Little Richard "rock 'n' roll pioneer" dies aged 87

Little Richard "rock 'n' roll pioneer" dies aged 87

Richard Penniman (December 5, 1932 – May 9, 2020), better known as Little Richard, who combined the sacred shouts of the black church and the profane sounds of the blues to create some of the world’s first and most influential rock ’n’ roll records, died on Saturday morning. He was 87. His death was confirmed by his son, Danny Jones Penniman. He did not say where his father died or specify a cause. Little Richard did not invent rock ’n’ roll. Other musicians had already been mining a similar vein by the time he recorded his first hit, “Tutti Frutti” — a raucous song about sex, its lyrics cleaned up but its meaning hard to miss — in a New Orleans recording studio in September 1955. Chuck Berry and Fats Domino had reached the pop Top 10, Bo Diddley had topped the rhythm-and-blues charts, and Elvis Presley had been making records for a year.

Little Richard's hits included Good Golly Miss Molly an other well-known songs like Lucille, Tutti Frutti, which sold more than a million records, and Long Tall Sally - later recorded by The Beatles. The singer, who was born in Georgia as Richard Wayne Penniman, was among the first group of inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.

Little Richard was an influential figure in popular music, Richard's most celebrated work dates from the mid-1950s, when his dynamic music and charismatic showmanship laid the foundation for rock and roll, leading him to be given the nickname "The Innovator, The Originator, and The Architect of Rock and Roll".

Characterized by his frenetic piano playing and raspy singing voice, Richard's music also played a key role in the formation of other popular music genres, including soul and funk. He influenced numerous singers and musicians across musical genres from rock to hip hop, and his music helped shape rhythm and blues for generations to come.