Good Golly Miss Molly, say it ain’t so
Source: ABC News
By KRISTIN M. HALL AP Entertainment Writer – May 9, 2020
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Little Richard, the self-proclaimed “architect of rock ‘n’ roll” whose piercing wail, pounding piano and towering pompadour irrevocably altered popular music while introducing black R&B to white America, has died Saturday. He was 87.
Pastor Bill Minson, a close friend of Little Richard’s, told The Associated Press that Little Richard died Saturday morning. Minson said he also spoke to Little Richard’s son and brother.
Minson added that the family is not releasing the cause of death.
Born Richard Penniman, Little Richard was one of rock ‘n’ roll’s founding fathers who helped shatter the color line on the music charts, joining Chuck Berry and Fats Domino in bringing what was once called “race music” into the mainstream. Richard’s hyperkinetic piano playing, coupled with his howling vocals and hairdo, made him an implausible sensation — a gay, black man celebrated across America during the buttoned-down Eisenhower era.
He sold more than 30 million records worldwide, and his influence on other musicians was equally staggering, from the Beatles and Otis Redding to Creedence Clearwater Revival and David Bowie. In his personal life, he wavered between raunch and religion, alternately embracing the Good Book and outrageous behavior.
“Little Richard? That’s rock ‘n’ roll. Little Richard was great on every record.”Neil Young
It was 1956 when his classic “Tutti Frutti” landed like a hand grenade in the Top 40, exploding from radios and off turntables across the country. It was highlighted by Richard’s memorable call of “wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-lop-bam-boom.”
A string of hits followed, providing the foundation of rock music: “Lucille,” “Keep A Knockin’,” “Long Tall Sally,” “Good Golly Miss Molly.” More than 40 years after the latter charted, Bruce Springsteen was still performing “Good Golly Miss Molly” live.
When the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame opened in 1986, he was among the charter members with Elvis Presley, Berry, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Sam Cooke and others.
“I am the architect of rock ‘n’ roll! I am the originator!”Little Richard
Richard Wayne Penniman was born in Macon, Georgia, during the Great Depression, one of 12 children. He was ostracized because he was effeminate and suffered a small deformity: his right leg was shorter than his left.
Penniman was performing with bands by the age of 14, but there were problems at home over his sexual orientation. His father beat the boy and derided him as “half a son.”
In late 1955, Little Richard recorded the bawdy “Tutti Frutti,” with lyrics that were sanitized by a New Orleans songwriter. It went on to sell 1 million records over the next year.
When Little Richard’s hit was banned by many white-owned radio stations, white performers like Pat Boone and Elvis Presley did cover versions that topped the charts.
By the mid-1970s, Richard was battling a $1,000-a-day cocaine problem and once again abandoned his musical career. He returned to religion, selling Bibles and renouncing homosexuality. For more than a decade, he vanished.
“If God can save an old homosexual like me, he can save anybody,”Little Richard