History, Music

Little Richard (1932-2020)

Little Richard tributes from Queen, Bob Dylan, Mick Jagger and ...

“Wop-bop-a-loo-bop-a-wop-bam-boom.” With that opening lyric from his 1955 hit “Tutti Frutti,” Little Richard burst onto the rock ‘n’ roll scene like no one else before or since, influencing almost all who came after him, from Buddy Holly and James Brown, to the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, to David Bowie and Elton John, and beyond. Mick Jagger noted the “raw energy” of Little Richard’s music and Paul McCartney described his influence on the Beatles early in their career when they opened for him in Hamburg, Germany.

Born Richard Penniman, Little Richard passed away from cancer on May 9 at age 87, having stopped performing a few years ago. A charter member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, his string of hits included “Lucille,” “Keep a Knockin’,” “Long, Tall Sally,” “Good Golly Miss Molly,” “Rip it Up,” “She’s Got It,” “Slippin’ and Slidin’,” “The Girl Can’t Help It,”and “Ready Teddy.” The controversially flamboyant performer left rock for bible college, religion, and a return to his gospel music roots for awhile, but continued his forays into rock ‘n’ roll for the remainder of his career. His breakthroughs as an African-American and gay performer gaining acceptance and popularity in the music industry of the 1950s was, in my opinion, as important in his career as his tremendously innovative musical talent. His sexuality resulted in cruel abuse and eventual rejection by his family and peers growing up, and the success of his career represents a true triumph over adversity.

I grew up listening to the music of Little Richard, thanks to my older siblings, and was a teenager during the 50s rock ‘n’ roll revival of the 1970s, of which his music was a huge part, and have most of his early 45s and 78s on the old Specialty label. Dozens of his records are available for immediate download from the Hoopla digital content provider brought to you by our library, including anthologies of his early singles, recordings from his later years, and even his gospel albums. They are all worth a listen, especially for those who haven’t heard them for a while or not at all. There is nothing old fashioned about them. As you listen to his earliest hits, try to imagine the huge impact they had on the music scene of the mid-1950s.

Here are some of the best Little Richard selections available from the Library on Hoopla. Clicking on each link will take you directly to the site page where you may download the album:

https://www.hoopladigital.com/title/12246738 Little Richard

https://www.hoopladigital.com/title/11992205 Here’s Little Richard

https://www.hoopladigital.com/title/11331974 Sings the Gospel

https://www.hoopladigital.com/title/11287944 All-Time Greatest Hits

https://www.hoopladigital.com/title/11229579 Little Richard is Back

https://www.hoopladigital.com/title/11925033 The King of Rock & Roll

https://www.hoopladigital.com/title/12251015 King of the Gospel Singers

https://www.hoopladigital.com/title/11355940 Directly From My Heart

https://www.hoopladigital.com/title/10907798 The Second Coming

https://www.hoopladigital.com/title/10905905 The “Rill” Thing

The Lindenhurst Memorial Library is proud to present a comprehensive and excellent offering of every music genre via the digital service Hoopla, which can be easily accessed on the home page of our website. Downloads are immediate with no waiting time, and are automatically returned after seven days.

To sign up for a Hoopla account through the Library, you will need to enter the email and password connected to your library card, select your home library of Lindenhurst from a drop-down list, and enter your library card barcode. Click here for your library account. If your card has expired, you may click here for a temporary Library card while the Library is closed. For any other issues that arise, please email the Library at info@lindenhurstlibrary.org for help.

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