Richard Wayne Penniman born in December 5, 1932 in Macon, Georgia began singing in his local church choir while he was young. Richard’s family had a family gospel group and thus he grew up in a gospel setting. At his young age, he was fascinated by shows that came to his town, and at the age of fourteen he left home and went with one show of medicine. He loved stage performance. At the age of fifteen years he was performing with minstrel show and there he got the name ‘little Richard’.
Richard began performing at low-rent rhythm and blues revues, where he learned to mix gospel fervor with blues lyrics. (Tipton 1).
Lil Richard learned to use the piano in 1951 by befriending Esquentia who taught him the pounding piano style for which he later became famous. He then went to Atlanta and met a singer by the name Bill Wright, whose hairstyle, stage makeup and performance attracted Lil very much. Later he won a talent contest award and thereafter with the help of Bill Wright signed a contract with RCA records in 1951 and released four singles.
At the age of eighteen years he had the first recording session and his records sold well in Macon and Atlanta. His father’s murder made him deviate from music and started washing dishes, a job that supported his family; later he bounced back to music dominating Macon rhythm-and- blues with a new band. In mid 1950’s he laid down a foundation for rock and roll kind of music, and set rules governing that kind of music, thus he began with songs like “Tutti Frutti” and “Good Golly, Miss Molly” and by 1968 he had managed to sell well over 32 million records internationally.
... and violin, improvise fugues, write minuets, and read music perfectly. At the age of eight, he wrote a symphony and at eleven ... . Beethoven was born in Bonn, Germany in 1770, into a family of musicians. Beethoven was not as much a child star ... . Mozart earned a living giving lessons and holding concerts. Mozart later wrote Don Giovanni and The marriage of Figaro and these ...
In 1958, however, at the height of his career, Lil Richard renounced his rock and roll lifestyle in favor of fundamentalist religion. Since that time, he has continued to vacillate between show business and the church, while never losing sight of his profound influences on countless rock and roll performers. Despite his inner conflict, Little Richard has justifiably earned his status as a true musical legend. (Tipton 1) After leaving the music industry for some time Lil Richard returned in 1985 and in 1986 he was inducted into Rock and Roll Hall of fame and he began series of performances and appearances.
Richard was influenced by the surrounding where he was born, that is, Macon, Georgia; the heart of America’s gospel belt and he was attracted to singing in the church where his family too participated. He was greatly influenced by Sister Rosetta, the ‘Original Soul Sister’ of recorded music. She was Richard’s favorite singer whom he admired, and she provided Richard with his first ‘paid gig’ in 1945 when she invited him to sing on stage.
The rock and roll piano style of Fats Domino that grew out of the distinctive sound of New Orleans Rhythm and Blues also influenced Lil Richard. Richard’s had an impact on music since his influence on both Rhythm & Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll was significant. He is considered to be the man behind transitions from Rhythm & Blues to Rock ‘n’ Roll. Little Richard is an artist who has largely influenced the music of 20th century. He inspired a large number of artists to the music stage who consider him their idol.
Cark Dick points that with Richard’s excellence he became a role model for every rock and roll performer. Redding Otis hints that he entered music business because of Richard (Friedlander 17).
Following his rapid success, of stunning, spine-tingling R&B hits, like “Rip it up”, defined the new sound of rock and roll with changed piano-playing, and funky rocking arrangements. Further he influenced to develop the genre of music by injection of funk element to his music at his time through saxophone, which was studded in 1950’s road band.
... he could play almost every style of music from oldies, blues, jazz, rock n roll, polka, punk rock, even rap. As I grew older ... . Much like in the early days of rock n roll parents were offended by this music because it was made by African Americans ... other similarities with rock n roll, not in the music itself but the way it was viewed by adults. Like rock n roll it was ...
With a heavily accentuated back- beat, funky saxophone grooves and shouted vocals and emotive characteristics in his performances and songs marked a new kind of music. Richard provided outrageous extroversion, screaming out the often rather meaningless words of his songs, for example ‘Awopbopaloobopalambamboom’, but he made a kind of wild poetic frenzy out of these nonsense lyrics and that anti-linguistic drift has been found in rock music, and indicates the sensuousness or rock and pop. (Horrocks 132)
Lil, a Black American influenced the music of the whites. British musicians in Liverpool, the Beatles were heavily influenced by Black music. The Beatles were not only paraphrasing Lil’s work but blending with them other musics and other cultural influences. (Horrocks 137).
Lil’s rock music that began in the United States had an impact to the music industry since it was shaped and gave birth to popular music that ignited music professionals to venture into popular music by imitating Lil’s rock and roll.
Nevertheless, Little Richard’s seminal influence in the arena of rock music cannot be diminished. He remains a legendary and iconic figure in popular music.
Works Cited Horrocks R. Male myths and icons: masculinity in popular culture. Palgrave Macmillan, 1995, 130-138. Friedlander P. Rock and roll: a social history. Westview Press, 1996, 14-23. Tipton Nathan. , G. Little Richard (Richard Penniman).
Chicago: West Adams, 2002,1-6.