Richard Wayne Penniman, better known as “Little Richard,” died on Saturday at his Nashville home. He was 87. Millennials and such may be unaware of the man and the great American music he pioneered.
As the big-band era of the 1940s began to wane, musicians opted for smaller combos. They pounded out a rollicking sound with a heavy backbeat, honking saxophones, percussive pianos, and simple lyrics that lingered in the mind. When Chuck Berry sang “roll over Beethoven, dig these rhythm and blues,” that was the music he was talking about. By the mid-1950s, rhythm and blues had been rebranded as rock and roll, and Little Richard was the king.Read More