The Beatles were also heavily influenced by Penniman. Paul McCartney idolized him in school and later used his recordings as inspiration for his uptempo rockers, such as "I'm Down." "Long Tall Sally" was the first song McCartney performed in public. McCartney would later state, "I could do Little Richard's voice, which is a wild, hoarse, screaming thing. It's like an out-of-body experience. You have to leave your current sensibilities and go about a foot above your head to sing it."
During the Beatles' Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction, George Harrison commented, "thank you all very much, especially the rock 'n' rollers, and Little Richard there, if it wasn't for (gesturing to Little Richard), it was all his fault, really. "Upon hearing "Long Tall Sally" in 1956, John Lennon later commented that he was so impressed that he couldn't speak.
For decades literally every single band covered, not only his top 10 hits, but also songs like "Rip it Up," "Ready Teddy," "Slippin' and Slidin'," "Lucille," "Jenny Jenny" and "Keep A-Knockin'." His stage persona and wardrobe also set the standard for rock and roll showmanship.
Elvis may have been the king of rock and roll, but clearly Little Richard was the architect.
In memory of Richard Wayne Penniman, born on December 5, 1932 in Macon, Georgia and died on May 9, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. He was 87.
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