Robert Greenberg

Historian, Composer, Pianist, Speaker, Author

Archive for Little Richard

Music History Monday: Little Richard: The King and Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll

We mark the death on May 9, 2020 – just two years ago today – of the American musician, singer, and songwriter Richard Wayne Penniman, known universally by his stage name of “Little Richard.” Born on December 5, 1932, in Macon, Georgia, he died at his home in Tullahoma, Tennessee two years ago today from bone cancer.  He was 87 years old. As a founding inductee to the Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, the following statement was read aloud: “He claims to be ‘the architect of rock and roll’, and history would seem to bear out Little Richard’s boast. More than any other performer—save, perhaps, Elvis Presley – Little Richard blew the lid off the Fifties, laying the foundation for rock and roll with his explosive music and charismatic persona. On record, he made spine-tingling rock and roll. His frantically charged piano playing and raspy, shouted vocals on such classics as Tutti Frutti, Long Tall Sally, and Good Golly, Miss Molly defined the dynamic sound of rock and roll.” Along with Chuck Berry, Fats Domino, Ike Turner, and Bo Diddley, Little Richard was one of that handful of Black American musicians who synthesized blues, rhythm and blues […]

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