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Little Richard Dies at 87 – Celebrity Deaths 2020 – Parade

Little Richard, one of the founding fathers of rock ‘n’ roll,  died on Saturday, May 9 at age 87. His son, Danny Jones Penniman, confirmed his death. His cause of death was bone cancer, the musician’s lawyer Bill Sobel told Rolling Stone.

“I try to be a guide for people, to make their darkness bright and to make the pathway light, and never to condemn or control or criticize,” he once said. With his deliciously distinctive sound Little Richard was indeed a great light and a pioneer who transformed rock and roll. To borrow from James Brown, he was “the first to put the funk in rhythm.”

Mixing blues and gospel Little Richard’s music raised the roof with hits like “Tutti Frutti, “Long Tall Sally” and “Good Golly Miss Molly.” But not only did Little Richard make an indelible mark on music, he inspired legions of musicians with his unique verve, passion and fearless lyrics. As Elton John told Rolling Stone in 1973, “I heard Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, and that was it.”

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Little Richard’s songs were recorded by everyone from The Beatles to Elvis Costello to The Kinks to The Everly Brothers. In fact, he was so influential to Paul McCartney, the Beatle said that “Long Tall Sally,” was the first song he sang in public. McCartney reportedly said to pull off a little Richard vocal you had to “leave your body.” Bob Dylan even wrote that his goal was “to join Little Richard” in his high school year book. And when he was nine-years-old “ David Bowie bought a saxophone hoping to be like little Richard. “…without him, I think myself and half of my contemporaries wouldn’t be playing music,” said Bowie.

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Born Richard Wayne Penniman in Macon Georgia, Little Richard got his first record deal with RCA when he was 19-years-old. He had 11 brothers and sisters. “I was born in the slums. My daddy sold whiskey, bootleg whiskey,” he told Rolling Stone in 1970. He earned his singing chops singing at church and developed those unmistakable “woo’s” The legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix said it so well. “I want to do with my guitar what Little Richard does with his voice.”

Stars remember Little Richard on Twitter.

Source: parade.com

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