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

Biography: 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 premieres
  • 1963-10-05 Little Richard joins Everly Brothers Tour
  • 1969-08-01 3-day Atlantic City Pop Festival opens at the Atlantic City Race Course in Hamilton Township, New Jersey; performers include: Procol Harum; Joni Mitchell; Chicago; Santana; Little Richard; Booker T and the MG's; Sir Douglas Quintet; Janis Joplin; Jefferson Airplane, B.B. King; The Byrds; Creedence Clearwater Revival; Tim Buckley; Hugh Masekela; Dr. John; and The Mothers of Invention; attendance estimated at 110,000
  • 1975-04-18 John Lennon gives what becomes his final public performance at a gala salute to British media mogul Lew Grade at the Grand Ballroom of the Hilton Hotel, NYC; he performed 3 songs - Little Richard’s “Slippin’ and Slidin’”, Ben E. King’s “Stand By Me”, and closed with his own “Imagine”
  • 1979-06-22 Little Richard quits rock & roll for religious pursuit
  • 1985-10-08 Little Richard seriously injured in a single car accident in Los Angeles
  • 1986-01-23 Inaugural class of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees: Chuck Berry; James Brown; Ray Charles; Sam Cooke; Fats Domino; The Everly Brothers; Buddy Holly; Jerry Lee Lewis; Elvis Presley; Little Richard; Robert Johnson; Jimmie Rodgers; Jimmy Yancey; Alan Freed; John Hammond; and Sam Phillips
  • 1990-06-21 Little Richard [Penniman] gets a star on Hollywood's Walk Of Fame