Little Richard Dead: Richard Wayne Penniman Has Passed Away

Horace Clarke Death

Little Richard Dead – American musician, singer, and songwriter, Richard Wayne Penniman popularly know has Little Richard has passed away. He died on May 9, 2020 according to wikipedia.

Richard Wayne Penniman was born in Macon, Georgia, on December 5, 1932, the third of 12 children of Leva Mae (née Stewart) and Charles “Bud” Penniman. His father was a church deacon and a brick mason, who sold bootlegged moonshine on the side and owned a nightclub called the Tip In Inn. His mother was a member of Macon’s New Hope Baptist Church. Initially, his first name was supposed to have been “Ricardo”, but an error resulted in “Richard” instead.

The Penniman children were raised in a neighborhood of Macon called Pleasant Hill. In childhood, he was nicknamed “Lil’ Richard” by his family because of his small and skinny frame. A mischievous child who played pranks on neighbors, Penniman began singing in church at a young age. Possibly as a result of complications at birth, he had a slight deformity that left one of his legs shorter than the other. This produced an unusual gait, and he was mocked for his allegedly effeminate appearance.

Penniman’s family was very religious and joined various A.M.E., Baptist, and Pentecostal churches, with some family members becoming ministers. He enjoyed the Pentecostal churches the most, because of their charismatic worship and live music. He later recalled that people in his neighborhood sang gospel songs throughout the day during segregation to keep a positive outlook, because “there was so much poverty, so much prejudice in those days”. He had observed that people sang “to feel their connection with God” and to wash their trials and burdens away. Gifted with a loud singing voice, Penniman recalled that he was “always changing the key upwards” and that he was once stopped from singing in church for “screaming and hollering” so loud, earning him the nickname “War Hawk”. As a child, he would “beat on the steps of the house, and on tin cans and pots and pans, or whatever” while singing, which annoyed neighbors.

Penniman’s initial musical influences were gospel performers such as Brother Joe May, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Mahalia Jackson, and Marion Williams. May, a singing evangelist who was known as “the Thunderbolt of the Middle West” because of his phenomenal range and vocal power, inspired Penniman to become a preacher. He credited the Clara Ward Singers for his distinctive holler. Penniman attended Macon’s Hudson High School, where he was a below-average student. He eventually learned to play alto saxophone, joining his school’s marching band while in fifth grade. While in high school, he got a part-time job at Macon City Auditorium for local secular and gospel concert promoter Clint Brantley. He sold Coca-Cola to crowds during concerts of star performers of the day such as Cab Calloway, Lucky Millinder, and his favorite singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

Friends and Family has took to social media to mourn the passing of their beloved one;

Various Award Acquired by Little Richard.

Although Penniman never won a competitive Grammy Award, he received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993. His album Here’s Little Richard and three of his songs (“Tutti Frutti,” “Lucille” and “Long Tall Sally”) are inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame.

Penniman has received the various awards for his key role in the formation of popular music genres.

  • 1956: He received the Cashbox Triple Crown Award for “Long Tall Sally” in 1956.
  • 1984: He was inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame.
  • 1986: He was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the initial class of inductees chosen for that honor.
  • 1990: He received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • 1994: He received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.
  • 1997: He received the American Music Award of Merit.
  • 2002: Along with Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley, he was honored as one of the first group of BMI icons at the 50th Annual BMI Pop Awards.
  • 2002: He was inducted into the NAACP Image Award Hall of Fame.
  • 2003: He was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
  • 2006: He was inducted into the Apollo Theater Hall of Fame.
  • 2008: He received a star on Nashville’s Music City Walk of Fame.
  • 2009: He was inducted to the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame.
  • 2010: He received a plaque on the theater’s Walk of Fame.
  • 2015: He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.
  • 2015: He was inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Music Hall of Fame.
  • 2015: He received the Rhapsody & Rhythm Award from the National Museum of African American Music.
  • 2019: He received the Distinguished Artist Award at the 2019 Tennessee Governor’s Arts Awards.

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