Little Richard’s birthday: who is the rockabilly star who inspired dance music?

Today is the birthday of music legend Little Richard. He became a star at age 17 with his 1956 number one hit Tutti Frutti, and spent the next two decades of his life making a name for himself and for himself in a series of songs.

Born Richard Todd in Augusta, Georgia, he changed his name in 1930. While earning money as a stripper, he was molested by a youth in the car park. The abuse continued until he was 16. A friend encouraged him to tackle a guitar and as a result he started a career as a rockabilly musician. He made his debut at a US radio station in 1942, and went on to appear on some of the biggest popular music shows of the time.

His first number one single was I’m a Love Song. His biggest hits included Long Tall Sally and Wild Thing, and he recorded 4,000 songs and released 275 albums in a career that spanned more than 50 years.

On his 80th birthday, he was awarded the Liberty Medal by the National Endowment for the Arts. In 2012 he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in 2017 the hit show in the West End, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame Live, presented a cast recording of his greatest hits.

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