Little Richard Fast Facts

Here is a look at the life of self-proclaimed "Architect of Rock 'n' Roll" Little Richard....

Posted: Dec 3, 2018 5:44 PM
Updated: Dec 3, 2018 5:44 PM

Here is a look at the life of self-proclaimed "Architect of Rock 'n' Roll" Little Richard.

Birth date: December 5, 1932

Arts and entertainment



Little Richard


North America

Southeastern United States

United States

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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

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University System of Georgia

Macon State College

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Birth place: Macon, Georgia

Birth name: Richard Wayne Penniman

Father: Charles Penniman

Mother: Leva Mae Penniman

Marriage: Ernestine Campbell (1959-1961, divorced)

Children: Danny, adopted (date unavailable publicly, now an adult)

Education: Attended Oakwood College (now Oakwood University), Huntsville, Alabama.

Other Facts:
As a teenager, he traveled across Georgia with vaudeville and minstrel shows.

His stage name "Little Richard" came from the time he spent performing with a troupe called B. Brown and his Orchestra.

Jimi Hendrix and Billy Preston were both backing musicians for him.

The lyrics for "Tutti Frutti" were changed due to the obscene nature of the original words penned by Little Richard.

He is known to have influenced Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger, and credits black gospel artists for his singing style.

Elvis Presley, Pat Boone and the Beatles all covered his songs. Some were bigger hits than the recordings by Little Richard himself.

He may be as famous for his pounding piano style, pompadour hairdo, makeup and outrageous antics on stage as he is for his music.

He is a Seventh-day Adventist but has also been a member of the Church of God. He has stated that "there are good people in all churches."


1951 - Wins a talent contest in Atlanta which leads to a recording contract with RCA.

September 1955 - At a recording studio in New Orleans, he records "Tutti Frutti."

1956 - Elvis Presley performs "Tutti Frutti" twice on national television.

1957 - Announces that he is quitting rock and roll to devote his life to God.

1960 - Releases three gospel albums.

November 1962 - While on tour in Germany, he shares the stage with an unknown band called the Beatles.

1963 - Tours with the Rolling Stones, Bo Didley and the Everly Brothers.

1984 - Little Richard is inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, and his authorized biography, "The Life and Times of Little Richard" is released.

October 8, 1985 - Suffers a badly fractured right leg that requires a steel rod to be surgically implanted.

January 23, 1986 - As rock history's pioneer artists, Little Richard, Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and James Brown are inducted into the debut class of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

December 1987 - Presides over a second wedding ceremony for actors Bruce Willis and Demi Moore.

February 7, 1989 - Georgia Representative Billy Randall introduces a resolution to make "Tutti-Frutti" the official state rock and roll song. It does not pass.

June 21, 1990 - A star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is placed in his honor.

1992 - Releases a children's album, "Shake It All About."

1993 - Receives a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award.

January 19, 1993 - Performs "Good Golly Miss Molly" at President Bill Clinton's inaugural gala.

February 20, 2000 - NBC airs the biopic, "Little Richard."

2003 - Is inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

November 2008 - Rolling Stone Magazine places him at number 12 on their list of the 100 greatest singers.

2009 - Hip surgery leaves him in chronic pain after surgeons are unable to remove a broken bone.

October 2012 - At 79 years-old, he plays a 90-minute show at the Pensacola Interstate Fair.

2013 - In a Rolling Stone interview, he claims he is finished making music.

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