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At A Glance
Richard Wayne Penniman, better known as Little Richard, the self-proclaimed "Architect of Rock 'N Roll", traveled in his early days with the legendary vaudeville star Spencer "Snake" Anthony. One of Richard's early bands had the young, then unknown singer James Brown (the Godfather of Soul), a fourteen-year-old keyboardist named Billy Preston, and the famous and legendary Rock guitarist Jimi Hendrix. His first recording session took place at WGST in Atlanta, Georgia, USA; he was backed by a local band led by Billy Wright. This session produced a local hit called "Every Hour" which enjoyed heavy airplay on Atlanta's WERD radio station which was the first completely Black-owned radio station in the United States. Little Richard, backed up by his idol Billy Wright once referred to him as the most fantastic entertainer he had ever seen. Indeed, it was Wright who used a makeup called Pancake 31. Little Richard admitted to copying Wright's penchant for heavy makeup and wild stage theatrics. With a public persona and personal life marked by sexual ambiguity, he would make his mark with later hits such as the suggestive "Tutti Frutti" and "Good Golly Miss Molly". Unbeknownst to many fans, Richard overcame a debilitating drug habit and eventually became an ordained minister. Beginning in the 1980s he saw a resurgence in his popularity as he acquired small acting roles where he impressed fans, old and new, with his unique comedic timing. As versatile and ageless as ever, Little Richard continues to delight fans the world over with his extraordinary stage presence and flamboyant antics. Now inducted into the Rock 'N Roll Hall of Fame, he remains one of the most popular entertainers in the world.
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