Saturday, May 9, 2020

The Architect of Rock and Roll

Little Richard performs at KABC in Los Angeles on Dec. 12, 1991.
Sad news about Little Richard today. They broke the mold when they made him. He literally changed everything about music.

I have two Little Richard stories. One was in high school. We used to play music over the intercoms before school and during lunch. One time I raided my mom's 45s collection and brought in Little Richard's Tutti Frutti. I was playing the record and it got the beginning of the second verse where he says "Womp-Bomp A-Loo-Bomp A-Lomp Bomp Bomp!" for the second time and it blew the whole system. To this day I tell people it was the power of that record. It was recorded so loud and sounded so good, that the little turntable in the intercom room couldn't handle it.

Fast forward to 1991. I was working at a music store in Los Angeles called West L.A. Music. It was my first job post graduation and I was the marketing/PR guy. We had a relationship with KLOS where whenever they had musical guests on, I would take equipment they could use for free in exchange for a plug for our store. It was a win-win for us because we got access to the artists and the station got free gear on loan. Their sister station, KABC called me and asked if I could bring a keyboard for Little Richard to use. It was for Michael Jackson's (the radio host, not the singer) 25th anniversary party on the air at KABC.

I was thrilled. I had always loved Little Richard and recognized the huge influence he had on all of the music I liked. I had some time pre-show to chat with him and his cousin (who was there with him) and they couldn't have been nicer. I told him the story about the blown record player at my school and he laughed that laugh you've heard if you've ever heard an interview with him. This picture is from that event. I sat on the ground next to Little Richard while he played.

R.I.P. Little Richard. The Architect of Rock and Roll.

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