I woke up last weekend to the sad news that the one and only Little Richard had died. On top of a year that hasn’t exactly been on the happy side, 2020 continues to prove that it’s going to be a sad one with the death of everyone’s favorite piano-playing rock and roll power-player.
First of all, let’s just state the obvious: The singer’s name was a complete misnomer. Watch any video of him performing live and you can see right away that there was absolutely nothing “little” about Little Richard. He was a powerhouse, a force of musical nature and incredibly soulful in his delivery style. I mean, he was, perhaps, one of the most-recognizable voices of the ’50s and ’60s; when you hear a Little Richard song, you immediately know you’re hearing a Little Richard song, don’t you?
Not to mention, his songs were some of the greatest in an era marked by the likes of the British Invasion and Motown. We all have a favorite song of his, everything from classics like “Good Golly Miss Molly” to “Long Tall Sally,” and, honestly, his songs are the kind that make you want to tap your feet — that is, if you’re not already up and dancing!
There aren’t many musicians who have the kind of cross-generational appeal that Little Richard had. I vividly remember being around 7 or 8 and my dad setting up these flashing lights so my friends and I could dance around the living room to songs like “Tutti Frutti.” I had no idea what that song title even meant, but that didn’t matter. The song was electric, eclectic and pure exuding energy — just like Little Richard himself. We’d spend hours laughing as we danced around our little apartment, the lights off and the colors of those lights bouncing off the wall as frenetically as the music blaring from the speakers. Honestly, it’s still one of my all-time favorite childhood memories and even some 30 years later, I remember those days as vividly as if they’d just happened yesterday.
Perhaps that’s the mark of a truly great musician. Their music, whether you listened to it yesterday or decades ago, still feels fresh and new. There’s a timeless quality to it that transcends time and space; plus, it’s always there whenever you need it. And, thankfully, those memories are always right there too.
Indeed, music has lost a trailblazing icon. Thank you, Little Richard, for the memories and the music. And, of course, thank you for the moves. They were indeed smooth and timeless. What’s your favorite Little Richard song, friends?? xoxo
P.S. More of my musical favorites…