The third of 12 children, he sang in his family's gospel group, the Penniman Singers.
Started his own gospel band, the Tiny Tots Quartet, when he was just 10 years old.
Dropped out of school and ran away from home at 14, joining the traveling Dr. Hudson's Medicine Show.
Cut his first blues records in 1951, but didn't release a successful single until the rollicking 1955 hit "Tutti Fruti," which had to be rewritten because its original lyrics were considered too sexual.
Left show business in 1957, though the reasons for his temporary retirement vary greatly.
After recording a number of religious songs and being ordained as a Seventh Day Adventist minister, he returned to secular music in the early '60s.
Before hitting it big, rock legend Jimi Hendrix played guitar in Richard's band, while the Rolling Stones opened for him on a 1963 European tour.
Was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986, and received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 1993 Grammys.
Laudina Penniman — Niece
Ernestine Campbell — Ex-wife
Artis "Elaine" Harmison — Sister
Charles "Bud" Penniman — Father
Gail — Sister
Leva "Sylvia" — Sister
Robert Penniman — Brother
Horace "Tony" Penniman — Brother
Elnora "Peggie" — Sister
Freka Merrill — Sister
Peyton Penniman — Brother
Leva Mae Penniman — Mother
Charles Penniman Jr. — Brother
Marquette Penniman — Brother
Walter Penniman — Brother
Danny — Son
Charita Penniman — Niece
Charles Penniman II — Nephew
Dena Penniman — Nephew
Oakwood College, Huntsville, Alabama, United States (BA in Theology)