Little Richard

Icons of the Century

“Awopbopaloobopawopbamboom.”

Fifty years ago last month, Little Richard “got down with it” and cut “Tutti Frutti.”

There is no Greil Marcus book about the session. But it might be the purest, most primal and rebellious rock ‘n’ roll record ever made.

You want impact? Mr. Penniman’s live-show combo of mascara, “WHOOOOOO!!!!” and capes, along with sexlust songs like “The Girl Can’t Help It,” “Lucille,” “Good Golly Miss Molly,” “Keep a Knockin’ ” and any fistful of those 36 sides he made for Specialty Records scared the bejesus out of 1950s America and inspired the Beatles and Bob Dylan to “tell Aunt Mary about Uncle John.”

“Awopbopaloobopawopbamboom!”

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