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iOldies Music Store Home > Artist Biographies > Little Richard

Little Richard

Artists - Little Richard

Picture of Artists - Little Richard

Artist Biographies: The Little Richard Story

Little Richard is a musical artist who was born in 1932 under the real name of Richard Wayne Penniman. He grew up with a love of music in Georgia, and focused his early singing and writing in Gospel music. He began recording in the early 1950s. His influences were Billy Wright and Roy Brown, who were legends in the R & B genre.

See Little Richard As A Young Boy!


The Little Richard story is one that is most interesting, and inspiring of its time. In 1955, Little Richard sent a demo tape to Specialty Records after being urged by Lloyd Price. They liked his work and arranged for him to record at their studios in New Orleans. The session was going fine, but during a break when Little Richard fooled around and sang a ditty called Tutti Frutti. The executives took notice and liked what he was doing then. The lyrics were cleaned up from the impromptu ditty he sang, and later released it as a record. It became Little Richard’s first hit.


The following couple of years, Little Richard saw a lot of hits. He released six hits, which all climbed to the top of the charts. These songs are still popular today. Some of the titles include Good Golly Miss Molly, Long Tall Sally, and Slippin’ and Slidin’. These songs are heavy on piano playing, the saxophone and even other brass instruments. Little Richard worked with session players that were famous for their sound in New Orleans. Together they produced music that drew in large crowds who wanted to dance and sing along to something brand new sweeping the nation.


Little Richard also appeared in movies in his early career, which helped to promote his popularity, which in turn helped his music rise on the charts. After a few years of success, he stopped performing and dropped out of the music business in order to go to college. He studied the ministry after becoming a born again Christian. After a few years’ absence, he returned to performing Gospel music.  He took several years where he went back and forth between singing and preaching.


In 1986, Little Richard was inducted in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was in the first class of inductees, which also included Ray Charles, James Brown and Fats Domino. In 2003, Little Richard was inducted in to the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame. His song Tutti Frutti was voted as the number one song that changed the world by Mojo, which was a group of music executives and recording artists. The song has also been added to the Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry. The inscription with the song says the introduction which is the a cappella version, started a new trend in music and would forever change how music after that was recorded. Little Richard continues to tour and play music in addition to his preaching.



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