He was The cause of death was bone cancer, according to his lawyer, Bill Sobel. Jerry Lee is a very intricate piano player and very skillful, but Little Richard is more of a pounder. Richard was the archetype. He was the first. To be able to be that uninhibited back then, you had to have a lot of not-give-a-fuck. Born Richard Wayne Penniman on December 5th, , in Macon, Georgia, he was one of 12 children and grew up around uncles who were preachers. I never heard nobody do it, and I was scared.
Class of 1986
At the age of 13 Richard was ordered to move out of the family home, and his relationship with his father was never repaired. When Richard was 19, his father was shot dead outside a local bar. The childhood that Richard did manage to have was largely shaped by the church. Two of his uncles, as well as his grandfather, were preachers, and Richard was involved with the church as much as anyone in his family, singing gospel and eventually learning to play the piano. In Richard caught his first major break when a performance at an Atlanta radio station yielded a record contract with RCA. But as his success soared, Little Richard, fueled by his earlier connections to the church, saw his doubts about rock deepen. In he abruptly and publicly quit performing rock and committed himself to the ministry and recording gospel songs.
He was Chuck Berry and Fats Domino had reached the pop Top 10, Bo Diddley had topped the rhythm-and-blues charts, and Elvis Presley had been making records for a year. But Little Richard, delving deeply into the wellsprings of gospel music and the blues, pounding the piano furiously and screaming as if for his very life, raised the energy level several notches and created something not quite like any music that had been heard before — something new, thrilling and more than a little dangerous.