If there’s a rock and roll heaven, you know they’ve got a hell of a band
– The Righteous Brothers
Of course, rock stars dying is a regular news item any more and it’s not too surprising. The 60s were 60 years ago, so the musicians from that golden age are passing on at a fairly regular rate. All of them will be noted by their fans, and all of them deserve to be, but, to be honest, not all rock stars are, or were ever, equal.
Little Richard, who passed away today at the age of 87, was one of the greatest. He was an incredible performer, who gave it all he had. He was a larger than life personality, a primal force, a being of pure energy. I was surprised to read that he never had a number 1 hit, but everybody remembers Tutti Frutti, when he sang whop boppa lu bop ba lo bam boom.
This was back in the 50s, when rock was just getting started. It was the time of Elvis, and Buddy Holly. When The Beatles were playing in Hamburg, back when they were The Silver Beatles, probably before Ringo joined the group even, they played as the opening act for Little Richard, and he had a profound effect on their career.
He once said “In ‘I Wanna Hold Your Hand” when Paul McCartney did that ‘Woooooo’, he got that from me,” and he was probably right.
His influence on the music we grew up with was dynamic, was electric, was a kick in the pants to everything that went before it.
He is gone now, but his music, and his spirit, will live forever.