Founding father of Rock and Roll, Little Richard passes away
In the late 1950s, he abandoned his early musical style to pursue a career as a gospel artist.
Little Richard, one of the founding fathers of rock and roll, whose passionate squeals and joyful persona changed the world of music, passed away on Saturday, 9th May. He was 87 years of age. Danny Penniman, Richard's son, confirmed the musician's death. The cause of death was unknown.
In a post on Instagram, band member Kelvin Holly said: “Rest in peace, Richard. This one really stings. My thoughts and prayers go out to all my bandmates and fans all over the world. Richard truly was the king!”
A post shared by Kelvin Holly (@klevlin) on
Little Richard was responsible for a series of unstoppable hits, from 1956's Tutti Fruity to Long Tall Sally and Rip it Up.
He was known for his outrageous performance style with his eyes lined with mascara and bright clothes, a style which was adopted later by Prince. He was a drag performer before the rock and roll industry exploded.
Little Richard was one of the most influential musicians of all time. Everyone from The Beatles to Elton John has listed Little Richard as an idol. The Rocket Man singer once told Rolling Stone: "I heard Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, and that was it. Little Richard's influence was massive, despite the fact that he never hit the top 10 again after 1958.
He made a return to rock on his ’62 tour of England and cashed in on the rock ‘n’ roll revival of the 70s, but returned to religion again in 1977.
In the years before his death, Richard, who was then living in Los Angeles, was still performing periodically.