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Little Richard Biography

Birth Name:
Richard Wayne Penniman
Birth Place:
Macon, Georgia, United States
Rock singer, songwriter

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


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