Little Richard

Long Tall Sally
#6 in 1956


Richard Wayne Penniman was born December 5, 1932 in Macon, Georgia, the third of twelve children of Charles "Bud" Penniman, a bootlegger, and his wife Leva Mae Stewart. More than any other performer - except perhaps, Elvis Presley, Little Richard blew the lid off the Fifties, laying the foundation for rock and roll with his explosive music and charismatic persona. On record, he made spine-tingling rock and roll. His frantically charged piano playing and raspy, shouted vocals on such classics as "Tutti Frutti", "Long Tall Sally" and "Good Golly, Miss Molly" defined the dynamic sound of rock and roll. In 1957, while at the height of stardom, he became a born-again Christian, enrolled in and attended Bible college, and withdrew from recording and performing secular music. In 1962 on a tour of parts of Europe, Little Richard backslid from the ministry. His opening act was The Beatles. On June 12, 2009, Little Richard, prior to performing for the grand finale of 29th annual Riverbend Music Festival in Chattanooga, Tennessee said, "although I sing rock 'n' roll, God still loves me. I'm a rock 'n' roll singer, but I'm still a Christian."
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