25 Songs, 57 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Rock’n’roll, gospel, deep soul, punk — it’s all rooted in The Georgia Peach, a Rosetta Stone of rock music. Recorded in Cosimo Matassa’s New Orleans studio and released by Art Rupe’s Los Angeles-based Specialty label, the songs here represent a sanctified collision of rural recklessness and metropolitan catchiness. In short, this is some of the wildest music to ever sneak onto mainstream radio. Forget The Stooges, The Velvet Underground, and everything else — nothing was ever rawer, looser, edgier, or more in-the-red than “Tutti Frutti,” “Lucille,” or “Good Golly Miss Molly.” Backed by a band of fearless New Orleans session players — including Lee Allen on tenor sax and Earl Palmer on drums — Richard could do no wrong, and every one of the early hits contained here is a knockout punch. Of course, the star of the show remains Richard’s searing voice, which slashes across every track as a symbol of all that is fair and mighty in rock music. Herein lies the rock’n’roll doctrine: passion, energy, liberty.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Rock’n’roll, gospel, deep soul, punk — it’s all rooted in The Georgia Peach, a Rosetta Stone of rock music. Recorded in Cosimo Matassa’s New Orleans studio and released by Art Rupe’s Los Angeles-based Specialty label, the songs here represent a sanctified collision of rural recklessness and metropolitan catchiness. In short, this is some of the wildest music to ever sneak onto mainstream radio. Forget The Stooges, The Velvet Underground, and everything else — nothing was ever rawer, looser, edgier, or more in-the-red than “Tutti Frutti,” “Lucille,” or “Good Golly Miss Molly.” Backed by a band of fearless New Orleans session players — including Lee Allen on tenor sax and Earl Palmer on drums — Richard could do no wrong, and every one of the early hits contained here is a knockout punch. Of course, the star of the show remains Richard’s searing voice, which slashes across every track as a symbol of all that is fair and mighty in rock music. Herein lies the rock’n’roll doctrine: passion, energy, liberty.

TITLE TIME

About Little Richard

Many rock 'n' roll hits of the '50s might now sound almost tame. But even decades after they were first pounded out, Little Richard's singles have lost none of their shrieking-and-shouting intensity. And if they still feel like two-minutes-and-change jolts of pure joy today, they were blasts of liberation for teenagers in a decidedly more buttoned-up era. Macon, Georgia’s Richard Wayne Penniman brought the ecstatic belting of Baptist gospel into pop, blending it with the foot-stomping beat of the electrified blues. His gender-bending flamboyance shocked moralists while giving a voice to outsiders, scorching a path toward David Bowie's glam androgyny and Prince's gleefully pansexual revolution; the rip-it-up force of songs like "Lucille" and "Tutti Frutti" carried an unmistakable sexual charge. Those glorious torrents of wop-bop-a-loo-bop were barely concealed code for everything you didn't talk about in polite society, while also hitting you as pure ecstatic pop release. Meanwhile, his cross-cultural popularity was a battering ram against music's ruthlessly enforced racial barriers. Attacking his piano with an infectious sense of mayhem, Little Richard blurs the sacred and the profane into a scandalously beautiful roar.

HOMETOWN
Macon, GA
GENRE
Rock
BORN
December 5, 1932

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