There is no God but Little Richard! And, back the day, there was no music my poor, not quite yet so ol’ mother hated more than his, so naturally he was my favorite. Read mo’..
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Neither of us had any idea he was gay until he appeared on Johnny Carcinogen with Ed McMayhem in the late ’60s flirting with and devastating a dumbfounded Don Rickles in the process with his outrageous process and lime green attire.
My mom’s world had been in a post-war, Worry World 3’ll be here any minute, daffy duck and cover, Perry Coma and Doris Day-job mode for a short forever, when St. Little launched his crazy ass across the screen infronta kiddio’s lucky enuff to commandeer the TV set and be-in in the theater while he was screamin’ his lungs out this bran’ new brand of WTF? way over the Big Top Rock ‘n’ Roll. He wuz louder than a giant gaggle of Civil Offensive sirens designed and resigned to test our little testes (and breasties) in case the Ruskies were ever found to be on the way over. They never did come, but all those kids were freaked from ducking down under the covers and then there was the psychological fallout just from the idea of atomic bomb shelters. Who needed aliens when you had so many alienated youth?
The second 45 I bought brand new as a little rock ‘n’ roll bambino was, no shit, “Oh My Soul” / “True Fine Mama,” still my favorite L.R. single. “TFM” had brilliant lyrics in the chorus–just the word “Baby” shouted 24 times in a row, proving that Richard was the also the inventor of “minimalism,” long before the classical kitties got on the bandwagon. (As far as minimalist composers, the less said about them, the better). Meanwhile, back at the rant–I had records, a record player and a volume knob I never turned down lower than all the way up. I wore that 45 out, but la little bit later on, found sweet copies of the 45 and the 78, plus I got it on his original LP, so I’m covered and cool and done with high on Little Richard High School.
The grown ups got fed up and fast with the likes of Sir Richard the Chitlin’-Hearted eve sooner than Fats or some of the white cats like Elvis and Pattycakes Boone, so the vintage film is all from 1956. By ’57, the old folks in charge knew this shit was dangerous and needed censoring, so from ’57 to ’66, there are very few, if any moving photos, ’cause they weren’t made, ’cause Richard made the adulterers mad as the hell they made for the kids by not letting us see him ever again, so young and so beautiful.
The live concert in France in ’66 is a real treasure and NEVER would have been filmed in the U.S. Dig how crazy even French kids can get when exposed to this “jungle bop music” by one of the all out allest of all-timers, ever. Be sure to see “The Girl Can’t Help It” (1956) for full colored Little Richard, Jayne Mansfield, and “A” movie “musical / comedy” made to cash in on this new Rock ‘n’ Roll fad before it faded away. We’re still waitin’ on that final fade out.