Music: An Icon Gone

He is being honored as one of, if not the originator of Rock ‘n Roll.

Gone. Little Richard. As my brother Joe posted:

There will be a paaarrrteeee in the Big House tonight!
Rock in Peace, Little Richard!

Paaarteeee! Indeed.

i clearly remember him the first time i saw him: “The Girl Can’t Help It.” i didn’t really forget Jayne Mansfield, but he was so different, so in touch with what i thought Rock ‘n Roll should be. Twelve-year old listening to WLAC blues from 9:00 p.m. to 4:00 am (if i didn’t get caught with the radio under the bed covers after ten) because such music was frowned upon, if not forbidden where i come from but i was enthralled (still am) with the man in that crazy outfit with his leg up on top of the piano beating those keys like he was tenderizing meat and taking us to places where we had never been before and found out it was a place we wanted, maybe even needed to be. There are other stories i shall not share here out of respect for a couple of folks, including the late, great Little Richard himself. And later, he became an outrageous icon for unification of just about every label we have pasted on folks. The simple minded may not have understood, but he was saying to me to treat people as people. And he was doing it with rocking and rhythm outrageous.

But back to the silence. The man, as much as the man could have went into seclusion from Rock ‘n Roll and returned to religion. But he couldn’t stay away. Couldn’t. And there was i, a deejay to pay for the rest of my college because i had blown an opportunity and had to put my shoulder to the wheel and was pushing and astounded at making it happen with being a deejay, a weekend, top-forty rock ‘n roll self-proclaimed warrior amongst other gigs when Okeh records took Little Richard on the rebound.

They call it  a “modest” hit. In 1966 Middle Tennessee, i think “modest” is way over inflated. But there was this one deejay who thought it was great, Little Richard great, maybe even greater, a lesson or two even. He played the “A” side as frequently as he could get away with it.

So i hope, up there at the party, the man who once proclaimed, “If Elvis is the “King of Rock ‘n Roll, I am the Queen,” is singing this song.

And how can you not listen, tap  your feet, feel the beat, laugh, and then learn a few things listening to “Poor Dog,” i mean lines like “it’s a mighty poor dog that can’t wag its own tail” are right on. Right on target.


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