Little Richard, one of the pioneers of the first wave of rock’n’roll, has died.
He was 87. Richard whose real name was Richard Penniman had been in poor health for several years, suffering hip problems, a stroke, and a heart attack.
Rolling Stone magazine said Richard’s son, Danny Penniman, “confirmed the pioneer’s death but said the cause of death was unknown”. His 1955 song Tutti Frutti, and a series of follow-up records helped establish the genre and influence a multitude of other musicians.
Richard’s career began when in the late 1940s but his early recordings with the RCA Victor label garnered little success. His breakthrough came when he signed to Specialty Records in 1955, releasing a run of wild and flamboyant singles – Tutti Frutti, Long Tall Sally, Rip It Up, The Girl Can’t Help It, Lucille, Keep A-Knockin’ and Good Golly, Miss Molly, among others – that made him a star on both sides of the Atlantic.
The Beatles, Elton John, and Elvis all cited him as an influence. The singer, born in Georgia as Richard Wayne Penniman, was among the first group inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986.