Skip to comments.Little Richard: "I Am Done"
Posted on 09/03/2013 9:59:16 AM PDT by My Favorite Headache
One of rocks most distinctive and influential performers is calling it quits.
In an interview with Rolling Stone, legendary recording artist Little Richard admitted that, just a few months shy of his 81st birthday, hes hanging it up as a performer. I am done, in a sense, he told the magazine, adding, I dont feel like doing anything right now.
Troubled by sciatica and a degenerating hip, Little Richard (born Richard Penniman on Dec. 5, 1932) has performed sparingly in recent years and hasnt always managed to play up to his usual standards. In June 2012, he was forced to stop a show, telling the crowd, Jesus, please help me I cant hardly breathe. Its horrible. He recovered sufficiently to headline at 2013′s Viva Las Vegas Rockabilly Weekend, but that seems to have been a temporary reprieve.
According to the Rolling Stone article, he now spends his time designing clothes and praying and thinking about the impact left by his groundbreaking early singles like Tutti-Frutti and Long Tall Sally. I think my legacy should be that when I started in show business, there wasnt no such thing as rock n roll, he mused. When I started with Tutti Frutti, thats when rock really started rocking.
A 65-year veteran of show business and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient, as well as a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Little Richard helped lay the groundwork for scores of rock artists during the 50s before announcing his retirement from secular music toward the end of the decade. Although he returned to his recording career during the following decade, he struggled to regain his commercial momentum, suffering through a few fallow years before reinventing himself as a steady live performer and studio sideman during the 70s. His most recent LP, the Disney Records release Shake It All About, was issued in 1992.
Done hell, I thought he was dead.
Good for him.
Tutti Frutti, indeed.
A little Tutti Frutti goes a long way.
“I Don’t Want to Discuss It” - Okeh Records (1966)
Seriously, if Elvis Presley was still alive today, he'd be younger than Little Richard. Little Richard was making records before Elvis even came on the scene! Now that's longevity.
And not a word about racism, God bless him.
t’aint easy being a legend.. but he pulled it off pretty good for a long long time..
Some of these modern performers have one hit and are instantly millionaires. Some of the people from the 50’s had hit after hit and really didn't come away with much at all.
A true legend and talent. For almost 60 years.
Youtube has all his hits and early videos of them.
He could always “rip it up”.
Another one of the “hardest working man in Rock and Roll.”
He performed here in Atlanta in 2005 or 2006 and my wife and I went to the show. He put on a great performance, played for about 90 minutes or so and did a lot of his hits of course. Even at his age, he could still play that piano, I thought the keys would start smoking at several points. What a great, great artist, I’m glad we saw him when we did.
He was making records when they were on blue wax tubes!
That dog in the old RCA ads? It was his!
My uncle loves doo-wop music and likes to attend a big annual festival with multiple acts on stage.
The organizers have announced that next year’s will be the last one, because they don’t expect anyone from the original acts to be alive much longer.
IMO, he had the greatest Rock and Roll band in the 50’s, The Upsetters. Having Grady Gains as lead sax man didn’t hurt either. His ‘Ready Teddy’ and ‘Good Golly Miss Molly’ drove all of us teenagers into a frenzy. Great top down convertible music.
Never quite one of my favorites, but he’s a legend, and he certainly could have spent time pushing a couple of political agendas, and instead all he did was push the music. I take my hat off to him!
Hahahaha....that gave me a much-needed laugh today. How I used to get a kick out of doing that with songs...but back then we had record players that had that feature.. :-)
I know...it’s criminal what happened to the majority of those acts...royally screwed.
I remember a story told to me by a guitarist who worked with Little Richard at the same time Jimi Hendrix was there. According to him, Little Richard fired Hendrix with the parting words “There’s only room enough in this band for one star”.
Little Richard IS Rock and Roll.
Nobody under 40 knows what RPM means.
It’s too bad that his music from the 60’s is so little known, because his soul cuts from that era are at least the equal of his far better known 50’s rockandroll rave ups.
How he pestered and pestered to get recorded is an interesting story in itself.
One of my favorites.....
I didn't see it, but I was told that on one of his Johnny Carson appearances Johnny asked him what he attributed his success to. Little Richard responded with a couple of platitudes but finished with "and I could scream like a white woman!" It would be great if this were true. It sure sounds like him.
One of a kind....
This guy is awesome.
I guess sooner or later everybody runs low on energy.
81 ... and yet he could pass for one in his 50s.
That’s great! What movie is that from?
“How he pestered and pestered to get recorded is an interesting story in itself.”
That was probably with the RCA label back in ‘51 or ‘52 when he first started out recording. However when he went to the Specialty label, around ‘55, his career changed and started to get crossover attention to the white audiences.
I saw Little Richard at the annual Elvis Festival in Tupelo, MS about 10 years ago. Sitting on lawn chairs in a Parking lot waiting and waiting for Little Richard to perform and damn near leaving because I never cared for him anyhow, I am very glad we stayed. He finally came out and set the tone for his performance when he told the predominately white and older crowd that he was sorry he was late but he was having trouble with his makeup. Brought the place down. Then he really took over and gave show that can only be describes as TERRIFIC. This show came the year following the year they had Charley Daniels and B.B.King. Both of whom were unimpressive. Daniels in particular. Almost like he did not want to be there.
Little Richard in Down and Out in Beverly Hills...a classic.
A balloon pop and he had a hilarious reaction. He said "I thought I was done for".
But he has an interesting personal testimony. He was gay early in his career. But he says God eventually convinced him that God made man to be with Steve not Eve.
Little Richard is proof that God can change homosexuals.
Poor man. I hope that he is able to learn to enjoy his retirement. He seemed to love performing.
Richard, you rocked the house!
“Don’t Knock the Rock” (1956)
This is from 2001 (!) “Get Rhythm”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3bxN6S2dfAs
Little Richard IS Rock and Roll.
By pestered I meant he kept calling the recording co. and asking did you get my tape, did you get my tape, have you listened to it . . .? It’s my understanding that uo to that point he was scraping by playing at frat dances, etc.
Evidently, he made the switch not long after he became famous. In his autobiography, Little Richard relates a threesome he shared with his stripper girlfriend and Buddy Holly.
He sang the title song of my favorite movie, “The Girl Can’t Help It.” I’ve seen that film at least nine times in the theater, and if a local theater screens it, I’ll see it again.
The article in Wikipedia points out that Haley charted a year earlier with "Crazy Man, Crazy". And that "Shake, Rattle and Roll" hit #1 in 1954, also by Bill Haley.
Some say "Rocket 88" by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats (which was really Ike Turner's band under a different name). March of 1951.
Tutti Frutti was released in 1955. Here's a nice article on the from Wikipedia.
1949 Rocket 88.
Louis Jordan, early Rock and Roll performer.
He'll tell you he's the REAL King of Rock and Roll, not Elvis: Little Richard.
I agree. 17 no. 1 hits from 1955-1957.
In a time of discrimination in the South, too. His concerts were the first ones where whites and blacks mixed, because his appeal was so great.
Little Richard was in England and met the Beatles, who were big fans of his. He had legions of fans in England and France.
He showed them how to do the “wooooo” sound that become their trademark.
He was giving concerts even in 2012.
His life story is an amazing one.
I was just thinking of the 45s and LPs I used to have a couple of days ago ;)