Little Richard, an incredibly successful composer, singer, musician, and a major personality in the world of rock-n-roll, was born on 5th December in the year 1932 in a big family. He had 11 siblings. Richard Wayne Penniman, which is the real name of the singer, was born and spent his childhood in the city of Macon, Georgia, with a population of some 150,000 inhabitants.

An interesting fact is that he should have been initially called as Ricardo, but due to the error he got a name Richard. His father was a deacon, while his mother was a member of the city’s Baptist church. Already at that time, little Richard relished the live music in churches that inspired him.

Career Experience

Little Richard started to record first his music in the period between 1951 and 1953 for Peacock and RCA Records. It comes as a no surprise that his first songs, which were a mix of boogie-woogie and R&B, had a shade of gospel music. Little Richard experienced a major turn in his career in 1955, when he signed a contract with Specialty Records. In the studio of that label, he recorded the song “Tutti Frutti”, which immediately appeared on the tops of ratings. This song was a result of improvisation and brought an incredible fame to the performer.

Following this amazing success, Little Richard recorded such songs as “Long Tall Sally” (1956), “She’s Got It” (1956), “Lucille” (1957), “Keep A-Knockin’” (1957), all of which turned into classic hits of rock-n-roll. Besides, Little Richard has been always convinced that exactly he was the architect of rock-n-roll, and many times he called himself as a King of Rock-n-Roll.

While having a music tour in Australia in 1957, he suddenly announced that he puts an end to his musical career and will sacrifice his life to Christianity. In the period between 1958 and 1962, he recorded nothing but church hymns. Yet, he took a decision to renew his career in rock-n-roll by starting a music tour in Europe. During his career, he several times more stepped off but later returned to the rock-n-roll music.

Little Richard was so popular even at the beginning of his career that James Brown, a highly popular singer and musician who not so long ago met his death, pretended to be him. It was possible because they had a mutual agent. Little Richard also starred in a number of movies.

In 2016, the net worth of Little Richard amounted $40 million.

Personal life

An ironical part is that Little Richard acquainted his wife, Ernestine Campbell, at an evangelic mass in 1957. Later, in 1959, the couple got married. However, they divorced in 1963, and his wife claimed that it happened because Little Richard was a celebrity, which made her life harder since her husband neglected many things.

The couple had no children, but Little Richard in 1962 adopted a son, who had aged one year old then. Now, they are in close relationship, and Danny Jones, so is his name, frequently works as Little Richard’s bodyguard.


It is hard to assemble even the single list of all his songs, but his career includes more than a dozen of sessions. Moreover, such hits like “Slippin’ and Slidin’” (1956), “Ready Teddy” (1956), “Send Me Some Lovin’” (1957), “Good Golly, Miss Molly” (1958), “Shake a Hand” (1959), “Whola Lotta Shakin’” (1959), and others will always remain in the history and heritage of rock-n-roll. His latest single he recorded in 1991.

Last Modified: Apr 7, 2020

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