Richard Wayne Penniman (December 5, 1932 - May 9, 2020), known by his stage name Little Richard, was an American recording artist, songwriter and musician.

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 played a key role in 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 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of its initial class of inductees in 1986, 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." In 2015, the National Museum of African American History and Culture honored Little Richard for his pivotal role in the formation of popular music genres and in helping to shatter the color line on the music charts changing American culture forever.


"The Emancipator of Rock and Roll," Little Richard, kicked off WrestleMania X with America the Beautiful.


On May 9, 2020, Penniman died at the age of 87 in Tennessee. The cause of death was revealed to be bone cancer. At the time of his death, he was living with his brother in Nashville, Tennessee.

External links

Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.