Rock and roll pioneer Little Richard, known for his flamboyant attitude and energetic performances, has died at age 87. His son, Danny Penniman, confirmed the news to Rolling Stone, although the cause of death was not revealed.
Born Richard Wayne Penniman, he was responsible for a string of hits that arrived as rock and roll took over popular music in the '50s. Some of his best-known songs from the period include "Long Tall Sally," "Lucille," Good Golly Miss Molly," and "Rip It Up" among others. His immediate style saw him influence a wave of artists, including contemporaries like Elvis Presley and Bill Haley. He could also count the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, and David Bowie, among others as those who had covered his music or named him an influence.
While he would later abandon his signature rock and roll style by the 1960s, the impact he left on popular music was felt for decades after. As Rolling Stone noted, Elton John compared his piano playing to Little Richard in 1973. He was also introduced to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, the inaugural year. He later went on to receive a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 1992, while his song "Tutti Frutti" was added to the National Recording Registry in 2010. His last recorded studio album was a collaboration with Masayoshi Takanaka in 1992.
Rest in peace.