King of Rock, Little Richard, has died.

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Little Richard
Little Richard

Little Richard died in his Nashville home Saturday at the age of 87.

That’s according to a report by Rolling Stone who cites the musician’s son, Danny Penniman.

Born as Richard Wayne Penniman on Dec. 5, 1932, he grew up in a house in the Pleasant Hill neighborhood in Macon.

He gained most of his fame in the 50s and 60s belting out tunes like “Good Golly Miss Molly,” wearing dazzling costumes and pounding on his piano, but there was a long road to his international success…

His religious upbringing is credited as what ultimately introduced him to music, according to Charles White, the official biographer of Little Richard.

An Atlanta Journal Constitution article says Sister Rosetta Tharpe overheard Penniman singing before her show at the Macon City Auditorium in fall 1947 and asked him to open for her.

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Then, in 1950, Penniman joined his first band – Buster Brown’s Orchestra – where he received the moniker Little Richard.

Over the next few years (and a few singles released under RCA Victor), Richard went on to release one of his most recognizable singles, ‘Tutti Frutti,’ in 1955 and it became an instant hit in America and the UK.

His live performances in this period of his career were known for being high-energy and for having the power to integrate an audience in an era known for segregated venues.

Richard relocated to California after the release of ‘Tutti Frutti’ and then ventured in gospel music in the 1960s.

By 1962, he was opening for The Beatles and the Rolling Stones and in 1964, made his full return to rock and roll music.

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That same year, Jimi Hendrix joined Richard’s band leading to the R&B hit, “I Don’t Know What You’ve Got (But It’s Got Me).”

Later that decade, he successfully booked residencies in Las Vegas, major music festivals and talk shows sparking a renewed interest in his music, which culminated in the release of single “Freedom Blues.”

Later career

In 1984, he was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and then into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 in its first class of inductees.



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