- Little Richard
Little Richard, the originator, the emancipator, the architect of rock and roll exploded into the American consciousness in the mid-50's and single handedly laid the foundation and established the rules for a new musical form: rock and roll.
Born and raised in Macon, Georgia, the third of twelve children, Richard Wayne Penniman began singing in his local church choir while still a youngster. He signed with RCA Records in 1951 after winning a talent contest and released two singles, neither receiving prominent notice.
Returning to his job washing dishes in a Greyhound bus station, Richard sent a demo to Specialty Records, a fledgling Los Angeles label. The song, "Tutti Frutti," was his catalyst for success and led to an uninterrupted run of smash hits: "Tutti Frutti," "Long Tall Sally," "Rip It Up," "Lucille," "Jenny, Jenny," "Keep A Knockin"', "Good Golly, Miss Molly," "Ooh, My Soul." By 1968, Little Richard had sold over 32 million records internationally.
When, at the peak of his career, Little Richard left the industry spotlight for a self-imposed hiatus, legions of fans worldwide confidently awaited his return. In 1985, he charged back with rave reviews for a memorable appearance in the box-office smash Down and Out in Beverly Hills, which also launched his hit single, "Great Gosh A Mighty."
In 1986, Richard was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and began a non-stop series of performances and appearances, including live concerts worldwide, recording projects, television, film, soundtracks and commercials. His performance of a rock 'n' roll version of the children's tune "Itsy Bitsy Spider" was a standout track on the…