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RIP Richard Penniman aka "Little Richard"

al mcguire

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A-wop-bom-a-loo-mop-a-lomp-bom-bom. Little Richard wrote the greatest (maybe the first) rock & roll lyric to describe a drum fill he wanted. Or – depends when you asked him – it was how he talked back to his boss as a dishwasher at the Macon Greyhound station. Hearing a hit in the frustrated number Richard pounded out during a break in an unproductive recording session, producer Bumps Blackwell hired songwriter Dorothy LaBostrie to temper the original lyrics' lip-smacking celebration of "good booty" and helpful butt-sex instructions ("If it don't fit, don't force it/You can grease it, make it easy"). "Tutti-Frutti" may have been modified from "explicit" to "suggestive," but Richard's lustfully tumbling onomatopoeia still voiced a carnal glee far beyond the reach of any dictionary words  – when he lands on the last two syllables you can practically hear the bodies slapping against each other.





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An innovator and original who helped forge what was to become “Rock & Roll”. I treasure my work experience with Mr Penniman on “Down and Out in Beverly Hills”. Cheers to the “ ‘King and Queen’ of Rock&Roll”. Thanks for all you gave us.



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