Little Richard: the world of music pays tribute to a rock'n'roll legend

Little Richard
(Image credit: Tom Briglia / Getty Images)

The world of music gas been quick to pay tribute to Little Richard, whose death at the age of 87 was announced yesterday.

Amongst those taking to social media to pay respect to one of rock'n'roll's founding fathers were Paul McCartney, Paul McCartney, Mick Jagger, Bob Dylan, Jimmy Page, Foo Fighters, Bryan Adams, Joan Jett, Kiss, Scorpions and many, many more. 

Paul McCartney: "From Tutti Frutti to Long Tall Sally to Good Golly, Miss Molly to Lucille, Little Richard came screaming into my life when I was a teenager. I owe a lot of what I do to Little Richard and his style; and he knew it. He would say, 'I taught Paul everything he knows'."

Bob Dylan: "I just heard the news about Little Richard and I’m so grieved. He was my shining star and guiding light back when I was only a little boy. His was the original spirit that moved me to do everything I would do.

"I played some shows with him in Europe in the early nineties and got to hang out in his dressing room a lot. He was always generous, kind and humble. And still dynamite as a performer and a musician and you could still learn plenty from him.

"In his presence he was always the same Little Richard that I first heard and was awed by growing up and I always was the same little boy. Of course he’ll live forever. But it’s like a part of your life is gone."

Jimmy Page: "RIP Little Richard, a very sad loss. My thoughts are with his loved ones.⁣ ⁣ It’s Little Richard’s songs that pioneered rock’n’roll. I got to hear him and his band at the Newport Lounge in Miami and boy were they good." ⁣

Keith Richards: "So sad to hear that my old friend Little Richard has passed. There will never be another! He was the true spirit of rock’nroll!"

Mick Jagger: "I’m so saddened to hear about the passing of Little Richard. He was the biggest inspiration of my early teens and his music still has the same raw electric energy when you play it now as it did when it first shot through the music scene in the mid 50s."

Elton John: "Without a doubt - musically, vocally and visually - he was my biggest influence. Seeing him live in my teens was the most exciting event in my life at that point. Goosebumps, electricity and joy came from every pore."

Stevie Van Zandt: "RIP Little Richard. The man who invented It. Elvis popularised it. Chuck Berry was the storyteller. Richard embodied the Spirit of rock'n'roll. Maureen and I were so honoured being the first marriage he conducted. We're lucky to know him. He lives forever in the Underground Garage."

Foo Fighters: "I was once asked, 'If you could meet one person, who would it be?' I always said Little Richard. Because, to me, he was rock'n'roll’s most joyous, rebellious innovator. Thank you for planting that seed, Richard. The world is a much happier place thanks to ur music."

Ronnie Wood: "I shall miss him, God bless Little Richard ~ rest in peace."

Scorpions: "A true icon is gone! With his screaming voice and crazy tunes like Lucille and Tutti Frutti" he inspired not only legends but also some young kids in postwar West Germany who many years later became the Scorpions. RIP Little Ricard Rock on in Heaven."

Vernon Reid: "Richard was Unruly. He was dangerous. He wasn’t cleaned up & repackaged. He was prepared to shock and scandalise, without flinching. He was tormented by what he was capable of. He set the table for all the tortured geniuses to follow. Or fall. Unapologetically."

Patti Smith: "Tutti Frutti exploded when I was eight years old, awakening a positive anarchy in a little girl’s heart. Nothing was the same after hearing his exciting and excitable voice. In 1955 we were stomping in our Buster Brown shoes, and the name of the energy was Little Richard! Farewell voice of an age; he commingles with the firmament now."

Bryan Adams: "RIP Little Richard. Thank you for the amazing inspiration. Good Golly Miss Molly is probably one of the best vocal performances in rock and roll ever. Nobody could sing like him."

Tom Morello: "Little Richard was a performer so riveting, so extraordinary, that Jimi Hendrix was his sideman and James Brown his opening act. Thank you for everything. Thank you for rock'n'roll."

Bob Seger: "So sad to hear the news about Little Richard. He was a real pioneer and one of the greatest voices in rock'n'roll. I remember when they asked me if I was ok with Richard singing Shakedown on the Academy Awards since I wasn't available - are you kidding? I was thrilled and he killed it!"

Joan Jett: "Little Richard was one of the original rock'n'rollers. He was the original glam rocker, and he took a lot of abuse for being in the first wave. He forged a path for all of us who followed."

Iggy Pop: ""Dear Little Richard, thank you. RIP”

Gene Simmons: "Sadly, Little Richard passed away today. A founding father of rock'n'roll his contributions simply can’t be overstated. I had the honour of meeting Richard in his later years and was awed by his presence. He told me, 'I am the architect of rock'n'roll.' Amen! Rest In Peace."

Paul Stanley: "Little Richard was a cornerstone in the very foundation of rock'n'roll. An icon. A songwriter and performer with a personality to match. RIP superstar."

Brad Whitford: "Little Richard stopped playing, looked at me and said 'Don’t be shy now. You wanna sit next to Little Richard while he plays Tutti Frutti?' I said 'Yes sir. I do.' And I did. And it was mind boggling. Like swimming in a fountain of joy. Thank you, sir. Rest In Peace."

Brian Wilson: "I'm very sorry to hear about Little Richard. He was there at the beginning and showed us all how to rock and roll. He was a such a great talent and will be missed. Little Richard’s music will last forever. Love & Mercy, Brian"

Cindy Lauper: "So sad Little Richard passed away. He married my husband and I. He was really one of the truly great rock'n'roll singers and one of the rock'n'roll pioneers. He will be missed."

Robbie Robertson: "Little Richard changed everything for me. When he came over the airwaves the world was never the same."

Richie Sambora: "God bless Little Richard. He started a lot of us out. By listening and watching... thank you. Your passion lives on."

Jeff Tweedy: "'Wasn’t I wonderful?!' — Little Richard, after telling him I loved his show when I met him in the ‘90s. Yes. Yes, you were. Long live Little Richard!"

Jason Isbell: "Little Richard had quite a few great Muscle Shoals musicians in his band for a long time. Those guys were my heroes, and I felt so proud when I saw Richard in concert with my friends backing him up. The father and true king of rock and roll, if you ask me."

Mike Watt: "I believe everyone working in rock'n' roll owes this man Little Richard buttloads - no other way around it... he gave us the go."

Chuck D: "I interviewed Little Richard some years ago he was awesome. There hasn’t been anything close to his volcanic explosion of talent into forming Rock and Roll in the 1950s."

Laura Jane Grace: "News of Little Richard passing is fuckin' depressing. I don’t know what else to say."

Nils Lofgren: "Sing in peace Little Richard. Bless you! No one had a greater hand in creating rock'n'roll, the sacred weapon that continues to heal our troubled world. Eternal love and thanks."

Flea: "The king. The wildest, most outlandish, sexiest rocker to ever strut his stuff has left us. He laid the groundwork of all that was to come, rocked the world, cast the spell, had us in a trance. He scared the parents, inspired the rockers, and radiated an infinite source of light, straight from the divine source. He was himself. R.I.P. Little Richard."

Fraser Lewry

Online Editor at Louder/Classic Rock magazine since 2014. 38 years in music industry, online for 25. Also bylines for: Metal Hammer, Prog Magazine, The Word Magazine, The Guardian, The New Statesman, Saga, Music365. Former Head of Music at Xfm Radio, A&R at Fiction Records, early blogger, ex-roadie, published author. Once appeared in a Cure video dressed as a cowboy, and thinks any situation can be improved by the introduction of cats. Favourite Serbian trumpeter: Dejan Petrović.