One of the most iconic music artists to ever exist has passed away. Little Richard (real name Richard Wayne Penniman) died Saturday, May 9, his rep Danny Penniman confirmed to Rolling Stone. The cause of his death remains unknown. The Macon, Georgia native has left a lasting effect on the world of pop culture ever since he shot to superstardom over 60 years ago with his debut hit “Tutti Frutti”. Other legendary acts have often credited him for their own sound and style over the years including The Beatles and Elton John just to name a few. Tributes have already poured in for him all over social media in the wake of his death with millions of fans heartbroken about the devastating news.
Here are 5 things to know about the man who has been labeled as ‘The Real King of Rock N’ Roll’.
1: The Beginning. His music career exploded in the mid 1950’s with a series of irresistible hits that included “Rip It Up” and “Long Time Sally”. Another one of his legendary tracks, “Good Golly Miss Molly”, is ranked at #94 on Rolling Stone‘s list of the 500 Greatest Songs Of All Time.
2: A Toast To You. The amount of artists who have covered his songs are quite impressive. The Beatles recorded their own version of “Long Time Sally” and others like Creedence Clearwater Revival and Elvis Costello have reinterpreted his hits in their own way.
3: Fashion Influences. His eye-catching style has no doubt been seen on others as the years have gone by. He famously told Joan Rivers in the late 80’s that Prince was the “Little Richard” of his generation. “I was wearing purple before you was wearing it!” he exclaimed while looking at the camera to address the “When Doves Cry” singer.
4: Big Honor. He was part of the first group of inductees into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 alongside Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, James Brown, and many other notables in his industry. He also received many other honors including the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993.
5: Lights, Camera, Action. Little Richard has also appeared in a string of popular television shows and movies that date back many, many years. Some of his memorable guest starring roles include Baywatch, The Drew Carey Show and Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventures.