Richard Wayne Penniman, better known as Little Richard, passed away last weekend at the age of 87. He was one of the godfathers of rock ‘n’ roll. With songs like “Lucille”, “Long Tall Sally”, and “Tutti Frutti” he changed the sound of rock ’n’ roll forever. We honor him with a channel full of his top-notch hits

Some say that without Little Richard’s eccentric and glamorous stage performance there wouldn’t be glamrock. Others place him at the top of the rock ‘n’ roll food chain together with Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Chuck Berry, and Buddy Holly. In this case both statements are right. This rock legend lived life to the fullest.  

Little Richard in Memoriam Channel

They call him the Architect of Rock ‘N’ Roll for a reason. In the fifties, Richard changed the way pop music was perceived. He was the catalyst of a whole new movement that closed the gap between black and white audiences. One of his trademarks was playing the piano standing up straight, pounding the keys like there was no tomorrow, while screaming his lungs out like a reverend. 

The religious part isn’t far from the truth. During his life, Little Richard went from performing onstage behind a piano to performing onstage behind an altar. As a preacher his goal was to unite the races and bring the lost souls back home to God. Our Little Richard in Memoriam Channel focuses on his musical career and his greatest hits. 

Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti”

He influenced stars like Elvis Presley and the Beatles with his relentless upbeat rock ‘n’ roll chords and tunes. One of Little Richard’s most celebrated songs is “Tutti Frutti”. Chords such as the ones used in this song are typical for the genre. If you’re a piano player, this is your moment to learn to rock ‘n’ roll with these five chords; which are actually just three, if you take a closer look at the chord progression.

The track was released in 1955 and became an instant success. The sound of the song appealed to both white and black audiences, and crossed over from the USA charts to the UK charts, where it ended up at the top. The Library of Congress added Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti” to their National Recording Registry with the note that his unique vocalizing technique over the irresistible beat was the beginning of a new era in music.

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Little Richard was part of the first inductees in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986. He couldn’t be at the ceremony in person, because he suffered some serious injuries after crashing his sports car on the set of “Miami Vice.” Kind of what you expect from a real rockstar that knew how to enjoy life.

Thirty-four years later, at the age of 87, the godfather of the world’s most notorious genre leaves the planet to become a legend between the stars. So, grab your guitar or ukulele, take a seat behind that piano – or even better, just put your foot on the edge –  and start strumming those chords in honor of the man, the myth, the giant: Little Richard. Happy jamming!

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