[[caption-width-right:350:Good Golly, Mr Richard!]]

->''A whop bop-a-lu bop a whop bam boom!''
-->-- "Tutti Frutti"

Richard Wayne Penniman (better known as Little Richard, born 5 December 1932 in Macon, Georgia) is an American singer, songwriter and pianist who proclaims himself as "the architect of RockAndRoll". One of the few artists active in TheFifties whose mass popularity approached that of Music/ElvisPresley, Little Richard remains one of the most important figures in the history of rock music, and few would dispute him the title.

Born to a gospel-singing family, Richard Penniman learned to play saxophone in school, and began his career in music in his teens, when he became an impromptu opening act for the visiting gospel star Sister Rosetta Tharpe when she performed in the theatre where he was a part-time concessions salesman. He did some time on the Chitlin' Circuit, first as a female impersonator ("Princess Lavorne") and then as a member of a jump blues group called the Tempo Toppers, learned to play boogie-woogie piano from the flamboyant rock and roller Esquerita and recorded a few minor singles for small independent labels that had some regional success, but ultimately went nowhere.

Richard was working as a dishwasher in a bus station when he was discovered by Art Rupe, owner of Specialty Records, who teamed him with songwriters like John Marascalco and record producer Bumps Blackwell in the hopes of creating a viable rival to Music/RayCharles. Richard recorded a string of hits, including "Tutti Frutti", "Good Golly Miss Molly" and "Long Tall Sally" and starred in rock and roll films around the same time teenagers were recognised as a whole new demographic. His performances were famously wild and frenetic, his personality flamboyant to an extreme, and his playing style, incorporating boogie-woogie influences, {{Funk}} rhythms and raw, energetic vocals, made Richard a huge hit with his audiences.

Things changed in 1957, when Richard, at the height of his success, announced that he was quitting rock and roll, and subsequently entered a seminary to become a priest. The precise reason for his decision isn't entirely clear, but the most common story is that Richard experienced a [[DreamingOfThingsToCome prophetic dream]] about the [[ApocalypseHow end of the world]], just before learning about the launch of the Soviet satellite Sputnik, compounded by a vision of angels supporting the wings of his plane to Australia when he thought it was crashing. He didn't quit music altogether though, and went back to his gospel roots for several albums.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, he mounted several comeback attempts on a variety of labels, including Vee-Jay (with whom he had the hit "I Don't Know What You Got (But It's Got Me)", featuring the guitar playing of an obscure young session musician called Music/JimiHendrix), Modern, Okeh and Reprise, though many of his efforts were just re-recordings of his Specialty hits. Eventually, after oscillating between his roles as a reverend and a rocker for nearly 20 years, he reconciled himself to rock and roll in the late 1980s, declaring that it could be used for good as well as evil.

[[LongRunners And he is still going strong to this day.]]

His song ''Tutti Frutti'' was inducted in the UsefulNotes/NationalRecordingRegistry in 2010.

!!Studio and Live Discography:

* 1957 - ''Music/HeresLittleRichard''
* 1958 - ''Little Richard''
* 1959 - ''The Fabulous Little Richard''
* 1960 - ''Pray Along With Little Richard''
* 1960 - ''Pray Along With Little Richard Volume 2''
* 1962 - ''The King Of The Gospel Singers''
* 1964 - ''Little Richard Is Back (And There's A Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On!)''
* 1965 - ''Little Richard's Greatest Hits'' (re-recorded versions of his Specialty hits for Vee-Jay)
* 1966 - ''The Incredible Little Richard Sings His Greatest Hits Live!'' (more re-recorded versions of his Specialty hits for Modern)
* 1966 - ''The Wild And Frantic Little Richard''
* 1967 - ''The Explosive Little Richard''
* 1967 - ''Little Richard's Greatest Hits: Recorded Live!'' (''even more'' re-recorded versions of his Specialty hits for Okeh)
* 1970 - ''The Rill Thing''
* 1971 - ''Mr. Big'' (Vee-Jay recordings from 1964-1965)
* 1971 - ''The King Of Rock And Roll''
* 1972 - ''The Second Coming''
* 1972 - ''Friends From The Beginning Little Richard And Jimi Hendrix'' [[note]]Allegedly a collaboration with Music/JimiHendrix. Generally considered to be a hoax.[[/note]]
* 1973 - ''Right Now!''
* 1974 - ''Talkin' Bout Soul'' (''more'' leftovers from the Vee-Jay archives)
* 1976 - ''Little Richard Live''
* 1979 - ''God's Beautiful City''
* 1986 - ''Lifetime Friend''
* 1992 - ''Shake It All About'' (an album of children's songs recorded for Creator/{{Disney}})
* 2005 - ''Southern Child'' [[note]]Recorded in 1972[[/note]]

!! Ready, Teddy, for these tropes?:

* AmbiguouslyGay and/or AmbiguouslyBi: Little Richard's sexual orientation has been debated for more than half a century. The singer himself has described himself as gay in some interviews, but has also named himself an "omnisexual" in other interviews, while also going through a notorious phase of very public homophobia in the 1980s. Nevertheless his outrageously effeminate stage presence is part of his public persona and made him a gay icon all the same.
* CoolOldGuy: He's now in his eighties and still sounds as good as he did in the 1950s. [[OlderThanTheyLook Not to mention the man looks damn good for his age.]]
* DancingIsSeriousBusiness: Sang and danced as he played piano with an energy that influenced Music/JamesBrown, Music/MichaelJackson, Music/TheBeatles, Music/TheRollingStones, Music/DavidBowie, Music/{{Queen}}, Music/LouReed,... among others.
* IAmTheBand: Little Richard always performs with a band, but he is the star of the show.
* IntercourseWithYou: What else do you assume "Slippin' and Slidin'" is about?
* LastOfHisKind: With the deaths of Music/ChuckBerry and Music/FatsDomino in 2017, Little Richard is essentially the last of the rock n roll pioneers who is still both alive and performing.
* LongRunners: Little Richard started in TheFifties, and is still going strong live to this day.
* LyricalColdOpen: "Tutti Frutti" has one of the most famous examples of this trope ever. "A whop bop-a-lu bop, a whop bam boom!"
* LyricalTic: He loves his "Whooooooh!"s and "Ah Hoooooooo!"s.
** He also elongates his "i"s into a falsetto. [[Music/{{Aerosmith}} Steven Tyler]] seems to have borrowed this from him.
* MundaneMadeAwesome: Only Little Richard could make stupid words like "A-Wop Bop-A-Lula A Whop Bam Boom" and "Tutti Frutti" awesome as hell!
* MusicOfNote: You can't talk about rock 'n' roll in the 1950s without mentioning him, Music/ElvisPresley, Music/ChuckBerry, Music/BuddyHolly and/or Music/JerryLeeLewis.
* TheMoralSubstitute: His gospel recordings, as well as Pat Boone's cover versions of some of his early hits.
* OlderThanTheyLook: Sure, he got cosmetic surgery, but [[http://www.bing.com/getimage?q=FCLB_9c91b5bb-327f-36c5-cd5f-9d2b55aafd48_2&wf=Genimage it seemed to have gone well.]] He pretty much ''defines'' this trope. You would need to see his birth certificate to be convinced he's ''83.''
* OneWomanSong: "Good Golly Miss Molly," "Long Tall Sally," "Miss Ann," "Lucille," "Jenny, Jenny," "The Girl Can't Help It."
* RhymingWithItself: "Jenny, Jenny."
* RockAndRoll: One of the pioneers of the genre. His song "Ready Teddy" informs us he's "ready to rock 'n' roll!"
* SexDrugsAndRockAndRoll: He had a very hard-partying lifestyle in the 1950s, but he obviously stopped later on.
* ShoutOut:
** On ''Music/FreakOut'' Music/FrankZappa mentions in the liner notes that ''Wowie Zowie'' is a song Little Richard likes. The singer obviously never heard Zappa's album, by the way.
** "Speed King" on ''Music/DeepPurpleInRock'' is a shout-out to several Little Richard songs. The lyrics reference "Good Golly Miss Molly", "Lucille", "Tutti Frutti" and "Rip It Up".
* SignatureStyle: A mixture of boogie-woogie piano playing with funk rhythms and raspy vocals, or alternatively, "[[WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy piano riff WOO!]]".
* SnakeOilSalesman: He worked for a travelling medicine show when he was a teenager. His job was to scream, sing and leap around the stage to attract a crowd and demonstrate the "results" of the stuff the salesman was pushing.
* ThreeChordsAndTheTruth: Almost all of his music was twelve-bar blues.