He sold over 30 million records during his life-time and will be forever immortalized as the performer who made “Tutti Frutti” a household word. Little Richard passed away at his family’s home in Tullahoma over the weekend. He was 87 and succumbed following a battle with bone cancer. He had resided in this area for some time after announcing his retirement from the music industry in 2002.
His classic "Tutti Frutti" in 1956, which sold one million record its first year, was one of many top-selling songs that landed him atop the Billboard charts as that was followed by the likes of “Lucille,” “Keep a Knockin’,” “Long Tall Sally” and “Good Golly Miss Molly.”
Richard Penniman was born in Macon, Georgia, one of 12 children growing up in the Great Depression. He began performing when he was 14.
Little Richard is credited with being one of the innovators who helped break the racial barriers, making his rhythm and blues classics mainstream hits. He was recognized for his life-time achievements by becoming a charter member of the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame alongside performers including Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and Jerry Lee Lewis in 1986. He also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
While “retiring” from the music industry in 2002, Little Richard could be seen on various mediums, including a well-known Geico commercial which first aired in 2006.