Little Richard, the ‘Founding Father of Rock,’ Dead at 87
His cause of death is unknown as of right now.
Richard Wayne Penniman, better known as "Little Richard," has passed away at the age of 87, according to his son, Danny Penniman.
He was born on December 5th, 1932 in Macon, Georgia. He was the third of twelve children; his father was a church deacon who sold bootlegged liquor on the side and his mother was a member of the church that his dad worked at.
He was discovered at the age of 14 by Sister Rosetta Tharpe, who heard him singing before one of her shows. She paid him and he was inspired to be a professional singer. Before he entered the tenth grade, he joined a traveling musical show. He even performed in drag as "Princess LaVonne."
In 1950, he was given the name "Little Richard" by Buster Brown's Orchestra.
His demo was sent to Specialty Records, who saw him as their own Ray Charles. His first "dirty blues" hit, Tutti Frutti, was released in 1955. It hit #2 on the Billboard charts, and the rest is history.
He struggled for decades with his sexuality, drug addiction and his own health problems. He frequently denounced homosexuality, citing religion.
His last concert was in 2014 in Murfreesboro, TN. In 2016, Bootsy Collins posted on his Facebook that Richard was not in the best of health.
He was one of the last surviving members of the pioneers of rock and roll. Jerry Lee Lewis is the now the last remaining member at the age of 84.
Thank you for the years of music, Little Richard.