Little Richard has died aged 87.
The ‘Tutti Frutti’ hitmaker – who is widely regarded as the pioneer of rock and roll – has passed away, his son Danny Jones Penniman, has confirmed. According to Rolling Stone, it is not known what the cause of his death may be.
Little Richard – whose real name is Richard Wayne Penniman – was born in Macon, Georgia, in December 1932, into a family of 12 siblings. He was discovered at the age of 14 by Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who asked her to open his show. It is believed her paying him for his performance inspired him to become a professional singer.
‘Tutti Frutti’ was Little Richard’s breakout hit in 1956, soaring to number two on Billboard’s Rhythm and Blues bestsellers chart. It also made the top 25 on the Billboard Top 100 and top 30 on the British singles chart, selling a whopping million copies.
A year later, ‘Long Tall Sally’ was released, soaring to number one on the R&B charts, whilst also making 13th place on the Billboard Top 100. In the UK, the track made the top 10.
A huge career in music followed in the decades following, with hits including ‘Rip It Up’, ‘The Girl Can’t Help It’ and ‘Ready Teddy’.
Tributes have flooded in for the late singer on social media.
Noel Fielding wrote: ”Little Richard one of the greatest ever ! x x Rest in peace x Fashion king big influence on Ol Gregg x x (sic)”
The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson shared: ”I’m very sorry to hear about Little Richard. He was there at the beginning and showed us all how to rock and roll. He was a such a great talent and will be missed. Little Richard’s music will last forever. Love and Mercy, Brian (sic)”
Gene Simmons penned: ”Sadly, Little Richard passed away today. A founding Father of Rock And Roll, his contributions simply can’t be overstated. I had the honour of meeting Richard in his later years and was awed by his presence. He told me, ‘I am the architect of Rock And Roll.’ Amen! … Rest In Peace. (sic)”