The Architect Of Rock & Roll: The Influential Life Of Little Richard

Little Richard, born Richard Wayne Penniman on December 5, 1932, in Macon, Georgia, is the self-proclaimed “Architect of Rock ‘n” Roll” and it’s hard to argue with that moniker.

Throughout his career, Richard inspired some of rocks biggest names while breaking down barriers along the way. With hits that include “Tutti Frutti,” “Good Golly Miss Molly” and “Long Tall Sally,” Richard’s presence as a founder of rock ‘n’ roll music can’t be understated. On May 9, 2020, the 87-year-old rocker died but his legacy lives on. Let’s take a look back at Richard’s life and career along with some classic photos from his life under the spotlight.

Little Richard Was A Vaudeville Performer

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Bill Tompkins/Getty Images
Bill Tompkins/Getty Images

Before the Architect of Rock ‘n’ Roll became a household name throughout the world, Little Richard spent his teen years traveling around the country playing in vaudeville and minstrel shows where he honed what would become his stage presence.

Even after many decades of success, Little Richard seemed most at home in clubs like BB King’s in New York City. The photo above was taken during a performance by the rock superstar in June 2008.