Born as Richard Wayne Penniman on December 5th, 1932, in Macon, Georgia he started his career in 1947 as a teenager that would last over seven decades. Starting out in the church and later to clubs, he signed his first record deal with RCA in 1951 and became “Little Richard.”
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His famous hit “Tutti Frutti” became his big break in 1955 which reached number 17 on the pop charts. As one of the biggest black artists during a time of segregation, he’s mentioned that his music brought races together. Songs like “Long Tall Sally”, “Rip It Up”, “Lucille”, and “Good Golly Miss Molly” would follow making him a household name for years to come.
His original words of a “wop bob alu bob a wop bam boom”, gender-bending styles, unique piano sounds, and electric personality set him apart to be one of the first black crossover artists.
Richard has left a long legacy of being apart of the inaugural group of inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, a recipient of Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys, and was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
See photos of the legend throughout the years below.