Little Richard

Hello:  Today we look at the musical career of Richard Penniman or as the world of pop music knows him Little Richard.  He was born on December 5, 1932 in Macon, Georgia.  Little Richard recorded for the RCA Victor label in 1951 but didn’t chart any hit records until 1956 on the Specialty Records label.

In January of 56′ he hit the Billboard Top 100 for the first time with Tutti-Frutti, a #17 hit and followed that with another hit record, Long Tall Sally, reaching #6.  What is interesting about his music is that other big named artists of the day were making cover versions of his music.  Pat Boone took Tutti-Frutti to #12 and Long Tall Sally to #8 on the Top 100.  Elvis Presley recorded Long Tall Sally, Reddy Teddy and Rip It Up in the 50’s.  Little Richards music was in demand.

1957 would see him place 6 hit records on the charts.  The Girl Can’t Help It, #49 hit record was the title song from the movie starring Jane Mansfield.  Two months later the classic Lucille climbed up to #21.  There was still more to come before the year ended, Jenny, Jenny would move up the charts to #10 and Keep A Knockin’, from the movie Mr. Rock & Roll starring DJ Alan Freed, would make the top ten at #8.

In 1958 Little Richard would put Good Golly Miss Molly at #10 on the Top 100 and place 3 more hits on the Billboard Charts.  After 1959 he would not hit the Top 40 again until 1970 with a tune recorded on the Reprise Records label, Freedom Blues (#47) and in 1986 with a song from the movie Down And Out In Beverly Hills, Great Gosh A’ Mighty (#42).

In 1961 Little Richard became an ordained minister.  He left Rock & Roll and R & B for gospel music between 1959-62.  He is truly one of pioneers of early Rock & Roll.  The fact that so many other artists have recorded his music is a tribute to his staying power.  In his career he has placed 27 songs on the Billboard singles charts to date.  In 1993 he won a Grammy for Lifetime Achievement and was elected to the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1986.

On his records you can feel the power of his music and his stage shows were a jolt of pure energy.  I still enjoy putting on those hits of Little Richard and listen to one of the true giants of Rock & Roll.

Here are a few more of his hits: Slippin’ And Slidin’-1956, Ready Teddy-1956, Miss Ann-1957, Baby Face-1958, All Around The World-1956, True Fine Mama-1958.  I’m happy to say that his original recordings are available on CD.  If you are looking for a large selection of oldies music go to Collectables Music or Amazon.Com.

Till the next time—Joe


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