Mick Jagger, Elton John, and Bob Dylan are among the plethora of musicians who paid tribute to the late Little Richard who passed away from bone cancer on Saturday, May 9, 2020.
Richard, full name Richard Penniman, passed away after years of battling poor health, his son Danny Penniman confirmed to Rolling Stone.
In a statement, Richard’s agent, Dick Alen, said, “Little Richard passed away this morning from bone cancer in Nashville.”
“He was battling for a good while, many years. I last spoke to him about two or three weeks ago. I knew he wasn’t well but he never really got into it, he just would say ‘I’m not well.’ “
The star, who scored chart success with his hit “Tutti Frutti”, helped shatter the colour barrier on the music charts, joining Chuck Berry and Fats Domino in bringing what was once called “race music” into the mainstream.
His captivating combination of energetic piano playing, howling vocals and outrageous style made him an implausible sensation, and the first gay, black man celebrated across America for his flamboyance and art.
Following his 1956 breakthrough, Richard served up several more top-selling singles, including “Good Golly Miss Molly”, “Long Tall Sally”, “Slippin’ and Slidin’ “, and “Lucille”.
He also influenced countless stars, from The Beatles to David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, Elton John, and Prince – several of whom paid tribute to the music icon following his sad passing.
“I’m so saddened to hear about the passing of Little Richard, he was the biggest inspiration of my early teens and his music still has the same raw electric energy when you play it now as it did when it first shot through the music scene in the mid 50’s,” Mick Jagger wrote on social media.
“When we were on tour with him I would watch his moves every night and learn from him how to entertain and involve the audience and he was always so generous with advice to me. He contributed so much to popular music. I will miss you Richard, God bless.”
While Keith Richards said, “There will never be another!!! He was the true spirit of Rock’nRoll.”
Elton John added that Richard was “without a doubt – musically, vocally and visually” his biggest influence, noting, “His records still sound fresh and the opening few seconds of ‘Tutti Frutti’ are the most explosive in music history.”
“He was my shining star and guiding light back when I was only a little boy,” added Bob Dylan. “His was the original spirit that moved me to do everything I would do.”
While Paul McCartney admitted, “I owe a lot of what I do to Little Richard and his style; and he knew it. He would say, ‘I taught Paul everything he knows.’ “
And former The Beatles bandmate Ringo Starr wished “peace and love” to one of his “all-time musical heroes.”
Former First Lady Michelle Obama and filmmakers Ava DuVernay and John Waters are among the stars who also shared tributes to the late musician.