Little Richard

  • Birth Name: Richard Wayne Penniman
  • Birth Place: Macon, Georgia, United States
  • Profession: Rock singer, Songwriter
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Fast Facts

  • 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.


  • Horace "Tony" Penniman — Brother
  • Walter Penniman — Brother
  • Danny — Son
  • Charita Penniman — Niece
  • Charles Penniman II — Nephew
  • Dena Penniman — Nephew
  • Leva "Sylvia" — Sister
  • Robert Penniman — Brother
  • Leva Mae Penniman — Mother
  • Elnora "Peggie" — Sister
  • Freka Merrill — Sister
  • Peyton Penniman — Brother
  • Artis "Elaine" Harmison — Sister
  • Charles "Bud" Penniman — Father
  • Gail — Sister
  • Ernestine Campbell — Ex-wife
  • Laudina Penniman — Niece
  • Charles Penniman Jr. — Brother
  • Marquette Penniman — Brother


  • Oakwood College, Huntsville, Alabama, United States (BA in Theology)

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