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1986 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Little Richard Onstage at the Induction Ceremony

Little Richard

  • Year:
  • Inducted by:
    Roberta Flack
  • Category:
Little Richard

Hall of Fame Essay


Michael Hill

Richard Penniman wasn’t exactly on top of the world when he sent a demo tape to Art Rupe of Specialty Records in Los Angeles.

He’d had his share of breaks, but none of his rhythm and blues sides had captured the public’s imagination in a big way or revealed any of the gleefully uninhibited vocal style that would become his trademark.

In 1951, as a teenager with gospel training and church-sponsored piano lessons behind him — not to mention the wealth of experience that comes from being thrown out of your own family’s home at age thirteen — Little Richard won an RCA contract at an audition sponsored by Atlanta radio station WGST. From RCA, he moved to Houston in 1952 and joined Don Robey’s Peacock label.

The Program Cover from the 1986 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony
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1986 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Little Richard

He has made an important contribution to our musical culture and history

Roberta Flack

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