Oregon Music News: Oregon’s all-genre music magazine since 2009


Little Richard dies at 87

By TOM D'ANTONI // The embodiment of Rock n Roll in all its aspects is gone.

Richard Penniman, known to the universe as Little Richard died today. He was 87 and had been in poor health and not been active for many years.

To a generation (and more than one generation) he was the soul and embodiment of everything Rock n Roll was about, even as he repeatedly rejected and re-embraced the very concept.

He was seen as a liberating and dangerous and joyous figure to kids in the 1950s, fusing Gospel with Rhythm and Blues, forever cementing them with is own flamboyance.

Taking his cues from female impersonators/performers such as Esquirita, what came out of Cosimo Matassa's studio in New Orleans, aided sometimes by his own band, The Upsetters and sometimes by Dave Bartholomew's band, he changed the landscape of American music. Yes, Elvis was around, Fats Domino and Bo Diddley were recording and R&B was establishing a foothold on the nation's children, but Little Richard was something extra.

Watch:him in a suit:

Listen to this. It was around the one-minute mark when he screamed and drummer Earl Palmer had to change his style of playing in order to complement Richard's piano...that's when the world changed and we knew it was ok to be who we wanted to be. No matter what that might be.


Here's the New York Times review.

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