According to RollingStone, Danny Penniman, Richard’s son, confirmed his passing but is not sure of the cause of death at this time. Richard was 87 years old and like many who have passed, he carried the aura of a person who would live forever despite the fact that he lived a long and fruitful life. From 1956 to 1958 Richard was undoubtedly the baddest man on the planet. Peep the string of hits. In ’56 he dropped “Tutti Frutti”, “Long Tall Sally”, and “Rip It Up”. In ’57 he released “Lucille” and in ’58 he hit ’em with “Good Golly Miss Molly”.
How much was Richard respected? Here’s what Elton John told RS bout him in 1973:
“I heard Little Richard and Jerry Lee Lewis, and that was it,” Elton John told Rolling Stone in 1973. “I didn’t ever want to be anything else. I’m more of a Little Richard stylist than a Jerry Lee Lewis, I think. Jerry Lee is a very intricate piano player and very skillful, but Little Richard is more of a pounder.”
Richard rarely spoke publicly but in 2017 he sat in front of a WSIL camera in Southern Illinois for an interview for the fist time in damn near 20 years.
The makeup, the pompadour, the lavish and Liberace-esque outfits became a staple of the rock stars of the era. Richard’s style and presence were just as powerful as the notes he belted out or the piano keys he banged on with passionate fervor.
“Prince is the Little Richard of his generation,” Richard told Joan Rivers in 1989 before looking at the camera and addressing Prince. “I was wearing purple before you was wearing it!”
God bless and keep Little Richard. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family.