Little Richard

Little Richard, 1935–2020, American musician and singer, b. Macon, Ga., as Richard Wayne Penniman. One of the first rock musicians in the 1950s, he recorded such tunes as Tutti Frutti, Long Tall Sally, Lucille, and Good Golly Miss Molly, combining the shouts of black gospel music with the soulful sounds of the blues. He introduced rhythm and blues to a white American audience, and was a consummate showman, noted for his pounding piano and his iconoclastic style as well as his pencil-thin mustache, glamorous suits, and gleaming pompadour. His music influenced, among others, the Beatles, Otis Redding, and David Bowie. See also rock music.

See C. White, The Life and Times of Little Richard (1984).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Music: Popular and Jazz: Biographies