Awopbopaloobop Alopbamboom! – Little Richard 1932 – 2020…

He saw.  He conquered.  We came.

Ever heard of the MultiVerse theory?  Oversimplified, the Multiverse is the sum of all potential parallel universes.   It is a hypothetical construct, elegant in its mathematics.  Some scientists think it is theoretically plausible.

Others dismiss it for lack of any hard evidence.  Obviously they never listened to Little Richard (aka Wayne Penniman).

The first time I saw Richard was on live American TV was the Tennessee Ernie Ford show in 1961.  As I recall he did Lucille.

But I had seen film clips previously.  In particular a clip of “Tutti Frutti”.  At the age of six, I was amazed.  Exhilarated.  After Little Richard,  Sputnik 1 did not seem particularly weird or scary.  The adults may have been scared witless of both.  But that was their problem.

It was only years later that I could articulate in words my initial reaction.  Whiskey Tango Foxtrot !!!

I have no idea of the impact Little Richard had on people in Ireland.  Did the show bands do Little Richard covers?  I do not know.  I do know the man is due buckets of gratitude.  For example,

Little Richard taught Paul McCartney his signature “Wooo,” He was first to hire Jimi Hendrix, gave a young Tina Turner charisma lessons, and out Janis-ed a screaming Janis Joplin at the Atlantic City Pop Festival two weeks before Woodstock in August 1969.

In a 1964 interview, Paul McCartney spoke of how much trouble he had emulating Richard’s songwriting style. “We spent a lot of time trying to write a real corker – something like ‘Long Tall Sally,’” he said. “We are still trying to compose a Little Richard sort of song.”

Paul explained it as much harder than it looks. “It’s very difficult. ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ was the nearest we got to it. I’d liken it to abstract painting. People think of ‘Long Tall Sally’ and say it sounds so easy to write. But it’s the most difficult thing we’ve attempted.”

Like 14 million other people, I was at the Beatles historic (histrionic)  Shea Stadium concert.   Really couldn’t hear much.  But they did do “I’m  Down” On this track, no one had to wonder about the relationship. The singer’s girl had definitely left him.  As for that little symbol of love, that wasn’t coming back, either. “Man buys a ring, the woman throws it away,” Paul sang. (Ouch!) But most important of all was the style. You can’t hear it without thinking of rock’s tiny force of nature — Richard himself.

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