Tuesday, November 06, 2012

AccuRadio Song Of The Day-Little Richard

Artist:Little Richard
Album:The Very Best Of Little Richard

Based on talent, Little Richard should have been a much bigger star than Elvis Presley. But due to racism and Richard's inner conflict about secular music, it didn't happen. Lucille was one of his several number one R & B hits. Richard Wayne Penniman was born Dec. 5, 1932 in Macon, GA. He grew up singing in the family gospel group and was a faith healer at age 10. His influences were the singing evangelist Brother Joe May and legendary gospel singer and killer guitarist Sister Rosetta Tharpe. He got to perform with her when she came to Macon in 1945. Marion Williams (Woooo!) and Mahalia Jackson were also big influences. Then Richard got into gospel influenced jump blues and befriended Billy Wright who was known as Prince Of The Blues. He also met Esquerita (Eskew Reeder Jr.) who taught him piano tricks. And as many fans know, Richard copied his look. Richard first recorded for RCA Camden and Peacock from 1951-54. But the singles were unsuccessful and Richard was unhappy with them. Then he went to New Orleans and started working with musicians there. Lloyd Price suggested that Richard send a demo to Specialty Records. Specialty owner Art Rupe bought out his Peacock contract and Robert "Bumps" Blackwell produced. At first Blackwell was unhappy with the recordings. On a break, Richard improvised Tutti Frutti. The song was risque so Blackwell cleaned it up. It was a hit but many radio stations wouldn't play black artists. So Pat Boone recorded Tutti Frutti and it was a bigger hit than Richard's recording. Lucille was one of several #1 R & B hits. But he didn't have the mainstream success he should have had due to racism. He also appeared in three films. Lucille was written by Al Collins (not the blues guitarist) and Richard bought the song while Collins was in prison. Richard was also known for his insane stage show. In Oct. 1957, Richard was touring Australia. And he saw a fireball while on a plane. It was actually the Russian satellite Sputnik. He took this as a sign that he should quit secular music and return to gospel. And that's what he did. Richard has changed his mind about this several times in his career. He's not the only R & B artist to have this conflict. Talk to Al Green. Richard has recorded his hits several times. Concord now owns the rights to the Specialty recordings and this budget comp was released in 2008. It's been remastered in mono. You don't want these songs in fake stereo. In recent years, Richard has found a balance and performs secular music and performs weddings as Reverend Richard Penniman. He's a legend and a hall of famer and his Specialty recordings are essential. Here's Little Richard performing Lucille in the 1957 film Mister Rock and Roll.

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