Paul McCartney has posted an affectionate tribute to his friend and inspiration Little Richard, following the death of the rock ‘n’ roll pioneer on Saturday (5) at the age of 87.
His comments follow those of other major figures in music from Bob Dylan to Brian Wilson, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards. McCartney’s eulogy reflects the effect that Richard’s seminal releases had on him and on The Beatles in general, who went on to tour with him and to cover his work.
Wrote Paul: “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.’
“I had to admit he was right. In the early days of The Beatles we played with Richard in Hamburg and got to know him. He would let us hang out in his dressing room and we were witness to his pre-show rituals, with his head under a towel over a bowl of steaming hot water.
“He would suddenly lift his head up to the mirror and say, ‘I can’t help it ‘cos I’m so beautiful’. And he was. A great man with a lovely sense of humour and someone who will be missed by the rock and roll community and many more. I thank him for all he taught me and the kindness he showed by letting me be his friend. Goodbye Richard and a-wop-bop-a-loo-bop.”
Little Richard’s death is reported to have been from bone cancer, after a two-month illness. His agent of 40 years, Dick Alen, told People that the entertainer had been “battling for a good while, many years” and had been living with his brother in Nashville.