunts were the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, whose vocals (Paul McCartney's especially) took a lot of inspiration from Richard's. In 1964, the Beatles cut a knockout version of "Long Tall Sally," with McCartney on lead, that may have even outdone the original. It's been speculated that the success of the Beatles, and other British Invaders who idolized Richard, finally prompted the singer into making a full-scale comeback as an unapologetic rock & roller. Hooking up with Specialty once again, he had a small hit in 1964 with "Bama Lama Bama Loo." These and other sides were respectable efforts in the mold of his classic '50s sides, but tastes had changed too much for Richard to climb the charts again. He spent the rest of the '60s in a continual unsuccessful comeback, recording for Vee-Jay (accompanied on some sides by Jimi Hendrix, who was briefly in Richard's band), OKeh, and Modern (for whom he even tried recording in Memphis with Stax session musicians).

It was the rock & roll revival of the late '60s and early '70s, though, that really saved Richard's career, enabling him to play on the nostalgia circuit with great success (though he had a small hit, "Freedom Blues," in 1970). He had always been a flamboyant performer, brandishing a six-inch pompadour and mascara, and constant entertaining appearances on television talk shows seemed to ensure his continuing success as a living legend. Yet by the late '70s, he'd returned to the church again. Somewhat predictably, he eased back into rock and show business by the mid-'80s. Since then, he's maintained his profile with a role in Down and Out in Beverly Hills (the movie's soundtrack also returned him to the charts, this time with "Great Gosh a-Mighty") and guest appearances on soundtracks, compilations, and children's rock records. At this point it's safe to assume that he never will get that much-hungered-for comeback hit, but he remains one of rock & roll's most colorful icons, still capable of turning on the charm and charisma in his infrequent appearances in the limelight. ~ Richie Unterberger
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Playlist: The Best Of the Reprise Years

1. Born on the Bayou

2. Green Power

3. Burning up with Love

4. Money Is

5. Dancing in the Street

6. It Ain't What You Do, It's the Way How You Do It

7. California (I'm Comin')

8. Nuki Suki

9. Southern Child

10. Shake a Hand (If You Can)

11. Greenwood, Mississippi

12. Prophet of Peace

13. I Git a Little Lonely

14. Freedom Blues

15. I'm so Lonesome I Could Cry

16. Spreadin' Natta What's the Matter

17. If I Pick Her too Hard (She Comes Out of Tune)

18. Second Line

19. Over Yonder

20. Joy to the World

x

Track List: Kansas City

1. Shake A Hand

2. Chicken Little Baby

3. All Night Long

4. The Most I Can Offer

5. Lonesome And Blue

6. Wonderin'

7. She Knows How To Rock

8. Kansas City/Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey

9. Directly From My Heart

10. Maybe I'm Right

11. Early One Morning

12. I'm Just A Lonely Guy

13. Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On

x

Track List: The Second Coming

1. Mockingbird Sally

2. Second Line

3. It Ain't What You Do, It's The Way How You Do It

4. The Saints

5. Nuki Suki

6. Rockin' Rockin' Boogie

7. Prophet Of Peace

8. Thomasine

9. Sanctified, Satisfied Toe-Tapper

x

Track List: The Rill Thing

1. Freedom Blues

2. Greenwood, Mississippi

3. Two-Time Loser

4. Dew Drop Inn

5. Somebody Saw You

6. Spreadin' Natta What's the Matter

7. The "Rill" Thing

8. Lovesick Blues

9. I Saw Her Standing There

x

Track List: Send Me Some Lovin'

1. Tutti Frutti

2. Long Tall Sally

3. Slippin' and Slidin'

4. Rip It Up

5. She's Got It

6. The Girl Can't Help It

7. Lucille

8. Send Me Some Lovin'

9. Jenny, Jenny

10. Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

x

Track List: Very Best Of Little Richard

1. Tutti Frutti

2. Long Tall Sally

3. Good Golly Miss Molly

5. Rip It Up

6. Ready Teddy

7. Heeby-Jeebies

8. She's Got It

9. The Girl Can't Help It

10. All Around The World

11. Lucille

12. Send Me Some Lovin'

13. Jenny Jenny

14. Miss Ann

15. Keep A-Knockin'

16. Ooh! My Soul

17. True Fine Mama

18. Baby Face

19. Medley: Kansas City/ Hey Hey Hey Hey

20. By The Light Of The Silvery Moon

21. Bama Lama Bama Loo

x

Track List: Rhino Hi-Five: Little Richard

1. King Of Rock And Roll

2. Midnight Special

3. I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry

4. Born On The Bayou

5. Brown Sugar

x

Track List: 20 Greatest Hits

1. Long Tall Sally

2. Lucille

3. Send Me Some Lovin'

4. Rip It Up

5. Can't Believe You Wanna Leave

6. Tutti-Frutti

7. Jenny, Jenny

8. By The Light Of The Silvery Moon

9. Good Golly, Miss Molly

10. All Around The World

11. True, Fine Mama

12. Ready Teddy

13. Miss Ann

14. Slippin' And Slidin'

15. Keep A Knockin'

16. She's Got It

17. Ooh! My Soul

18. Bama Lama Bama Loo

19. Baby Face

20. Girl Can't Help It

x

Track List: The King Of Rock 'N' Roll

1. Long Tall Sally

2. Lucille

3. Keep A Knockin'

4. Jenny, Jenny

5. Tutti Frutti

6. Rip It Up (Live)

7. The Girl Can't Help It

8. Good Golly Miss Molly

9. Baby Face

10. Cherry Red

11. Groovy Little Suzy

12. Money Honey

13. Send Me Some Lovin'

14. Hound Dog

x

Track List: Get Down With It!: The OKeh Sessions

1. I Don't Want To Discuss It

2. Land Of A Thousand Dances

3. The Commandments Of Love

5. Poor Dog (Who Can't Wag His Own Tail)

6. I Need Love

7. Never Gonna Let You Go

9. Function At The Junction

10. Well All Right

11. Hurry Sundown

12. A Little Bit Of Something (Beats A Whole Lot Of Nothing)

13. Golden Arrow

14. Rocking Chair

15. Get Down With It

16. Rose Mary

17. Hound Dog

x

Track List: You Keep A Knockin'

1. Rip It Up

2. Lucille

3. Jenny, Jenny

4. Money Honey

5. Hound Dog

6. Good Golly Miss Molly

7. Groovy Little Suzy

8. Cherry Red

9. Long Tall Sally

11. I'm Trampin'

12. Keep A Knockin'

13. Slippin' And Slidin'

14. Baby Face

15. Without Love

16. Talkin' 'Bout Soul

17. Ready Teddy

18. Ooh! My Soul

x

Track List: Tutti Frutti

1. She's Got It

2. Tutti-Frutti

3. Goodnight Irene

4. Lucille

5. Money Honey

6. Hound Dog

7. Blueberry Hill

9. Long Tall Sally

10. Good Golly Miss Molly

x

Track List: Little Richard: Essentials

1. Good Golly Miss Molly

2. Tutti-Frutti

3. Long Tall Sally

4. The Girl Can't Help It

5. She's Got It

6. Lucille

7. Jenny, Jenny

8. I Don't Know What You've Got But It's Got Me

9. Blueberry Hill

10. Baby Face

12. Groovy Little Suzy

13. Cherry Red

14. Talkin' 'Bout Soul

15. Only You

16. Goodnight Irene

17. Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

18. Money Honey

19. Hound Dog

20. Without Love

x

Track List: Peacock Gospel Classics - God Is Real

1. Every Time I Feel The Spirit

2. Does Jesus Care

3. Coming Home

4. God Is Real Yes, God Is Real

5. I'm Trampin'

6. Milky White Way

7. Just A Closer Walk With Thee

8. Precious Lord, Take My Hand

9. I Want Jesus To Walk With Me

10. Jesus Walked This Lonesome Valley

x

Track List: The Best Of Little Richard

2. Long Tall Sally

5. Ready Teddy

6. Keep A Knockin'

7. Jenny, Jenny

8. Lucille

9. Good Golly Miss Molly

10. Ooh! My Soul

x

Track List: The Preacher King Of Rock'n' Roll

1. Long Tall Sally

2. Lucille

3. Keep A Knockin'

4. Jenny Jenny

5. Tutti Frutti

6. Rip It Up

7. The Girl Can't Help It

8. Good Golly Miss Molly

9. Baby Face

10. Cherry Red

11. Groovy Little Suzy

12. Money Honey

13. Without Love

14. Talkin' 'Bout Soul

15. Send Me Some Lovin'

16. Hound Dog

x

Track List: Little Richard Sings The Gospel

1. Just A Closer Walk With Thee

2. Search Me Lord

3. Need Him

4. Does Jesus Care

5. Coming Home

6. I Want Jesus To Walk With Me

7. Every Time I Feel The Spirit

8. God Is Real

9. Jesus Walked This Lonesome Valley

10. Precious Lord, Take My Hand

x

Track List: The Georgia Peach

1. Tutti Frutti

2. Baby

3. I'm Just A Lonely Guy

4. True Fine Mama

5. Kansas City/Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey

6. Slippin' And Slidin' (Peepin' And Hidin')

8. Miss Ann

9. Oh Why?

10. Ready Teddy

11. Hey-Hey-Hey-Hey

13. Lucille

14. Heeby-Jeebies

15. Can't Believe You Wanna Leave

16. Shake A Hand

17. All Around The World

18. She's Got It

19. Jenny, Jenny

20. Good Golly Miss Molly

21. The Girl Can't Help It

22. Send Me Some Lovin'

23. Ooh! My Soul

24. Keep A Knockin'

25. Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

x

Track List: Lifetime Friend

1. Great Gosh A'Mighty

2. Operator

3. Somebody's Comin'

4. Lifetime Friend

5. Destruction

6. I Found My Way

7. The World Can't Do Me

8. One Ray Of Sunshine

9. Someone Cares

10. Big House Reunion

x

Track List: Little Richard Live!

x

Track List: King Of Rock And Roll

1. King Of Rock And Roll

2. Joy To The World

3. Brown Sugar

4. In The Name

5. Dancing in the Street

6. Midnight Special

7. The Way You Do The Things You Do

8. Green Power

9. I'm so Lonesome I Could Cry

10. Settin' The Woods On Fire

11. Born on the Bayou

x

Track List: Good Golly Miss Molly

1. The Girl Can't Help It

2. Long Tall Sally

3. Lucille

5. Slippin' And Slidin'

6. Tutti Frutti

7. Good Golly Miss Molly

x

Track List: Little Richard Is Back (And There's A Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On!)

1. A Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

2. Going Home Tomorrow

3. Money Honey

4. Only You

5. Hound Dog

6. Goodnight Irene

7. Lawdy Miss Claudie

8. Groovy Little Suzy

9. Short Fat Fanny

10. Cherry Red

11. Memories Are Made Of This

12. Blueberry Hill

13. It Ain't What You Do

14. I Don't Know What You Got

x

Track List: Here's Little Richard (Remastered & Expanded)

1. Tutti Frutti

2. True, Fine Mama

3. Can't Believe You Wanna Leave

4. Ready Teddy

5. Baby

6. Slippin’ And Slidin’ (Peepin’ And Hidin’)

8. Miss Ann

9. Oh Why?

10. Rip It Up

11. Jenny, Jenny

12. She's Got It

15. Interview With Specialty Records Founder Art Rupe

x

Track List: Here's Little Richard

1. Tutti Frutti

2. True, Fine Mama

3. Can't Believe You Wanna Leave

4. Ready Teddy

5. Baby

6. Slippin' And Slidin' (Peepin' And Hidin')

7. Long Tall Sally

8. Miss Ann

9. Oh Why?

10. Rip It Up

11. Jenny Jenny

12. She's Got It

Comments

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Risk &Roll
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Don't read this. This is supposed to be a secret. Shoot, you are reading this. Well now that you are reading this, if you ignore it you will have very bad luck. Say ninja 3 times, cat 2 times, shout go ninjas go, then post this on 10 other songs or artists. In a week or 2 you will meet a friend.
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The real King of Rock and Roll and never ever another like LR to be seen again.
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Good Golly Miss Molly sure like to ball oh yes
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I love you Little Richard!
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Having some fun tonight
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Slipping and sliding wowwwwwwwwww w
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david_e_cohe n
A true titan of Rock and Roll.
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That is for Chuck Berry.
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Look likes he bleeding. ��
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what a geat time in life
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That is weird. ������
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Don't read this. You will be kissed on the nearest possible Friday By the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. Now you started reading this don't stop this is so freaky. But if you read this and ignore it then you will have very bad luck. Put this on 15 songs in 143 minutes. When you are done press the space bar and your crushes name will appear in big letters on this screen. This is so freaky it actually works
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I love little Richard song treated fruit so much is awesome.
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Danced until I passed out.
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Gotta love his music...beca u s e it is ....real
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catherinef11
Little Richard
Play more
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jenny jenny jenny, won't you come along with me, waahhhhhh
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Awesome Jam by the great one, Little Richard This song kicks a**! Long Tall Sally. Little Richard was such a kick a** Entertainer, he totally rocked a**! Rock on!
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Xf z no bs vb xjyou're married and I dad die love you
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"
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Richard Leon Peddiman, was, is, and always will be thee cornerstone of rock n roll. Timeless is the desire of the heart to express and carry out the dreams that we all share.
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I only wish I could hear that New Orleans session band backing Lil Richard today live somewhere... s u c h hot licks!!
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Is it weird that as a kid i learned of Little Richard's music because of the movie Predator? How's that for random?!
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Got a girl name of daisy almost drives me crazy
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billiot.vond a
Thanks to my dad for turning me on to little Richard it's only natural that I appreciate oldies because I like history
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Elvis got rich because he was a White guy that sounded Black.
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Little Richard is the originator of pure Rock and Roll.
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Ready to rock n roll
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I play Little Richard because my DOG likes to sing along with him - very funny!
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Don't read this because it actually works. You will be kissed on the nearest Friday by the love of your life. However if you don't post this you will be injured(but won't die) in two days now you started reading this so don't stop. Post this on at least five other songs in the next 143 minutes when your done press f6 and your lovers name will appear on the screen with big letter this is so scary because it actually works
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he was just greatest.
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Ya long tall sally
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Long tall sally
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I like that kind of the music
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love it
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SO
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lch44666
Nm. Mm
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Eeh I like chuck berry better and I'm 12!
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Little Richard and Chuck Berry the best of this genre
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Little Richard is a one of a kind person that made rock and roll what it is today but still don't get his props from the music industry but I know that the world know that MR Little Richard is truly the king of rock and roll and he know this to but he is more humble than people realize thank you MR Little Richard for all the happiness you have given to me and the world and other rock stars that want to be like you
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Oh
Hell
Yeah
Rock
On
Word
Good
Song
By
Little
Richard
Wooo.
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mimi.bourgoi n
The last farewell
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The inventor of crunk music
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As Little Richard once said..I am not the king of RR, I am the Queen of RR........
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The REAL KING OF ROCK N ROLL. Elvis was a tool to help whites discover RnR. Nothing more than a puppet
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Remembering when my cousins had great parties and wouldn't let us in. Had to hide in the bushes to hear those good oldies!!!!!!
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Before the day i met you life was so unkind..
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Now we cooking wit greese..move it now..
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Lucille..... . . . G r e a t dance music.....no n e better, love the sax man too........
Show more

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