Little Richard is a composer, singer, actor, and Christian minister who has a currently net worth of $40 million. Little Richard, the stage name of Richard Wayne Penniman, (Macon, Georgia, December 5th, 1932) is an African-American rock and roll singer, songwriter and pianist from the United States.
His first recordings in the 50’s were a mixture of blues and rhythm and blues, with a strong influence on gospel, but with a skill that marked a decidedly new kind of music. he has said about himself that he was considered as the “architect” of rock and roll, but, because of the color of his skin separated him from the glory that was captured, among others, by Elvis. In addition, he calls himself “The Predecessor King of Rock & Roll, Rhythm & Blues and Soul”.
Coming from a humble family, he was the son an illegal whiskey distiller, he was the third of twelve children, passing his childhood closer to his mother than his stern father. Thanks to her, he received piano lessons. He himself said the he came from a family that did not like rhythm and blues. Bing Crosby’s Pennies from Heaven and Ella Fitzgerald was all he could listen at home. Belonging to the Seventh-day Adventist Church, he learned gospel music in the Pentecostal churches of the southern United States.
At age 13, his father ran him away scandalized by his homosexual outbursts. Freed from family oppression, he felt his repressed passions and is dedicated to singing in bars, slums or simple corners of the street, to make a living. Luckily, a white couple, Ann and Johnny Johnson, took him saved him from that world and allow him to continue developing his musical skills on the stage of the Tick Tock, the club the couple ran.
In 1951 he won a local competition and is invited by the record company RCA Records with which he would record eight singles that would not finish to succeed. During the year 1952 Little Richard was full of events. He met Sugarfoot Sam, when he was performing on his vaudeville numbers. He soon he started to perform along with Tidy Jolly Steppers in Alabama, but shortly after he would leave them to be soloist of the J. L. Heath’s band, with where he performed in around Georgia. He met Billy Wright, who proposes to record an album, under the name of Little Richard. A few months later, his father was killed.
in 1955, he decided to send a demo-tape to Specialty Records. Six months later, Specialty’s response arrives for a recording session in New Orleans, on the condition that he agreed to leave his group to be accompanied by prestigious musicians. The first sessions did not finish convincing, but during a pause in one of these sessions, Richard began to sing of improvised way “Tutti Frutti”, an obscene song and full of lust that had been singing in his performances.
The song, with its onomatopoeic “Womp-bomp-a-loom-op-a-womp-bam-boom!”, Became a model for many other future little Richard’s songs, playing his piano, with Lee Allen on the saxophone and Its relentless rhythm.