Little Richard

Born Dec 5, 1932

Richard Wayne Penniman, known by the stage name Little Richard, is an American singer, songwriter, musician, recording artist, and actor, considered key in the transition from rhythm and blues to rock and roll in the mid-1950s. He was also the first artist to put the funk in the rock and roll beat and contributed significantly to the early development of soul music.… Read More

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1932 Birth Little Richard was born Richard Wayne Penniman on December 5, 1932, in Macon, Georgia. … Read More


1947 - 1948 2 More Events
1950 17 Years Old 1 More Event
After his tenure with the band ended in 1950, Little Richard began performing for various vaudeville groups, including Sugarfoot Sam from Alabam, the Tidy Jolly Steppers, the King Brothers Circus and Broadway Follies, earning a reputation as a drag performer. … Read More
1951 18 Years Old In 1951, Wright put Little Richard in contact with his manager, Zenas Sears, a local deejay. … Read More
1952 19 Years Old Little Richard left RCA Victor in February 1952 after his records failed to catch on. … Read More


1953 - 1955 2 More Events
…  During Little Richard's show at Baltimore's Royal Theatre in June 1956, several fans had to be restrained from jumping off the balcony. … Read More
In May 1957, Specialty Records released Little Richard's first album, which contained six single recordings that had already been hits on the charts. … Read More
1959 26 Years Old They began dating that year and wed in July 1959. … Read More
1962 29 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1962, concert promoter Don Arden persuaded Little Richard to tour Europe after telling him his records were still selling well there. … Read More


1963 30 Years Old Campbell claimed when the marriage ended in divorce in 1963, it was due to Little Richard's celebrity status, noting that it had made life difficult for her.
1964 31 Years Old 1 More Event
…  In 1964, Little Richard returned briefly to Specialty and recorded five songs, including the charted single, "Bama Lama Bama Loo", which reached the top 20 in the UK but only number 82 in the US. … Read More
1965 32 Years Old Little Richard and Hendrix clashed over tardiness, wardrobe and Hendrix's stage antics, and as a result, in July 1965, Little Richard's brother Robert fired Hendrix. … Read More
1966 33 Years Old 1 More Event
He left that label in early 1966 for Okeh Records.
1967 - 1969 3 More Events
1970 37 Years Old Little Richard signed with Reprise Records in 1970, releasing the album The Rill Thing, which included the chart-making singles "Freedom Blues" and "Greenwood, Mississippi". … Read More


1973 40 Years Old In 1973, Richard made a spectacular contribution to the critically acclaimed documentary "Let The Good Times Roll", and he was given a full album side in a two-disc soundtrack album from the film, which charted. … Read More
1977 44 Years Old 1 More Event
Following over ten years of drug and alcohol abuse and a string of recent personal tragedies, Little Richard quit rock and roll music again in 1977 and returned to evangelism, releasing one gospel album, God's Beautiful City, in 1979.


1984 51 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1984, Little Richard filed a $112 million lawsuit against Specialty Records; Art Rupe and his publishing company, Venice Music; and ATV Music for not paying him royalties after he left the label in 1959. … Read More
1985 - 1989 2 More Events
1990 57 Years Old In 1990, Little Richard contributed a spoken-word rap on Living Colour's hit song, "Elvis Is Dead", from their album Time's Up. … Read More
1992 59 Years Old 1 More Event
He also recorded a rock and roll version of "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" that year that led to a deal with Disney Records, resulting in the release of a hit 1992 children's album, Shake It All About. … Read More


1993 - 2008 6 More Events
2010 77 Years Old 1 More Event
In June 2010, Little Richard recorded a gospel track for an upcoming tribute album to songwriting legend Dottie Rambo. … Read More
Rolling Stone reported that at a performance at the Howard Theater in Washington, D.C., in June 2012, Little Richard was "still full of fire, still a master showman, his voice still loaded with deep gospel and raunchy power."
2013 80 Years Old 1 More Event
In 2013, Little Richard elaborated on his spiritual philosophies, stating "God talked to me the other night. … Read More
2014 81 Years Old In 2014, actor Brandon Mychal Smith won critical acclaim for his portrayal of Little Richard in the James Brown biographical drama film Get on Up. … Read More
2015 82 Years Old 1 More Event
…  In 2015, the National Museum of African American Music honored Little Richard with a Rhapsody & Rhythm Award for his pivotal role in the formation of popular music genres and in helping to shatter the color line on the music charts, changing American culture significantly.
2016 83 Years Old In May 2016, the National Museum of African American Music issued a press release indicating that Little Richard was one of the key artists and music industry leaders that attended its 3rd annual My Music Matters Legends Luncheon in Nashville honoring Shirley Caesar, Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff with Rhapsody & Rhythm Awards.
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