Little Richard Dead at 87

Little Richard

Rock and roll pioneer Little Richard has died at age 87. Richard’s son, Danny Jones Penniman, confirmed his passing early Saturday morning, but said the cause of the legendary singers death was unknown at that time.

Known for his flamboyance as an entertainer, Richard Wayne Penniman was born in Macon, Georgia, on December 5, 1932. As a boy, he sang in church and was exposed to various musical genres – including R&B, blues, and country – while working the concession at the Macon City Audtorium. Richard’s own musical career was launched after he won a local talent show, which landed him his first record deal in 1951.

His early career foundered however, but then enjoyed a long-lasting rebirth after he recorded “Tutti Frutti” in 1955, which became an early rock and roll sensation. Other hits from the same era that featured Richard’s piano pounding and signature, high-pitched wailing, included “Long Tall Sally” and “Good Golly Miss Molly.” (The former was famously covered by The Beatles, who served as Richard’s opening act for a string of shows in Hamburg, Germany, in the early 60s.)

Richard’s subsequent musical career oscillated between rock and roll and gospel, and he continued performing into his 80s.