Here’s Little Richard!!!!

1955 was the year that Richard Penniman broke out onto the music scene. During the mid-50’s, the music scene was very scattered, with many listeners enjoying the sounds of The Chordettes, Nat King Cole, Perry Como and Frank Sinatra. When Richard delivered his debut musical offering, “Tutti Frutti”, the scene was forever shaken. To many of the young men and women dancing by the jukebox to this song, they were reveling in the birth of a new sound. This sound would forever shape how future musical ideas were molded. This sound was called “rock and roll”.

What made “Tutti Frutti” so impactful  was that it was a performer who emphasized both a commanding voice and sexual allusions, all in the vein of the familiar gospel vocal style that had existed already. Perhaps the most important aspects of his vocal range lied in his improvisations. The song is perhaps best known for the lyric “A-wop-bop-a-loo-bop A-lop-bam-boom!!!” The lyric is meant to imitate the sound effect of a drummer. Subsequent live performances such as in “Don’t Knock the Rock” attest to how well he was able to draw a crowd in. Little Richard went on to dominate the 1950’s with permanent rock and roll staples such as “Long Tall Sally”, “Lucille” and “Good Golly, Miss Molly”

Little Richard’s onstage persona in the late 50’s had an air of confidence and also had the ability to get the masses moving and shaking. In fact it was his huge mark on society that landed him the opportunity to do the title song for the 1956 film “The Girl Can’t Help It” starring Jayne Mansfield and Tom Ewell.

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