DEAD: Little Richard (aged 87)
American pianist, singer and songwriter
Richard Wayne Penniman (December 5, 1932 – May 9, 2020), better known as Little Richard, was an American singer, songwriter, and musician. An influential figure in popular music and culture for seven decades, Penniman’s most celebrated work dates from the mid-1950s, when his charismatic showmanship and dynamic music, characterized by frenetic piano playing, pounding back beat and raspy shouted vocals, laid the foundation for rock and roll. Penniman’s innovative emotive vocalizations and uptempo rhythmic music also played a key role in the formation of other popular music genres, including soul and funk, respectively. He influenced numerous singers and musicians across musical genres from rock to hip hop; his music helped shape rhythm and blues for generations to come, and his performances and headline-making thrust his career right into the mix of American popular music.
DEATH: Little Richard’s death on May 9, 2020, was confirmed by his son, Danny Penniman. The cause was not disclosed.