Our Georgia History
 

Little Richard
December 5, 1932 Richard Wayne ("Little Richard") Penniman is born in Macon, Georgia
  City of Macon, Georgia
  Little Richard
April 1, 1956 Long Tall Sally by "Little Richard" Penniman is released. It reaches #6 on the pop charts
  Little Richard


Little Richard, a 1984 inductee into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame was born Richard Wayne Penniman in Macon, Georgia and began performing "Negro music" on stage when he was 13. In 1948 Billboard Magazine renamed this category to Rhythm and Blues. Penneman assumed the stage name of Little Richard because of his diminutive size (not his height, which is 5 feet 10 inches).

Penneman began to record in 1951 and had what can best be described as limited success. It wasn't until rock and roll, with its sexual lyrics and strong rhythm sound that Little Richard's bawdy style and suggestive phrasing caught on. Starting with 'Tutti Frutti' in 1955 (his only charted single that year) Little Richard began an unequaled string of 15 charted songs by 1957 including 3 number one hits (note:. Most combined jump blues or boogie-woogie phrasing he had learned in his early days with wild lyrics and sometimes meaningless words.

In the segregated South Penniman's work was not played on mainstream radio, so white performers would cover his records with a good deal of success. Among the white artists that gained at least some success with Little Richard's hits were Pat Boone, Elvis Presley and Bill Haley and the Comets.

Many artists list Little Richard as being an influence in their music, including Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger, John Lennon, Jimi Hendrix (who played with Penneman early in his career), and David Bowie.




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