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Little Richard

Richard Wayne Penniman (born December 5, 1932), known as Little Richard, is an American singer, songwriter and musician. An influential figure in popular music and culture for seven decades, Richard's most celebrated work dates from the mid-1950s, when his dynamic music and charismatic showmanship laid the foundation for rock and roll. His music also played a key role in the formation of other popular music genres, including soul and funk. He influenced numerous singers and musicians across musical genres from rock to hip hop; his music helped shape rhythm and blues for generations to come, and his performances and headline-making thrust his career right into the mix of American popular music.

"Tutti Frutti" (1955), one of Richard's signature songs, became an instant hit, reaching No. 2 on Billboard Rhythm and Blues Best-Sellers chart and crossing over to the pop charts in both the United States and overseas in the United Kingdom. It reached No. 21 on the US Billboard Top 100 and No. 29 on the UK singles chart. Richard's next hit single, "Long Tall Sally" (1956), hit No. 1 on the Billboard Rhythm and Blues Best-Sellers chart and No. 13 on the Billboard Top 100 while reaching the top ten in the UK. Following his success, Richard built up his backup band, The Upsetters, with the addition of saxophonists Clifford "Gene" Burks and leader Grady Gaines, bassist Olsie "Baysee" Robinson and guitarist Nathaniel "Buster" Douglas. Richard's critically acclaimed debut album Here's Little Richard (1957) peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard Top LPs chart.

In 1962, concert promoter Don Arden persuaded Little Richard to tour Europe after telling him his records were still selling well there even though they were not in the US. Having heard of Richard's European tour, Brian Epstein, manager of The Beatles, asked Arden to allow the band to open for Richard on some tour dates, to which he agreed. The first show for which the Beatles opened was at New Brighton's Tower Ballroom that October. During this time, Richard advised the group on how to perform his songs and taught Paul McCartney his distinctive vocalizations. In the fall of 1963, Richard agreed to rescue a sagging tour featuring The Everly Brothers, Bo Diddley and The Rolling Stones. At the end of that tour, Richard was given his own TV special for Granada Television titled The Little Richard Spectacular.

Richard has been honored by many institutions. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of its first group of inductees in 1986. He was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation. In 2015, Richard received a Rhapsody & Rhythm Award from the National Museum of African American Music for his key role in the formation of popular music genres and helping to bring an end to the racial divide on the music charts and in concert in the mid-1950s changing American culture significantly. "Tutti Frutti" was included in the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2010, which stated that his "unique vocalizing over the irresistible beat announced a new era in music".

Birth and Death Data: Born December 5th, 1932 (Macon), Died May 9th, 2020 (Tullahoma)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1963 - 1968

Roles Represented in DAHR: vocalist, piano

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Decca 113581 7/5/1963 Milky white way Richard] Little Richard [Pennyman vocalist  
Decca 113582 7/5/1963 Need Him-1 Richard] Little Richard [Pennyman vocalist  
Decca 113583 7/5/1963 I'm trampin' Richard] Little Richard [Pennyman vocalist  
Decca 113584 7/10/1963 Search me Lord-1 Richard] Little Richard [Pennyman vocalist  
Decca 113585 7/6/1963 Everytime I feel the spirit-1 Richard] Little Richard [Pennyman vocalist  
Decca 113586 7/10/1963 Coming home-2 Richard] Little Richard [Pennyman vocalist  
Decca 113587 7/6/1963 God is real Richard] Little Richard [Pennyman vocalist  
Decca 113588 7/14/1963 Just a closer walk with Thee-1, 2 Richard] Little Richard [Pennyman vocalist  
Decca 113589 7/14/1963 Does Jesus care-1 Richard] Little Richard [Pennyman vocalist  
Decca 113590 7/14/1963 Jesus walked this lonesome valley-4 Richard] Little Richard [Pennyman vocalist  
Decca 113591 7/14/1963 Precious Lord-3 Richard] Little Richard [Pennyman vocalist  
Decca 113592 7/14/1963 I want Jesus to walk with me-3 Richard] Little Richard [Pennyman vocalist  
Decca 119521 10/25/1967 Try some of mine-1 Little Richard vocalist, instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 119522 10/25/1967 She's together Little Richard vocalist, instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 120195 April 1968 Baby don't you tear my clothes Richard] Little Richard [Pennyman vocalist, instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 120196 April 1968 Stingy Jenny Richard] Little Richard [Pennyman vocalist, instrumentalist, piano  
Decca 120761 9/3/1968 Soul train Richard] Little Richard [Pennyman vocalist  
Decca 120762 9/3/1968 Can I count on you-1 Richard] Little Richard [Pennyman vocalist  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Little Richard," accessed January 16, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/205886.

Little Richard. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved January 16, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/205886.

"Little Richard." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 16 January 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/205886

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