Richard Wayne Penniman (born December 5, 1932), known by his stage name Little Richard, is an American recording artist, songwriter and musician. He has been an influential figure in popular music and culture for more than six decades. Little Richard's most celebrated work dates from the mid-1950s, when his dynamic music and charismatic showmanship laid the foundation for rock and roll. His music also had a pivotal impact on the formation of other popular music genres, including soul and funk. Little Richard influenced numerous singers and musicians across musical genres from rock to hip-hop; his music impacted the Rhythm and Blues era for future generations to come, and his performances and headline-making thrust his career right into the mix of American popular music.
Little Richard has been honored by many institutions, including inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He is the recipient of Lifetime Achievement Awards from The Recording Academy and the Rhythm and Blues Foundation. Little Richard's "Tutti Frutti" (1955) was included in the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry in 2010, claiming the "unique vocalizing over the irresistible beat announced a new era in music."
By Dean Hanley
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