little richard birthday 03Little Richard, current Nashville resident  with a long history in and around Nashville, “The Architect of Rock and Roll,” a songwriter, a performer, an actor, an icon, who is the master of his own creative works was born as Richard Wayne Penniman on December 5, 1932.

Little Richard, one of the true innovators, crossed styles from what was then known as rhythm and blues to rock and roll in the mid-1950s. He was also the first artist to put the funk in the rock and roll beat and contributed significantly to the early development of soul music.

Little Richard blew the lid off the Fifties, laying the foundation for rock and roll with his explosive music and charismatic persona. On record, he made spine-tingling rock and roll. His frantically charged piano playing and raspy, shouted vocals on such classics as “Tutti Frutti“, “Long Tall Sally” and “Good Golly, Miss Molly” defined the dynamic sound of rock and roll.

He recorded for RCA Records from 1951–52 and for Peacock Records beginning in 1953. Dissatisfied with his lack of commercial success during this time, Penniman formed a new “hard-driving” R&B road band in 1953. By early 1955, a demo tape of his music caught the attention of Specialty Records president Art Rupe, who bought out his contract from Peacock and arranged for him to record for Specialty in September 1955.

Little Richard was the inspiration for generations of rockers from James Brown, and Elvis Presley, to The Rolling Stones, and Prince.

Little Richard aka Richard Wayne Penniman was among the first group of inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and one of only four of those artists (along with Ray Charles, James Brown, and Fats Domino) to also receive the Rhythm and Blues Foundation‘s Pioneer Lifetime Achievement Award.

In 1994 at The CMA’s, Little Richard brought the crowd to their feet playing with Tanya Tucker performing Eddie Cochran’s “Somethin’ Else”.

The Nashville Bridge wishes Little Richard a Beatles “Happy Birthday” and salutes his lifetime achievements and how important they are as part of the foundation of what American Culture and music are considered to be throughout the world.

The sun is out in Nashville, I hope you enjoy this blessed day!

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville,TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

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