Rock and roll legend Little Richard has died, aged 87

9 May 2020, 15:25 | Updated: 16 January 2024, 11:41

Little Richard
Little Richard. Picture: Getty

Pianist and singer Little Richard, known the many rock and roll hits including 'Tutti Frutti', 'Good Golly Miss Molly' and 'Long Tall Sally', was a huge influence on countless artists.

Little Richard, one of the leading stars of the rock and roll era, has died at the age of 87.

His son Danny Penniman confirmed the pioneering star's death on Saturday (May 9).

Known for his flamboyant style and feverish shouts, he launched his career with the era-defining 'Tutti Frutti' in 1956, and had many international hits such as 'Long Tall Sally', 'Rip It Up', 'Lucille' and 'Good Golly Miss Molly'.

“I heard Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, and that was it,” Elton John once said at the start of his career. “I didn’t ever want to be anything else. I’m more of a Little Richard stylist than a Jerry Lee Lewis, I think. Jerry Lee is a very intricate piano player and very skillful, but Little Richard is more of a pounder.”

Born in Macon, Georgia—the second of 12 children in total—he was kicked out of his family's home as a youth, and taken in by a white family, who also ran the club where he first performed as a singer.

Little Richard - Lucille (1957) [Long Version, High Quality Sound]

Many artists including the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Michael Jackson and James Brown and Rod Stewart have cited Richard as an influence.

In the late 1950s, he became a gospel artist, and stayed performing well into old age.

Little Richard was among the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's first class of inductees in 1986 and received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy, and performed at Bill Clinton's presidential inauguration in 1992.

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