Widgets December 5 ~  Invented Rock 'n' Roll Little Richard

"I invented rock & roll. Jimi Hendrix was my guitar player. James Brown was my vocalist." ~ Little Richard

Little Richard

Music legend Little Richard was born Richard Wayne Penniman (1932-) on this day in Macon, Georgia, the heart of the Bible belt, one of 12 children. He loved to sing and by age 14 he was singing solos in his church choir.

"God gave me a strong mind, and a strong will," he said. "I've always had a fierce determination to excel."

Excel he did. In 1955, the flamboyant pianist with the powerhouse voice rocked the world with "Awop-bop-a-loo-mop-alop-bam-boom." Tutti Fruitti sold millions and Pat Boone and Elvis Presley covered the song. Richard followed up with Long Tall Sally, Rip It Up, and Good Golly Miss Molly. He mesmerized. He took America by storm.

"We were breaking through the racial barrier," he explained. "We decided that my image should be crazy and way-out so that the adults would think I was harmless."

Decked out in wild costumes with his hair in a high popadour, he rocked with a frenzied passion. "You can't keep still when you hear the great Little Richard," praised Buddy Holly in 1958. "He's the wildest act in rock and roll, and you can't beat his act on stage."

At the height of his fame, he retired in 1957. Born again, he became a preacher and spread the Bible. He returned to rock in 1962 and credited gospel music for inspiring his dramatic phrasing and frenzied vocal style.

Always touring, an icon and visionary, Little Richard has become an unforgettable beacon for Rock n' Roll. "I'm just the same as ever," he said, "Loud, electrifying and full of personal magnetism."

celebrate all the passionate colors of lifeGood golly Miss Molly...