Photo Credit: Getty Images
Richard Wayne Penniman (born December 5, 1932), known as Little Richard, is an American musician, songwriter, singer, and actor.
An influential figure in popular music and culture for seven decades, Little Richard's most celebrated work dates from the mid-1950s, when his dynamic music and charismatic showmanship laid the foundation for rock and roll. His music also played a key role in the formation of other popular music genres, including soul and funk. Little Richard influenced numerous singers and musicians across musical genres from rock to hip hop; his music helped shape rhythm and blues for generations to come, and his performances and headline-making thrust his career right into the mix of American popular music.
Little Richard has been honored by many institutions. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of its first group of inductees in 1986. He was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation. Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" (1955) was included in the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2010, which stated that his "unique vocalizing over the irresistible beat announced a new era in music." In 2015, the National Museum of African American Music honored Little Richard with a Rhapsody & Rhythm Award for his pivotal role in the formation of popular music genres and in helping to shatter the color line on the music charts, changing American culture significantly.
Last Updated: December 13, 2017