Richard Wayne “Little Richard” Penniman has died. The musician, known for his wild vocals, original persona, and unbridled enthusiasm onstage, was 87.
Rolling Stone reported Little Richard’s passing the morning of May 9, citing confirmation by his son Danny Jones Penniman. No cause of death has been given.
Little Richard’s music career spanned more than 60 years. Born December 5, 1932, he found his passion for music in his hometown of Macon, Georgia, singing gospel and playing piano. As he discovered R&B, the artist shifted away from being a talented choir boy, and toward becoming the more eccentric, vaudeville-inspired performer who gained worldwide renown.
Richard’s career began when in the late 1940s but his early recordings with RCA Victor garnered little success. His breakthrough came when he signed to Specialty Records in 1955, releasing a run of wild and flamboyant singles – Tutti Frutti, Long Tall Sally, Rip It Up, The Girl Can’t Help It, Lucille, Keep A-Knockin’ and Good Golly, Miss Molly, among others that made him a star on both sides of the Atlantic and influence a multitude of other musicians.
May his soul rest in peace.