Rock & roll pioneer Little Richard died on Saturday at the age of 87. The world would not have been the same without the man who broke down too many boundaries to count — a human being who helped found an entire genre while taking shots from all sides. We spoke to some local musicians about his influence…
Long live the King of Rock & Roll! Little Richard is a mega-inspiration in creating a map for my musical persona and early song writing. One of my first performances in L.A. was on the piano performing his “Lucille.” As a fellow flamboyant piano player, I recognize him as a trailblazer and he is hands down the pioneer of the rock genre with his virtuoso vocals, standing whilst playing the piano technique and banging on the keys passionately like the percussive instrument it is. His ambiguous subtext lyrics and his charming pizzazz and style is mirrored throughout the world across many genres as he is a crossover artist. Everything about Little Richard, from his pompadour to his swagger, inspires, even his sense of self. He never won a Grammy, yet presented at the award show back in 1988 for “Best New Artist”. He let everyone know he should have won an award and I agree with him . Little Richard influenced all of us at the end of the day in some way or another. Long live the king of rock & roll.
Sean Johnson, The Pretty Flowers
Aside from being a main architect of the sound of rock & roll, Little Richard injected a giant dose of relentless sass, humor, absurdity and showmanship that got lost on many rock musicians that came after. Anyone that truly inspired me as a performer (Keith Moon, Iggy Pop, etc) took a cue from Little Richard and I can’t deny the power he has held over everything and everyone that came after him.
If you haven’t done so, do your self a favor and take a YouTube trip with Little Richard. If you don’t get up and dance or at least tap your foot and smile, you should check your pulse. Even when he was doing something uncool like playing “Itsy Bitsy Spider” on Full House, it was still kinda hip. RIP King… AND QUEEN!
Dan West, LoveyDove
Little Richard started it all. The rhythm, the voice, the look, the attitude and the boundless energy were all part of the rocket fuel that propelled Richard Penniman and rock & roll into the stratosphere.
It shaped everything I do, and how I look at the world.
Azalia Snail, LoveyDove
He was amongst the first of the freaky freaks, the most outlandish, and his passion for rock & roll inspired all of us to follow in his fanciful footsteps. Any time I dress up for a show or a party, I think: what would Lil R wear?