On This Day

Little Richard

Singer-Songwriter and Rock 'n' Roll Pioneer Little Richard

Full Name: Wayne Penniman
Profession: Singer-Songwriter and Rock 'n' Roll Pioneer

United States of America

Why Famous: Little Richard was one of rock n' roll's most influential early performers. His sound and music went on to have a strong influence of such artists as The Beatles, Elvis Presley and James Brown.

Born Richard Penniman, Little Richard's first big hit was the single "Tutti Frutti" in 1955. In it and in songs that followed his performances influenced by gospel and the Blues were wilder with a higher energy than previous rock n' roll artists. This coupled with his flamboyant stage presence, wearing a wig and make-up would often bring white and black audiences together in an era of segregation. Other hits followed such as "Long Tall Sally" and "Good Golly Miss Molly".

In 1957 Little Richard left music behind, becoming a traveling evangelist. He returned to the stage in 1962 and toured with The Beatles and The Rolling Stones supporting him. He continued to perform throughout his career.

In 1986 he became one of the 10 original inductees into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame.

Born: December 5, 1932
Birthplace: Macon, Georgia, USA

Generation: Silent Generation
Chinese Zodiac: Monkey
Star Sign: Sagittarius

Died: May 9, 2020 (aged 87)

Historical Events

  • 1955-09-14 Little Richard records "Tutti Frutti" at J & M Studio in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • 1956-01-14 Little Richard releases single "Tutti Frutti"
  • 1956-12-01 Musical comedy film "The Girl Can't Help It" starring Jayne Mansfield with cameos by rock 'n' roll stars Little Richard, Eddie Cochran, and Gene Vincent
  • 1963-10-05 Little Richard joins Everly Brothers Tour
  • 1979-06-22 Little Richard quits rock & roll for religious pursuit
  • 1985-10-08 Little Richard seriously injured in a car accident
  • 1990-06-21 Little Richard [Penniman] gets a star on Hollywood's Walk Of Fame