Richard Wayne Penniman (born December 5, 1932), known as Little Richard, is an American musician and singer-songwriter.
An influential figure in popular music and culture for seven decades, Penniman’s most celebrated work dates from the mid-1950s, when his dynamic music and charismatic showmanship laid the foundation for rock and roll. His music also played a key role in the formation of other popular music genres, including soul and funk. Penniman influenced numerous singers and musicians across musical genres from rock to hip hop; his music helped shape rhythm and blues for generations to come, and his performances and headline-making thrust his career right into the mix of American popular music.
Penniman has been honored by many institutions. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of its first group of inductees in 1986. He was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy, a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation, and a Rhapsody & Rhythm Award from the National Museum of African American Music. Little Richard’s “Tutti Frutti” (1955) was included in the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2010, which stated that his “unique vocalizing over the irresistible beat announced a new era in music”.