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Rock and Roll Legend Little Richard Dead at 87

Rodolfo Vieira
May 09, 2020
11:21 A.M.
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Richard Wayne Penniman, more commonly known as Little Richard, was the founding father of Rock and Roll, but sadly he is no longer with us, having died at the age of 87.

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The heartbreaking news was shared by the singer's son, Danny Penniman. However, the reason behind Little Richard's passing is yet to be revealed.

Little Richard at the 1988 Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in 1988 in New York | Photo: Sonia Moskowitz/IMAGES/Getty Images

Little Richard at the 1988 Rock n Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony in 1988 in New York | Photo: Sonia Moskowitz/IMAGES/Getty Images

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HE FATHERED ROCK AND ROLL

Born in 1932, in Macon, Georgia, Little Richard got his stage name after landing his first record deal with RCA, back in 1951, mostly due to the influence of acts such as Little Milton and Little Esther.

Although the singer and pianist didn't have one of the flashiest careers in history, the truth is that the impact he had in the music industry is still felt to this day.

"Tutti Frutti" and "Long Tall Sally" performer Little Richard posing for an official portrait in 1957 | Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

"Tutti Frutti" and "Long Tall Sally" performer Little Richard posing for an official portrait in 1957 | Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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In 1956, Little Richard pumped out hits such as "Tutti Frutti" and "Long Tall Sally," and, two years later, he released the famous track "Good Golly Miss Molly."

Little Richard, who was famous for his flamboyancy and pumping-piano style, served as an inspiration for several stars such as Elton John, Prince, The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.

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PRINCE TOOK AFTER HIM

Prince was one of the artists who drew the most out of Little Richard's performances, not only when it comes to music but also the way he dressed.

This even led the late singer to refer to Prince as "the Little Richard of his generation," and personally addressing the "Purple Rain" performer by telling him that he wore purple long before Prince did.

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A CHARGE OF HEART

Little Richard released other songs throughout the years but they weren't as successful as the aforementioned tracks. Eventually, he gave up on music and became a minister at the Alabama Bible school Oakwood College.

But despite turning to God, Little Richard couldn't stay away from music and released a gospel album titled "God Is Real" in 1959, which didn't sell particularly well.

Singer-pianist Little Richard performing live at the Gala for the President at Ford's Theatre in Washington D.C. | Photo: Frank Micelotta /Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Singer-pianist Little Richard performing live at the Gala for the President at Ford's Theatre in Washington D.C. | Photo: Frank Micelotta /Walt Disney Television via Getty Images

Little Richard, who passed away on Saturday, one day after the death of Siegfried & Roy magician Roy Horn, continued to perform here and there until 2012.

In 1986, the 87-year-old legend was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and was later received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys, in 1993.

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