“My legacy,” Little Richard told Rolling Stone Magazine in 2013, “should be that when I started in show business there was no such thing as rock ‘n’ roll.”
When he died on May 9, 2020, Little Richard was universally acclaimed as one of the most influential founding fathers of rock ‘n’ roll.
Gay, Black, flamboyant and uninhibited, Little Richard, Professor W.T. Lhamon has written, embodied “the repressed stuff of underground lore.”
By the early ’50s, Little Richard had his own band, The Upsetters, and a modest hit, “Every Hour.”
Although he was not, at least in the mainstream media, perceived as a dangerous Black man or gay, Little Richard was ambivalent about his sexuality and inclined to give credence to critics who claimed rock ‘n’ roll encouraged hedonistic, licentious behavior.