little_richard_1957_gq_29oct10_wenn_bIt was the last 15 minutes of a New Orleans recording session on September 14, 1955, and Little Richard had one more song up his sleeve. He had just spent an hour rewriting the lyrics with Dorothy La Bostrie, changing the original “dirty” lyrics from “good booty” to “aw Rudy” at the insistence of his producer, who wanted to get airplay for Richard’s music. They made Rock & Roll history that day, and today we celebrate


Richard Wayne Penniman was born in 1932 in Macon, Georgia, the third of 12 children born to his Church Deacon/bootlegger father Charles and mother Leva Mae.

He was a spirited boy whose wild ways and magnetic attraction to “the wrong kind of music” got him thrown out of the family house by his father, and within weeks he quit high school and began playing Rhythm & Blues with Doctor Hudson’s Medicine Show.

Combining that experience with his early Gospel influences, Richard Penniman forged his own musical style that incorporated R&B, Blues, Boogie Woogie piano, Spirituals and Country Western, and would soon be known as Rock & Roll.

Richard Wayne Penniman would become world famous as Little Richard, the wildest and most entertaining man in show biz. Wop bopa-a-lu a whop bam boom!

•Suggested Activities:  Rocking to the east, rocking to the west.

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