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What Little Richard taught these music legends: From soul to sex

The architect of rock and roll itself left the constructing when Little Richard died at 87 from bone most cancers at his dwelling in Nashville Saturday morning.

The influential Grammy winner — born Richard Wayne Penniman in Macon, Georgia, circa 1932 — signed his first file take care of RCA in 1951, and soared up the highest 40 charts with iconic hits similar to “Lengthy Tall Sally,” “Rip It Up” and “Good Golly Miss Molly.”

Legendary for his gender-bending fashion, gospel-meets-rock vocals and pulse-pounding piano riffs, the spirit of the Rock and Roll Corridor of Famer will dwell on within the music of the various different legends he influenced — and a few of whom he outlived.

Listed here are a number of the all-time greats who discovered from Little Richard.

Stevie Surprise

Stevie Wonder in 1975.
Stevie Surprise in 1975.Getty Photographs

The exuberant piano enjoying of Little Stevie Surprise as a toddler prodigy undoubtedly owed one thing to the keyed-up fashion of Little Richard. When a 15-year-old Surprise was banging on these ivories on his 1965 hit “Uptight (All the pieces’s Alright),” there was a joyous mixture of soul, gospel and blues that captured the boisterous spirit of Little Richard. Just like the “Tutti Frutti” singer, it was something however uptight.

Mick Jagger

Mick Jagger in 1976.
Mick Jagger in 1976.Getty Photographs

The Rolling Stones frontman absolutely discovered all the things concerning the artwork of the preen from the originator: Little Richard. And lengthy earlier than there have been lips like Jagger, the “Good Golly, Miss Molly” singer had perfected his pout. However past that, Jagger acquired in contact along with his female facet in a approach that Little Richard had finished earlier than him, releasing him from the principles of rock-star masculinity.

Paul McCartney

Stevie Wonder in 1975.
Paul McCartney in 1975.Getty Photographs

The Beatles singer-songwriter might not appear as apparent of a Little Richard descendant as Jagger. However The Fab 4 as soon as opened for the artist born Richard Wayne Penniman. And through this time, Little Richard schooled Sir Paul on his vocalizations, together with his signature “Wooo,” little question placing extra soul into the Brit’s singing.

Macca shared in a 2001 CNN interview: “Little Richard at all times says ‘Paul … , I taught you all the things that .’ I say, “That’s proper, Richard, it’s true.’”

In a 2017 fan chat on his web site, Sir Paul additionally detailed how Little Richard influenced his vocal prep routine in Germany, circa the early ’60s.

“I do like a steaming earlier than I’m going on, which I used to be informed was most likely the perfect factor to clear your larynx,” McCartney stated. “I used to be taught that by watching Little Richard do it after we have been children in Hamburg. He used to do it earlier than he went on. He’d get a kettle filled with sizzling water within the sink, put a towel over his head, and [inhales] breathe in, get the vapors. So, I try this. It’s turn out to be a part of my ritual.”

Elton John

Elton John in 2004.
Elton John in 2004.Getty Photographs

The best way the Rocket Man assaults the keys is definitely fueled by Little Richard’s all-out fashion. You possibly can hear Richard everywhere in the boogie woogie of Elton classics similar to “Crocodile Rock” and “Honky Cat.” And “The Bitch Is Again” owes its sassy swag to the O.G. bitch, too. However past his powerhouse piano enjoying, John’s outrageous vogue sense displayed the type of massive, larger-than-life character that got here from Little Richard.


Prince in 2015
Prince in 2015Getty Photographs

The spine-tingling screams of the late Prince Rogers Nelson have been impressed by the ecstatic wail of Little Richard, who appeared to be possessed by the holy spirit each time he would let free with a raspy yell. However in creating his visible persona, Prince additionally borrowed from Little Richard — from his massive “Purple Rain” hair to his flamboyant garments to his penchant for eyeliner. And when it got here to his stage theatrics, Prince discovered from the perfect, too.

Bette Midler

Brian Wilson

Joan Jett

Gene Simmons

About the author

Tina Sanders

Tina Sanders

Tina is the mind behind, and she ideated it when she was working for an online magazine company where she used to cover US-based headlines news. She holds a degree in journalism and has more than 4.5 years of experience in an online magazine company. She had the idea while working there but when she was quite sure about starting something on her own, she took the risk and left the job to start Gruntstuff. Since then she added a few team members, and along with them, she creates General US news content on the site.

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