The Music World Loses Little Richard

The world of Rock has lost Little Richard.

A giant in the early stages of Rock 'n' Roll and beyond, Richard had enormous influence over music.

His insanely popular hits like, "Tutti-Frutti" and "Long Tall Sally" inspired The Beatles themselves.

Richard had been sick for 2 months. He died at his Tennessee home, surrounded by his brother, sister and son.

Richard was born Richard Wayne Penniman in 1932. His father had disdain for Richard's sexuality and threw him out of the family home when he was just 13.

Richard's music was heavily influenced by the church. He sang gospel and learned the piano and got his first break in 1951. He performed at an Atlanta radio station and it caught the ear of record execs. Richard was signed to RCA but didn't become successful while at the label.

In 1955, Richard signed with Specialty Records, where he recorded "Tutti-Frutti" which became an immediate hit. Many hits then followed -- "Long Tall Sally," "Good Golly Miss Molly" and "Send Me Some Lovin'". Richard tried his hand at movies, appearing in rock films like "Don't Knock the Rock," "The Girl Can't Help It" and "Mister Rock 'n' Roll."

In 1957, Richard shocked the world by quitting the business and became part of the ministry, recording gospel music. He recorded an album, "God is Real," in 1959.

His influence is irrefutable and was one of the original inductees into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences in '93, and got the Pioneer Award from the Rythm & Blues Foundation.

Little Richard was 87.


Photos by Getty Images

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