Rasha Ali, USA TODAY
Published 12:43 p.m. ET May 9, 2020 | Updated 7:13 p.m. ET May 9, 2020
Known for hits like “Tutti Frutti” and “Good Golly Miss Molly,” the charismatic star is remembered by music lovers around the world.
Stars took to social media to pay tribute to early rock legend Little Richard, who died at 87 on Saturday.
The genre’s early days were blessed with outsized personalities – Elvis and his shockwave-generating gyrations, super-slick Chuck Berry and the combustible Jerry Lee Lewis – but none as wild as Richard Penniman. Those remembering him Saturday reflected on the “Tutti Frutti” singer’s influence on music as well as his kindness.
In an interview, Richard’s former bass guitarist Charles Glenn, 61, recalled fond memories of playing with the late rock ‘n’ roll legend and says Richard would’ve wanted people to be happy right now, to celebrate, not be sad.
“He was always the most loving person at all times. The guy that we saw on TV, that was (him) 24 hours. People thought it was an act, (but) that was not an act, that was Richard,” Glenn says. “I don’t think anybody can rock ‘n’ roll like Richard… he always made sure to entertain you, even if he was just saying ‘Hello.’ His ‘Hello’ was the most entertaining ‘Hello’ you could ever want to have.”
Fellow rock ‘n’ roll artist Jerry Lewis issued a statement honoring Little Richard.
“He will live on always in my heart with his amazing talent and his friendship! He was one of a kind and I will miss him dearly,” Lewis said.
Former first lady Michelle Obama honored Little Richard’s creativity and wished his family well.
“With his exuberance, his creativity, and his refusal to be anything other than himself, Little Richard laid the foundation for generations of artists to follow. We are so lucky to have had him,” she tweeted. Sending all my love to his family and friends today.”
Spike Lee shared a 90’s Nike commercial he directed that featured Little Richard.
Rolling Stones members Mick Jagger and Keith Richards also paid tribute to the late artist. Jagger called Richard “the biggest inspiration of my early teens.”
Richards wrote: “So sad to hear that my old friend Little Richard has passed. There will never be another!!! He was the true spirit of Rock’n Roll!”
Bob Saget recalled Little Richard’s visit to the “Full House” set back in 1994: “What a fun wonderful week and the outtakes were hilarious. Brief moment for us all but so memorable and he was so kind so full of love. May he Rest In Peace.”
Amazing the Legend and gift to all of us, Little Richard graced the stage of Full House. What a fun wonderful week and the outtakes were hilarious. Brief moment for us all but so memorable and he was so kind so full of love. May he Rest In Peace. pic.twitter.com/hnMuFOAg4Y
— bob saget (@bobsaget) May 9, 2020
Ava DuVernay recalled the performer’s generosity, back when she was working as a waitress.
“I served soul food brunch to Little Richard every Sunday for a year while waitressing at Aunt Kizzy’s Back Porch in LA. I was a college student. He tipped me a crisp $100 bill each week on a $75 breakfast with friends. This was 30 years ago. Helped me so much. God rest his soul,” the “When They See Us” director tweeted.
Chance the Rapper shared that he “randomly” decided to look into Little Richard’s history just recently.
“A couple weeks ago I randomly decided to read up on the legendary Little Richard on wiki. I learned then about how he developed The Beatles and saved The Rolling Stones,” the rapper tweeted. “A little deeper dive finds that when Michael Jackson purchased SonyATV and the Beatles publishing in the 80s he was unaware that it came with Little Richard’s Publishing. He GAVE Richard his publishing back for free worth an estimated 40 million dollars. That’s love.”
Ringo Starr shared an old photo of Little Richard and the Beatles.
Gene Simmons recalled the time he met Little Richard.
“A founding Father of Rock And Roll, his contributions simply can’t be overstated. I had the honor of meeting Richard in his later years and was awed by his presence. He told me, “I am the architect of Rock And Roll.” Amen! ..Rest In Peace,” he tweeted.
News of Richard’s death surfaced shortly after the music world learned that Andre Harrell, an influential music executive who launched Uptown Records and hired Sean “P. Diddy” Combs as an intern, had died at 59.
“Smh. We lost 2 titans in music and culture overnight. As we keep losing our icons, we realize it’s on us who are still here to become the new leaders and continue their work. RIP Andre Harrell and Little Richard. Two TITANS,” wrote rapper Skyzoo, (real name Gregory Skyler Taylor).
Fellow musician and The Beach Boys’ co-founder Brian Wilson also paid tribute to the famed artist.
Chicago-based artist Ric Wilson remarked that other notables like Prince and James Brown wouldn’t have been who they were had it not been for Little Richard.
“Let’s get the facts straight rock and roll & pop music would not be what it is today without Chuck Berry & Little Richard May he Rest In Peace one of the best performers of all time The influencer of James Brown, Prince & MJ & Ric Wilson,” he tweeted.
The iconic rock ‘n’ roll artist even influenced U.S. Senator Tim Kaine.
“I lived in Macon, Georgia for a year and heard so many stories about Little Richard. He was a unique talent – often imitated, never matched,” tweeted Kaine.
Contributing: Ken Barnes
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