Story | The Rock Legacy Of Little Richard
A Legend Like No Other
In more ways than one, Little Richard set the template for rock ‘n roll – the excesses, unrestrained aggression, rebellion, and sheer power. He was one of the first who bent the rules, broke the boundaries, and ignored conventions. Like your typical rockstar, Little Richard was not one you could confine in a box. Among the pioneers of the genre, he was the one who’s truly all-out.
He was wild, uninhibited, and flamboyant. When he took the stage, he owned it and everyone else who followed him paled in comparison. At a time when musicians were struggling to stand out, Little Richard did so almost effortlessly. “Tutti Frutti” launched his career and he maintained the momentum by releasing other hits such as “Good Golly, Miss Molly” and “Long Tall Sally.”
From the get-go, it’s easy to see how extra he was on stage but when he opened his mouth, that was what hypnotized people and blew them away. His screams were powerful and explosive.
Most rockstars had an early start but at 22, Little Richard was still a dishwasher at the Greyhound bus station and a career in music seemed bleak. But when his songs began making the rounds on radio stations, he inspired several youths around the globe to pursue their passion – David Bowie who would later be known for his gender-bending alter egos and glam outfits, The Beatles who made “Long Tall Sally” a staple in their live setlist, Bob Dylan who wrote on his yearbook that he wanted to join Little Richard’s band, and Led Zeppelin whose classic hit “Rock and Roll” was the result of John Bonham playing Little Richard’s “Keep A-Knockin’” and Jimmy Page joining in.
Then-unknown Jimi Hendrix toured with him and took down notes on showmanship.
Little Richard was a wild one. He may have a big ego and an even bigger mouth but his contribution to rock ‘n roll cannot be stated enough.